Mechanics

Battery Replacement

Step by step repair guide on how to replace an automotive battery, this article pertains to all non hybrid or electric vehicles.

Difficulty Scale: 2 of 10

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Baking Soda
  • Wire Brush or terminal cleaner
  • Replacement Battery
  • Small pry bar
  • Wrench Set
  • Protective gloves and eyewear
Step 1 - Locate the battery and the negative battery terminal (smaller of the two terminals) which is normally under the hood in the engine compartment, although they can be in the trunk or under the rear seat, if the battery can’t be located refer to the owner’s manual for the exact location. (Note: Record radio stations for re-entry once the battery is replaced. Neutralize any battery acid by sprinkling baking soda over the top and around the battery base, rinse with fresh water to remove any lingering acids.) (CAUTION: Never connect positive and negative terminals with a conductive object such as a wrench. Also, never connect the positive battery terminal to any body, chassis or engine parts.)


Negative Battery Terminal

Step 2 - Once located, use a small socket or wrench to loosen the battery cable.


Loosen Negative Battery Cable

Step 3 - Removing the negative battery cable first avoids sparks, once removed push the cable out of the way of the terminal to avoid accidental connection.


Negative Battery Cable Removed

Step 4 - After the negative cable has been removed, locate the positive battery terminal on the opposite side of the battery which is the larger of the two terminals, it can also have red associated with it.


Positive Battery Terminal

Step 5 - Next, loosen the cable end using a small wrench or socket.


Loosening Positive Battery Terminal

Step 6 - Once the cable end has been loosened, grasp the cable end can twist side to side until the cable becomes disconnected. Push the disconnect cable away from the battery to avoid accidental connection.


Positive Cable Removed

Step 7 - After the terminals have been removed, lift off the battery cover, though some vehicles omit this step.


Removing Battery Cover

Step 8 - Locate the battery hold down bolt which is at the lower side of the battery.


Battery Hold Down

Step 9 - Then, loosen and remove the hold down bolt, also remove the hold down wedge as well.


Remove Battery Hold Down Bolt

Step 10 - Once the hold down bolt and wedge have been removed, grasp the battery firmly to lift from the vehicle.


Grasp Battery

Step 11 - After a firm grasp has been achieved, gently lift the battery from the engine compartment. (Note: If the old battery has leaked battery acid, sprinkle baking soda and wash thoroughly with a garden hose before installing battery.)


Lifting Battery

Step 12 - Next, compare the old battery to the replacement battery, they should be comparable in terminal location as well as cold cranking and reserve amperage.


New and Old Battery

Step 13 - While holding the battery firmly gently lower the new battery into position.


Installing New Battery

Step 14 - Once the new battery is in place, lower the battery hold down into the battery tray.


Installing Battery Hold Down

Step 15 - After the battery hold down has been installed, tighten the bolt to keep the battery securely held.


Tighten Battery Hold Down

Step 16 - Next, remove both terminal covers which are used in shipping to prevent the battery from becoming damaged.


Remove Terminal Covers

Step 17 - Then, using a battery cable cleaner, grasp each battery cable and push and twist the tool until clean.


Battery Cable Terminal Cleaner

Step 18 - After both cable ends have been cleaned, install the positive battery cable and tighten.


Install Positive Battery Cable

Step 19 - Once the cable has been tightened, grasp the cable and try to twist it, if the cable end moves, re-tighten the cable end.


Test Cable Tightness

Step 20 - Next, reinstall the positive battery cable protective cover, this cover helps prevent short circuits.


Reinstalling Battery Terminal Cover

Step 21 - Once the negative battery cable is cleaned, install the cable onto the negative terminal and tighten, also double check the terminal for tighten and retighten if needed.


Install Negative Battery Cable End

Once the battery replacement is complete start the engine and test the alternator to ensure proper operation.


Helpful Information

Before attempting to replace an automotive battery, make sure the area around the battery is safe to work. Batteries are filled with acid and they can emit both powdered and liquid acid on and around the battery. By sprinkling baking soda over the battery and then rinsing with water will reduce the chance of getting chemical burns. Gloves are highly recommended along with protective eyewear and clothing. Knowing the workings of a battery or battery cables can be helpful.

Best Practices

  • When testing an automotive battery, make sure area is neutralized of all battery acid.
  • Never touch a conductive object between the terminals of any battery.
  • Match or exceed cold cranking amps when replacing a battery.
  • Recycle old battery at any an approved recycling center.

     

AUTHOR


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of 2CarPros.com
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2015-04-16)