A battery does not last forever, however much you take care of it. That’s a reality we, as car owners, have to accept. It gets worn out, and you will need a new one as a replacement. It’s a good thing, a car battery installation at home is not rocket science. It can be done as a DIY project in your garage one afternoon, and in an hour, if you follow the instruction to the letter, you will have a new battery installed and ready to go.
But before we go the step by step instruction on how to install a car battery at home, let me give you some trivia about car batteries.
Car battery trivia
Do you know that your car battery can serve you well for as long as five years? That is if you take proper care of it. But, if you live in the tropics or in Texas where the temperature really gets very hot almost all year round, your battery could last you only for 3 years.
Your battery won’t last you very long if you subject it to some of the major causes of battery failure; habitual overcharging or even undercharging, too much vibration and abuse. Your battery is being drained even if your car is in storage or parking.
Before going to the step by step car battery replacement at home, let’s go through some safety measures that you will have to keep in mind. Check the owner’s manual of your car and find out the type of battery suited for it. Make sure to buy the right replacement battery. If you’re not confident that you know exactly what to look for, bring the old battery when you buy the new one.
Work in an open area without any open flame close to your working area. Make sure that the replacement battery is fully charged before installing it. Always use safety gloves and goggles when working with batteries.
When disconnecting the cables of the old battery, remember always to detach the negative cable first.
Ensure that no metal touches both battery posts or the positive post and the body of the car at the same time,
Lift the old battery carefully and be sure to keep it in a vertical position to prevent the electrolyte solution from spilling. This solution is acid and is highly corrosive.
Once you have placed the new battery in the battery tray, fasten it with a clamping or hold-down device to help lessen vibration which is a contributing factor to a battery’s premature failure. Inspect the battery cables and look out for corrosion. If you find any, clean the cables. What you will need to install a car battery is listed below.
– A fully charged replacement battery
– Battery terminal puller
– Cleaning tools for battery terminals or posts
– Box or open end sockets or wrenches
– Grease for the battery post and terminal
– Battery terminal anti-corrosion washer
– Terminal cleaning tool
– Clamping device
– Safety gloves
– Safety goggles
– Battery carrying strap
Removing the old battery
Once you have all the materials and supply you need, the first part of a DIY battery installation is to remove the old battery from the car. We will do this step by step also.
Step 1 – Find out where the battery is located in your car. Some cars have them in a space under the hood, others under the floorboard, in the trunk, or sometimes concealed behind the wheel well.
Step 2 – Distinguish between the negative and positive terminals or posts and the corresponding cables connected to each. The cover of the positive terminal could be a red plastic cap and/or the cable connected to it is also red. Another identifying mark of a positive terminal is the sign “+” stamped beside it.
Step 3 – Loosen the nuts and bolts securing the negative terminal and cable from the negative battery post with a wrench.
Step 4 – Once the nuts and bolts are loosened, detach the cable and terminal from the negative battery post with a terminal puller. Repeat the process with the positive terminal.
Step 5 – Unfasten the clamp securing the old battery and set aside the fasteners and parts to avoid losing them.
Step 6 – Lift the old battery carefully with a battery carrying strap (if the posts are on top of the battery) and take care not to jostle it too much.
Installing the new car battery
Now that you’ve removed the old battery, you’re ready to install the new one.
Step 1 – Check if the terminals and the cables attached to them are clean and free of corrosion, Clean both with a terminal cleaning tool like a tough wire brush. Clean clamps and terminal mean better and more effective connection.
Step 2- Arrange the battery in such a way that the positive post is aligned with the positive terminal.
Step 3 – Install the new battery and fasten it securely with the clamps removed from the old battery earlier.
Step 4 – Uncap the battery posts and place the anti-corrosion washers over the posts.
Step 5 – Spread a thin layer of grease on the battery terminal and posts before attaching the positive terminal to the positive post (positive first). The grease could be an anti-corrosion grease that is protected from corrosion that could keep the battery from charging. If an anti-corrosion grease is not available, Vaseline oil will do. Tighten the connector until it is sufficiently tightened using the wrench.
Step 6 – Repeat step 5 for the negative terminal and posts.
Step 7 – Check if the battery is installed securely by moving it slightly back and forth. If there is no perceptible movement, you have successfully installed the new battery for your car.
As you can see, it does not require a rocket scientist for an automotive battery replacement at home. All you need is the desire to learn how to do it. Why pay if you can do it yourself. Just take note of the safety precautions and the step by step procedure, and you’re home free.