How to Replace a Car Battery

Many car owners may be familiar with replacing a car battery, however giving your battery the treatment it deserves can sometimes take extra care. For others, not having the right battery or tools can make battery replacement difficult. Whether it’s helping you choose the right battery for your car or providing professional installation, call into your local Autospark branch for the best auto electrical service and advice.

However, if you are changing your car battery yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide to making the job easier.

Buy a New Battery

The first step to replacing a car battery is finding the right battery to replace it. You can check the type of battery you have installed in your car for reference and consult your owner’s manual. Battery size, amp hours and cold cranking amps can all affect a car battery’s suitability. The quality of your car battery can also depend on its brand. If you’re unsure, take your car in to one of our service centres and we’ll recommend the right battery for you.

Prepare Your Car

Once you have your new battery, it’s time to replace the old one. First make sure your car is on flat ground and at a safe distance from any hazards or traffic. Pop open your car’s bonnet and place a blanket or pad on the front fender to protect it from any corrosive battery acid. You should be able to see the battery or locate it within a housing, usually with some form of clamping bracket on top. It will have two long cables attached to it.

Disconnect The Battery Cables

Check your car manual to see if your battery is negatively or positively grounded. This will change which cable you should remove first to avoid short circuiting. For most cars the negative cable will be the first to remove. It’s normally coloured black and has a negative (-) symbol. Next, remove the red, positive (+) cable. You’ll need a small sized wrench to loosen the battery cable connectors from the battery terminals. Once they are loose enough to pull off, you can remove them in the correct order. If the cables are unmarked and look identical, it’s best to mark them in some way to avoid accidentally switching them.

Take Out The Old Battery

After the cables have been disconnected, the next task is removing the system stabilising the battery. Depending on your car this can be a set of clips, bolts or screws. It’s best to keep a hand on whatever piece you are loosening so it won’t drop down and possibly get lost, as you’ll need to re-tighten these on the replacement battery. While carrying your battery make sure it’s kept upright to avoid any possible spilling or damage. Car batteries are quite heavy for their small size, so it’s best to lift them using the provided handle or with both hands from the bottom.

Remember that when you disconnect your battery it will erase all the codes from your electronic equipment, such as radios and GPS. You can usually find the default factory code for your car’s electronic system in the owner’s manual. You’ll need it to access your radio after the new battery has been installed.

Clean The Connectors and Tray

If you’ve had the same battery for many years it may have accumulated corrosion on the cable connectors. This corrosion can be cleaned off with battery cleaning solution and a wire brush. Corrosion around the battery, such as in the battery tray, can be removed with the same solution or with a mixture of baking soda and water. Make sure to dry this area thoroughly before installing the new battery. Once the battery cable connectors have been cleaned, you can apply a special anti-corrosion terminal grease to prevent corrosive deposits from forming in future. This will help to improve the working condition of your battery and extend its life.

Install The New Battery

Place your new battery in the cleaned tray and re-tighten its stabilising system. Make sure it’s secured properly and doesn’t shift around, otherwise it can lead to problems while driving. Next, spray both terminal ends with anti-corrosion solution, then attach and tighten the cables in the reverse order (positive first then negative). The cable connections should be firmly tightened around the battery’s terminals, ensuring a strong electrical connection.

Dispose of Your Old Battery

Now that you’ve successfully replaced your car battery, the final step is to dispose of your old battery. If we’ve installed your car battery we will safely dispose of your old battery at no additional cost.

Car battery need replacing? Give us a call. Our branches are conveniently located across the metro area and in Albany. If you need us, we’re sure to have a branch located near you.