Installing a car battery is very simple and you can perform it as long as you are strong enough to lift the battery which usually weighs about 40 pounds depending on its size. You can save both money and time by installing the car battery yourself. Though some places offer free battery installation when you purchase the battery from them, the process takes a lot of time. So, it is better you do it yourself. Following is a detailed guide on how to install a car battery.
1. Preparing For The Battery Installation
To install the new battery, you need to first ensure that you pay attention to the battery by following the safety precautions carefully and that all the right tools are available to do the job. Following is the list of tools you need to install the car battery:
Wrenches: You should use the right size wrench for loosening or tightening the clamp nuts or terminal connections.
Side terminal connections and cable clamp nuts need to be loosened or tightened with the right size wrench. The wrong size can cause damage to the point of contact and make it difficult for the terminal connections and nuts. Sometimes it may make it impossible to tighten or loosen.
Cable Clamp Puller: This tool will help you in removing the clamp from the car battery terminal once after loosening the clamps. It helps in preventing damage caused due to twisting or lateral force.
Cable Clamp Spreader: It helps in expanding cable clamps once they are taken out from the battery terminals and helps you place them again on the new battery terminals in the right position without any force.
2. Selecting the Correct Battery
Before getting help on how to install a car battery, you should understand that you should choose the right car battery. Otherwise, it may affect the performance of your car. Following is the list of things that you need to consider while purchasing a battery for your car:
- Battery size
- Battery life
- CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)
- Technology type
- RC (Reserve Capacity)
- C20 capacity
3. Removing The Old Battery
Before installing a new battery into the car, you should remove the old battery from your car. Here is how you should do it.
- Make sure to note the position of the red (positive) terminal and also make a mark on the positive cable polarity. It will help you install the new battery in the right position else you may install it in the reversed position.
- Read the safety instructions provided in the battery manual, and follow them properly.
- Disconnect the terminal cables. You can do this by loosening cable clamps and screws. First, take out the negative (black) cable and then the positive (red) cable.
- Unfasten and remove the hold-down bracket of the battery which helps keep the battery safe and secured. Now remove the 2 long screws.
- Now, pull up the battery and remove it. Never lift it using its terminals.
- Make sure to dispose of it properly by returning it to the workshop or the store where the replacement battery is purchased from or to some other drop-off location.
4. Installing The New Or Replacement Car Battery
Again, you need to read the safety instructions carefully from the battery manual or online and follow the instructions properly.
- Ensure that the new or replacement battery is fully charged.
- Clean the battery tray. You can use either a brush or steel wool to wipe the clamps in order to remove corrosion if any.
- Now place the replacement battery in the tray. It should face the right position so that both terminals connect with the respective cables. Now, secure the battery hold-down bracket in the right place over the replacement battery. Ensure that it is secured properly to prevent any vibration or movement wear. You should not fasten the hold-down strap too tightly as it can cause damage to the battery cover and case.
- Now attach both cables. First, attach the red (positive) cable, and then the black (negative) cable.
- Now nuts should be tightened using hands. Terminal bolts should never be tightened too tightly. Recommended values are as follows:
- Tapered (SAE) automotive terminals: 50-70 inch
- Side terminals (3/89 nuts): 70-90 inch
- Threaded stud terminals: 120-180 inch
5. Other Installation Tips
Following are some additional tips on how to install a car battery:
- Make sure to check the mounting place for protrusions or objects that can wear or cause damage to the cover or case. The battery should be placed levelly in the provided tray. Ensure that no external or foreign objects are present in the battery tray that can damage your car battery.
- Replace connectors and cables that show any signs of rust, corrosion, or any other damage.
- Do not handle or lift the car battery with its terminals.
- When planning to use a dual-terminal car battery (having both side and top terminals), use the top terminal for starting the vehicle or for accessory hookups. Use the side terminals only for starting the vehicle.
- Keep the battery’s warranty carefully. You need to present it in case of any complaints during the warranty period.
- Beware that most of the places charge core charges on battery purchases.
- You need to dispose of the lead acid batteries properly. Keep the receipts and send the old battery back to the store where you purchased the new one to receive the core charge refund.
- Try using a half-inch wrench first as the battery terminal’s size is usually half an inch.
- Car batteries contain an acid called sulfuric acid that can burn your clothes. So, make sure to be careful.
Note that some vehicles are equipped with advanced systems that may need special handling. So, make sure to refer to the user’s manual for clear details on how to install the car battery. In case you do think you cannot handle it by yourself even after going through all the instructions, do not take a chance. Hire a mechanic to do it for you.