DIY Guide for Safely Replacing a Car Battery

Car batteries last about three to four years, so most drivers will need to replace their battery at least once during ownership. Before replacing a battery, have it tested to make sure that it needs to be replaced. Many car owners change their own battery to save some cash. Once you have the equipment and parts you need, it only takes about 30 minutes. Just make sure to dispose of your car battery properly, because it is considered hazardous waste. Here’s how to change battery.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Your Car Battery

Make sure you get the right battery replacement. Use the VIN number lookup to find the right specs for your vehicle. You’ll want a ratchet and socket, wrench and locking pliers that fit the terminal and connective bolts. A wire brush can help remove any corrosion. Battery cleaner spray and anti-corrosive gel are good to have to clean the terminals and prevent future corrosion.

Step 1 – Park the car on a flat surface. Let the engine cool down before replacing the battery. Put the car in park. Remove the key. Before taking anything apart, take some pictures to help remind you where things go.

Step 2 – Disconnect the battery terminals. Remove the negative cable first. Then the positive cable. Inspect the cables to look for signs of wear or cracks.

Step 3 – Remove the old battery. There is probably a metal bar or bolt that secures the battery in place. You’ll need to remove that first.  

Step 4 – Clean the battery tray and connectors. Corrosion is normal for car batteries. Use a wire brush and old rags. If you don’t have a battery cleaner, make a paste of two tablespoons baking soda and one teaspoon water to use as a cleaner. Steel wool can make this process easier.

Step 5 – Install the new battery. Use a little bit of battery anti-corrosive protection gel on the terminals.  Always put the positive terminal on first, then the negative. Replace the bolt or bar that secured the battery in place.

Step 6 – Close the hood and start the car. You should be good to go.

Safety Tips for DIY Car Battery Replacement

Use eye protection and heavy work gloves to protect your hands and eyes. Make sure to keep the battery upright, so no liquid seeps out. Recycle the old battery. In most states, any retailer that sells batteries will take the old one. You cannot throw it in the trash. Wrap it in a few trash bags to store it before you dispose it.

How to Replace a Car Battery

You can tell the age of your battery by finding the date code on the back side of the battery. It’s one letter and one number. The letter code is for the month, A – January, B – February, etc. Some codes do not include E or I, check with the manufacturer. The number is the last digit of the year of production. Thus, G2 would stand for June 2022. If your battery is nearing it’s end of life, you may want to replace it before it strands you somewhere.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *