Your car will let you know when the battery is about to die. Change the battery as soon as these signs begin or you'll find yourself stuck in a parking lot somewhere in a car that won't start. Here is how to know when you need a new car battery and the procedure for changing it yourself.
The Fading Car Battery
Aging batteries are unable to hold a charge. They will show signs of failure for a few days, then stop working completely. This means you have just a few days to get a new battery and replace it before you're stuck. Some of the signs of a soon-to-be-dead car battery are:
- the car engine turns over slowly when starting it
- the lights go dim when you turn the engine off
- the clock loses time
- the radio loses its programming
Replacing Your Car Battery
Stop at an auto parts store and have them help you find the right battery for your car. There is just enough room in your engine compartment for the battery, so it must be the right size to fit properly.
Tools You'll Need
- flat-blade screwdriver
- old rags for cleanup
- Locate the battery in the engine compartment. It is often toward the front and off to the side of the engine.
- Remove the battery cover.
- Loosen and remove the safety strap securing the battery in the engine compartment.
- Loosen the battery clamp to which the black (negative) cable is attached.
- Pull straight up on the clamp while twisting it slowly to remove it from the battery post.
- Repeat with the red (positive) battery clamp and cable.
- Note the position of the battery. The new battery must be placed in the same position so the cables will reach the right posts.
- Lift the old battery straight up and out of the engine compartment and place on the ground.
- Wipe any oil, grease or corrosion from the battery clamps.
- With both hands, lift the new battery up and lower it into the correct position in the engine compartment.
- Push the red (positive) cable and clamp onto the positive post on the battery and tighten the screw until you can't move the clamp.
- Repeat with the black (negative) cable and clamp on the negative post.
- Secure the battery in place with the safety strap.
- Put the battery cover in place.
Take your old battery back to the auto parts store where you purchased the new battery. You'll get credit for the battery and they will dispose of the old battery for you.
Problems You May Encounter
You'll need the help of an auto repair shop if you experience any of the following problems:
- The battery is not accessible (e.g., it's under the engine).
- The old battery cable clamps won't come off of the battery because of corrosion.
- The battery cables are frayed or have broken wires.
For more information, contact a business, such as Felix Auto Repair & Towing.