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DIY: How to Change Your Battery

A battery can last four to five years with proper care, although battery failure can occur in as little as three years in very cold or hot climates.

What You Will Need:

  1. An adjustable wrench or a socket wrench
  2. New battery
  3. Wire brush or battery terminal cleaner
  4. Clean water
  5. Safety glasses
  6. Rubber gloves (Optional)
  7. Can of Rust-O-Lieum primer
  8. White Lithium Grease

Why replace your battery?

A good battery is essential to the proper operation of your vehicle. A good battery can last for about five years with the proper care. Battery failure can occur in as little as three years in very hot or cold climates since these conditions take a heavy toll on your vehicles battery. Some cause of premature battery failure are overcharging, undercharging, abuse, or vibration. Modern vehicle computer systems create a small but constant drain on batteries, even when the vehicle is parked, long sitting periods can cause a vehicle's battery to go dead and need a charge.

At some point, your battery will need to be replaced. This is usually a simple task, but sometimes they can be difficult do to severe corrosion. If your battery looks like it's going to be very difficult, take it to a professional and have them replace it.

Get the correct battery for your car. Check with your local auto parts store for the correct type and size. It is a good idea to bring your old battery in to be sure you get the correct replacement, and you can leave it there to be recycled. Make sure your new battery is fully charged.

It's always a good idea to wear safety glasses when changing your battery. I wear a pair of latex examination gloves, exactly like your Doctor uses, to help keep my hands clean and protect them from battery acid. You can buy them at the auto parts store.

WORK IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA AWAY FROM SPARKS OR OPEN FLAMES. DO NOT SMOKE.
  • Disconnect the negative cable first and then disconnect the positive cable.

  • Remove the battery hold down. It may be along the top of the battery or on the battery tray clamped to the side of the battery.

  • Once it is free, carefully lift it up and out of the tray.

BATTERY'S CONTAIN SULFURIC ACID AND IT CAN BURN YOUR SKIN. IT IS VERY CORROSIVE TO ANYTHING IT COMES IN CONTACT WITH.
  • Look at the battery tray. If there are signs of rust and corrosion, clean it off with plenty of clear water. Allow the tray to dry and spray it with the primer to prevent further deterioration.
  • Place the new battery in the tray and reinstall the hold down clamp.
  • If you have a top terminal battery, clean the inside of the cables with a battery brush and wire brush the battery posts. If you have a side terminal battery, clean the terminals with the wire brush.
  • Check and make sure there is no corrosion on the battery cables. Clean them as required.
  • Reattach the positive battery cable first and then the negative battery cable. Tighten the tight but on side terminal batteries do not over tighten. You can pull the side post out of the battery if you over tighten them.
  • Give the terminals a good coating of White Lithium Grease to keep them from getting corroded.
  • Start the engine and you're done. This is a quick and easy job that should take 30 to 45 minutes.

This is a quick and easy job that should take 30 to 45 minutes. And be sure to take the old battery back to where you bought the new one and get your core charge back.

Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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