A dead car battery can affect your ability to go to work, get needed supplies, visit with friends and family, etc. In some cases, a dead car battery can even leave you stranded in an unfamiliar place.
You can either pay to get your car battery replaced or you can do it on your own, but not everyone is savvy with cars and knows the in and outs.
If you are going to replace your car battery for the first time, don't stress out. Keep reading for our beginner's guide to changing a car battery.
How to Tell if Your Car Battery Needs Replacing
How long do car batteries last? A good car battery should last you about three years in mild weather conditions. Unfortunately, it all depends on your location, as even the best car battery may still have a shorter lifespan if it's subjected to extreme heat or cold weather for long periods of time. Believe it or not, long periods of sitting unused can also cause the battery to not last as long.
It's easy to tell when you need a new battery when your car doesn't start, however, there are a few ways to tell that your car battery is dying before it stops working altogether.
A slow engine crank, dim interior lights, and slow automatic windows are a few signs that your car battery is about to die. Sometimes your check engine light will appear if your car battery is on the fritz too.
Check your car battery frequently to monitor its fluid level. A low fluid level is a warning that you need to replace it soon.
Lastly, you want to look at your battery often to check for leaks. A leaking battery will die quickly, and can also cause corrosion to other parts under the hood.
Buying a New Car Battery
Once you realize your car battery needs to be replaced, you need to go buy a new car battery. Alternatively, you can buy a car battery charger from an automotive retailer to replenish your dead battery's charge, but there are only so many times you can successfully recharge it.
If you've never replaced a battery before, you may be wondering, "Where can I find a car battery near me?" Luckily, automotive retailers carry car batteries, as well as some major department stores.
If going out in public isn't your thing, don't fret. You can order car batteries from online automotive retailers and they'll ship it straight to your door.
When looking for a car battery specific to your car, open up your car's manual, or find it online. In the manual, find your battery's group size. Once you know the group size, choose the brand of car battery you want, and buy away.
Removing the Dead Car Battery
Once you've acquired a brand new car battery, it's time to remove the old one. For this, you'll need an adjustable wrench and a pair of mechanic's gloves.
First, make sure your car is in park. Then, turn off your engine and keep the keys out of the ignition.
Once you open the hood, you need to cover your fender with a blanket or similar cloth. This will prevent battery acid from corroding the front of your car.
Afterward, you will remove the cables from the battery's terminals. Check your owner's manual to find out if your car has a negative or positive ground.
If your car has a negative ground, you need to remove the cable hooked to the negative terminal first. If your car has a positive ground, remove the cable from the positive ground first.
Make sure you're wearing gloves, then loosen the bolt on the clamp that holds the cable to the terminal with your adjustable wrench. Once the first cable is removed from the post, you can loosen and remove the second cable as well.
Once the cables are removed from their posts, you can work on the other devices that secure your battery. Be sure not to drop any bolts or nuts into the complexity that is under your hood.
Now that the battery is unobstructed, you can take it out. Make sure you don't place it on sensitive materials, as there could be battery acid on the outside of your battery.
Installing the New Car Battery
Once the old battery is out, it's time to put the new battery in. Put the battery in place, making sure that it's facing in the same direction as your old battery was.
Now that the battery is in place, you can re-secure it. Once you think it's properly secured, give it a little wiggle to make sure it's completely fastened.
Next, you're going to replace the cables in the opposite way that you removed them.
If your car has a negative ground, you need to attach the positive cable to its terminal first. If your car has a positive ground, you'll attach the negative cable first.
Now that it's reattached, make sure you didn't leave any tools lying around under the hood. Then close your hood and start your car.
If you replaced it correctly, your car should start without any trouble.
Now, you can drive yourself to a place that recycles batteries and give them your old one. This is very important because batteries contain harmful, corrosive material and should be disposed of properly.
Now you have all the knowledge you need to replace your car battery. It's time to buy a new battery and start driving again!
Check out UroTuning for a wide variety of car parts and accessories. You can also check out our blog for more helpful car tips and tricks.