Even if you are not mechanically inclined, changing a car battery is a pretty straightforward process. You take the old one out, but the new one in, and match the colors? If you have ever gone through this entire process, only to find your car dying five minutes later, you might have overlooked something.
As someone who has been there, I can tell you that it is okay to not know where to go next. What isn’t okay is to keep going despite not knowing anything. Putting in the wrong battery can cause additional issues. There is always something that could be missed, and this guide is built to help you through that process.
Step One: Pick the Right Battery
There are two significant signs that a car battery is right for your car.
First, it needs to match the size of your car. Given that many batteries are pretty standardized, it is pretty easy to get this taken care of. Your old battery is a good comparison, so you can take it with you to the store to make things easier.
Second, you need to have a battery that meets your car’s power requirements. If it is short, you will require repetitive jumps to go to the store and back. If it is too much, you may run into major electrical issues or just spend too much money.
Bringing in your old battery also has a secondary element: you can recycle your car’s battery. Not only are you doing better for the environment this way, but you are also potentially getting some money back for unusable parts.
Step Two: Clean Your Case and Connectors For The New Battery
Before installing your new battery, you need to clean up to place the new battery. If you use dirty connectors, it won’t feel like you will have installed a new battery. Battery acid from your old battery will prevent a stable connection.
Also, there is a chance that the old battery may have left behind some residue in the case. It is best to clean the entirety of both sections before you place the new battery.
Standard auto cleaners should work just fine for this. If you want to be safe, speak with a specialist to be sure of the battery not reacting with any of your chemicals. If you would like a visual guide to help you through this, please view the video below.
Step three involves you having to install the battery correctly. You will want to position it based on the location of the battery clamp, positive connector, and negative connector.
The battery clamp will allow you to hold down the battery with greater ease. It prevents the battery from rattling around. Some cars feel that the weight of the battery is sufficient enough to prevent it ratling. Look at your owner’s manual for further details.
The positive connector is typically colored red. Match the color on the battery section with the color of the connecting cable. If there is any uncertainty here, please refer to the owner’s manual.
The negative connector is colored black. This is your grounding cable, which means that it usually should go on first. Again, don’t be afraid to refer to the owner’s manual if you are uncertain about what goes where.
Step Four: Double-Check Your Connections and Test Your Battery
The last step is to double-check your connectors. Be sure that red is connected to red, and black is connected to black. Also, be sure that the battery clamp is connected if there is one.
Once this is done, you will want to run a test of the battery. This is done simply by driving it around your neighborhood. This works to naturally charge the battery that is now connected to your alternator. It also works as a bit of celebration for a job well done.
Provided that everything was done correctly, your car battery should last a long while. Be sure to check with the store’s return policy before getting to this step. If you make a mistake, you will need to return the battery.
Changing a battery is pretty simple once you are sure that your car is the right fit. Next, we will go through some tips on how to select the best battery to avoid needing frequent changes.
How Do I Pick The Best Battery?
There are two major types of batteries you will want to keep in mind. Typically, you will battery type number two will come standard in most cars. But if you own an older vehicle, you may run into the first battery top.
You won’t see these too often in modern cars. In fact, you are likely not to see them in some older vehicles as well. These batteries require you to top off the water in an electro light solution.
This water, which will be plainly labeled in your battery, is used to power the car. These batteries tend to be much less expensive, but also require more maintenance. You typically won’t see these in any automobile made recently.
Absorbed Glass Mat
These batteries, otherwise known as AGM batteries, are standard equipment in most vehicles today. They are built to handle enhanced features like fuel-saving systems and stop-start technology.
They are great for situations where you don’t plan on using your vehicles for long periods. They don’t drain unless there is an extremely long period for waiting.
What if There is No Obvious Way For Me to Determine the Battery Size?
If there is no obvious way for you to determine the battery size, there are a couple of ways you can go about it.
Standard size listings can be found in the owner’s manual. Check the section devoted to the battery for further details. If you have no owners manual, the customer service line for your car’s company may have this on hand.
You may also go do a local auto shop for details. Auto parts stores like AutoZone or O’Reily’s will have a database on hand that they can use to look up that data. Once you find the size of your battery, write it down somewhere for further use.
If you would like a visual guide to help you decide what battery is best, check out the video below.
On the surface, changing a car battery seems pretty straightforward. However, there are always unforeseen issues that you may run into. The guide above does provide you with a good starting point.
When picking a battery, you will want to be aware of the best battery for your car. This can change based on the size of your old car battery and the displayed voltage. If you are uncertain, you can utilize resources through your owner’s manual and the company the car was made at. You can also reach out to local auto parts stores to arm yourself with the knowledge needed.