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How To Change a Car Battery

Every gas-burning internal combustion engine uses a battery in conjunction with an alternator for electrical power. In almost all cases, this is a lead-acid battery. Lead acid batteries are made up of lead plates immersed in an acid bath causing a chemical reaction that produces an electrical charge. Even though technological advances have brought about many changes in the make-up of automotive batteries, they do fail from time to time. Replacement of a car battery is straightforward but innovative advancements in automotive electrical systems require that battery change-outs follow critical procedures. In addition, working with any lead acid battery calls for specific safety precautions.


Exercise caution when changing a car battery

Exercise caution when changing a car battery

  1. If the battery posts are covered with acid corrosion, rinse it away by pouring a mixture of baking soda and water on them.
  2. Even though your battery seems to be dead, be aware that some voltage may remain in the battery, enough to cause a spark.
  3. Use safety precautions in working with a car battery.
  4. Protect the finished surfaces of your car from contact with battery acid or corrosion with a drop cloth or tarp.

Battery removal

  1. Raise the hood and prop it open.
  2. Identify the ground terminal of the battery. In most cases, this is the negative post.
  3. Remove the terminal cover.
  4. Using the proper wrench, loosen the cable clamp screw or bolt.
  5. Insert a flat blade screwdriver in between the cable clamp tips and spread them apart slightly.
  6. Rotate the cable clamp side to side to loosen it and pull it up off the battery terminal.
  7. Lay the negative cable aside so that it cannot contact the battery terminals.
  8. Remove the positive terminal cable following the same procedure.
  9. Remove the battery hold-down bracket.
  10. Lift the battery out of the battery box.

Battery installation

  1. Install the new battery in the battery box.
  2. Reinstall the battery hold-down bracket.
  3. Connect the battery positive cable to the positive terminal first.
  4. Install the negative cable last.
  5. Tighten the cable clamps firmly but do not overtighten.
  6. Reinstall the terminal covers.


A battery can explode if it is leaking acid fumes and a spark happens near it. Use safety goggles or a face shield, gloves, and old clothes or coveralls when working with the battery.

Keep your face and body away from the battery in case it explodes.

Avoid dropping or throwing the battery.

Use the proper technique for connecting jumper cables to your car battery.

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