If you treat your car’s battery carefully while handling it, you needn’t be overly concerned about installing a new one at home. The do-it-yourself approach is worth considering. If you have some basic tools available, about two hours of free time and a new replacement car battery at hand, you could be in store for a rewarding DIY experience.
Tools for Replacing a Battery
A socket and ratchet set or an adjustable wrench will get the cables off the old battery and reattached to the new one. You’ll also need an additional adjustable wrench or pliers so you can hold the battery bolts in place while you turn the nut on each cable. A screwdriver will help you remove the hold-down clamp that keeps the battery securely attached.
In addition to the hand tools, bring along a pair of protective gloves and goggles. A crack in the old battery may allow acid to leak out. A mixture of water and baking soda applied with a wire brush will clean up corrosion on the connections or acid spills on the battery tray. Keep some rags nearby; you’ll need to be sure everything is dry before you install the new battery.
Battery Buying Guide
Check your vehicle’s manual to see what types are recommended. The size and terminal configuration must be compatible with your vehicle. If you don’t have the manual, you should be able to find a downloadable copy or relevant battery-compatibility information on the internet. You can also compare battery warranty and power-rating details while you’re checking online.
Your driving needs can play a role in your car battery choice. If you live in a cold climate, consider a battery’s CCA rating. That refers to the battery’s cold-cranking amps, which tell you how well it performs in freezing weather.
Another rating worth checking is the battery’s reserve capacity. This tells you how long a battery will keep your vehicle running if the alternator stops sending power to the engine. It’s a good idea to keep your battery fully charged so that your vehicle can make full use of its rated reserve capacity. You’ll find free battery charging services at a good auto parts outlet.
Things To Remember
Be careful with car batteries and follow safety precautions. Always disconnect the negative terminal’s cable first when removing the old battery. When you install the replacement battery, attach the positive cable first. This will help prevent a short from occurring if your tools come in contact with the vehicle body and a battery terminal at the same time. Never allow any metal object to touch both terminals at once, even if you think your old battery is dead.
Stick to the basic safety rules. The engine should be off and cooled down sufficiently so you avoid getting burned. Make sure the emergency brake is engaged and the vehicle is in park. If you absolutely must work on an incline, use a wood block or wedge to make sure the vehicle doesn’t move.
When you purchase your car battery from a quality auto parts dealer, you can expect the store people to provide knowledgeable and trustworthy advice. Take advantage of this source of expertise and learn what battery will be best for your vehicle and for your driving needs.