How to Replace a Car Battery


Car Battery Cr: D. Coetzee car battery lasts between two and seven years with three to four years’ life being common. Everyone needs to replace one at some point, so you are not alone. Obviously a battery is one of the most important car parts in your vehicle, without it you won’t be going anywhere! If you’re looking at replacing your car battery then there are a couple of options: you can get a pro to do the job, or you can do it yourself.

Doing your own vehicle maintenance can be a good way to save Rands. And a well maintained car is a safe car, meaning you’re less likely to have an accident, you’re more likely to survive an accident, and you might even get lower car insurance premiums as well. With all those benefits, you’re probably anxious to change your car battery right now, so let’s get started!

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Car Battery Replacement: Leave it to the Professionals

Your first option is to get a pro to replace your car battery. This is obviously going to cost you money, but it will save you some time, so you need to weigh up your options. Taking your car to a professional is the simplest option though.

If your battery is already dead then use jump leads to start your car from another vehicle and drive down to your local garage or car battery supplier. Battery sizes vary, so phone first to check they have yours in stock. When you arrive the mechanic will test your battery and replace it with another one with the same storage capacity. All you need to do is to start the engine when told to do so and sit in the car while the mechanic replaces the battery. Sometimes there is no extra labour charge for fitting car batteries, and even if there is it’s only a 10 minute job, so paying someone to do it won’t necessarily break the bank.

Car Battery Replacement: DIY

Your second option is to replace your car battery yourself, which may save you money but is going to take a little time. It’s best to be prepared if you’re going to do this job yourself. Car batteries are heavy and awkward to lift and you are going to need a couple of spanners to undo nuts and maybe a screwdriver as well. Make sure you know what you are doing and have all the tools you need before you start. If this is your first time replacing a car battery then ask a friend who has done it before to help you. You might also want to print this article out to use as a guide!

Step One: Taking Your Old Car Battery Out

Car Batteries don’t come cheap and you need to know that yours really does need replacing. Places that sell car batteries will usually test your old one to see if it has reached the end of its useful life, but first you have to take it out of your car and get it down there.

Pro Tip: Your radio security code is going to disappear when you disconnect the battery without the engine running, so make sure you know where to find the code!

Every car is different and there is no step by step procedure that will apply in every case, but this one is a general guide:

  • Switch off your engine and remove the ignition key;

  • Put on your safety goggles and gloves, remember that the battery contains pretty concentrated sulphuric acid!;

  • Have a bucket of water to hand in case you do get battery acid on your skin or clothes;

  • Locate your battery;

  • Take a photo of the connections (this will make sure you reconnect everything properly!);

  • Make sure you have ALL the tools you will need (you might not be in a position to grab an extra tool if you’re holding a heavy car battery!);

  • Check you will be able to put everything back together again, if in doubt, don’t even start!;

  • Remove the cable from the negative terminal (usually black or marked with a small minus symbol);

  • Remove the cable from the positive terminal (usually red or marked with a small plus symbol);

  • Remove any metal strap that may be holding the battery in place;

  • Check for leaks of battery acid, if you see fluid you should be VERY careful that you don’t touch it!;

  • Lift out the battery carefully, remembering it will weigh 10 kg or more (if you drop it the battery case may crack and you will have sulphuric acid everywhere);

  • Check under the battery for corrosion of the steel shelf that it sits on.

Pro Tip: If there are complicated electrical boxes and connections situated directly on top of the battery then the job becomes a lot harder and you should just take it to a garage where the guys know what they are doing!

Finding a Replacement Car BatteryCar Battery Cr: M. Mozart

Once you’ve had your old battery tested and determined that it’s really on its last legs, then you’ll need to find a new battery. This is relatively easy, but there are some things to remember.

Car battery sizes vary in three ways: physical size, storage capacity, and post shape (some have round, some have square terminals, though round is by far the most common shape). When you phone to check what your supplier has in stock it is best to say what your vehicle is rather than a detailed description of your battery, since good suppliers will know which kind of battery each vehicle needs.

Battery prices quoted are normally exchange prices, where you take your old battery (with its valuable lead plates) in part exchange for a new one. Exchanging is a good way to save some cash!

Fitting Your New Car Battery

This is mostly a reversal of the removal process and is again pretty easy, though don’t forget how heavy that car battery is! Here’s what you need to do:

  • Switch off the engine and remove the ignition key;

  • Put on your safety goggles and gloves (safety first!);

  • Get your emergency bucket of water ready in case you trip and drop the battery getting acid on you (still safety first!);

  • Check the steel shelf that the battery sits on for rust (just in case you missed anything when you took the car battery out);

  • Lift the battery carefully, remembering it will weigh 10 kg or more and place it on the shelf;

  • Attach any metal strap that holds the battery in place;

  • Attach the cable to the positive terminal (again, red or with a plus symbol), avoid over-tightening or the post will break off!;

  • Attach the cable to the negative terminal (black or with a minus symbol), again avoid over-tightening;

  • Compare the connections to the photo you took when removing the battery just to be certain that everything’s properly connected;

  • Start the engine.

Congratulate Yourself!

Your car starts again and it’s time to feel good. Your new car battery should last at least 2 years and you have reliable motoring for the foreseeable future. And that’s all you need to know about changing a car battery. The actual process of removing the old battery and replacing it should only take you around half an hour, even if you have little experience. Now get to driving, and congrats!

Main Subject: Car Battery

February 19, 2016

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