Batteries are one of the most important components of a car, as it is essential for starting the vehicle for it to actually fulfill its purpose of taking you to places. That said, it only makes sense that all car owners should ideally know how to reconnect a car battery safely, should the need for this task arise.
However, this is not always the case. The aim of this article is to educate the driver and lay out the steps necessary to reconnect or even change the battery, to be replaced with a new one. This would be a boon to have so that if you accidentally end up with a dead battery in the middle of a highway, you can change the battery yourself if you got a spare.
Or you could just take the battery out and reconnect it to see if that helps; at least you can drive to the nearest auto store to get your car properly check out. In any case, it would not hurt to know the steps and procedure.
For those who do know how to replace a car battery already, this is still worth reading, as you may pick up tidbits and information that you have never came across before.
Without further ado, let us start!
Prevention And Tools Before Replacing
Prevention is still one of the best tools at your disposal, and it helps to be prepared. If you have not done so already, check your battery out right now and note when you bought it and when it is expected to outlive its usefulness.
Write these dates as clear as you can on a piece of paper and put it somewhere on your dashboard, or where you can always see it. This piece of paper will act as a constant reminder of when you will need to take the car to be repaired.
Now, as for actually replacing or reconnecting your battery, first things first: tools. You will need an assortment of wrenches (an adjustable one will do fine). You will also need some clean rags free of lint, a blanket that you do not really use any more, a pair of disposable latex gloves, safety goggles, a battery brush, water, and some baking soda.
7 Steps To How You Can Follow To Change Your Auto Battery
1. Make Sure The Car Is Not Running And The Ignition Is Off
For your own safety, you should make sure that the car engine is turned off and the vehicle is set to Park. Please make sure that the parking brake is also engaged. After checking, this would also be a great time to wear the gloves and the safety goggles to protect from accidental skin corrosion, electrocution, or eye damage.
2. Open The Hood
Once you open the hood, take the used blanket (or even any kind of padding will do) to cover the fender. This is done so that you can protect your car from corrosive car battery acid, if ever it leaks out.
3. Locate The Battery, Then Identify The “Ground” Based On The Manual
It is almost always the right procedure to locate the negative terminal first to disconnect the lead. This is determined easily enough; it would be labeled “negative” or a minus sign (“-“) will be marking the corresponding terminal. It also usually has a black cap, while the positive end has a red one.
Depending on your car or battery model, yours may also have what is called a “negative ground.” You can consult your manual to see if this is the case. If it is so, then you will want to loosen the bolt, nuts, or clamp that secures the negative terminal wirings in their places. Use you collection of wrenches to determine what size you should use for the job.
Now, if you consult your manual and find out that your battery has a “positive ground,” you should pretty much do the same procedure, but do it for the positive terminal first.
If the bolts and nuts are too tight because they have not been moved in a while, you may need to use a couple of wrenches to hold the nut and the bolt together, then turning in opposite directions. Keep in mind that the aim here is to just loosen the components holding the cables securely in place.
In the event that you need to actually remove the bolts, do not use the wrench on the final few turns. Use your hands so that you will be ready to catch the nut or bolt when it is completely loose. Take those bolts and nuts and place them in a safe place, where you would not lose them.
Meanwhile, when the cables are out, set them aside so that they do not touch anything that metal, or anything that would cause them to ground out.
4. Remove The Battery
Before removing the battery, take note of its position so that you will know how place it back, or in what position to place the new one. Now that the battery is completely free of whatever is holding it in its place, carefully lift it and remove it from the hood of the car.
5. Clean The Battery Panel Tray
Now, when you remove the battery, you may see that the panel it sits on has some corrosion (rust), dirt, or any other deposits. This is where the rags, brush, water, and baking soda come in.
Clean the panel to remove the unwanted deposits. Remember that you should be wearing your gloves for this, as some of these elements could easily corrode and cause real damage to your skin. After this step, make sure that the tray is completely dry, because what you will do next is to replace the battery.
6. Replace The Battery, Or Put In The New One
If you remembered the position of how the battery used to be, this step would be a cinch. Whether it is a new battery, or reconnecting the same one you just removed, it will pretty much be placed the same.
Now, when replacing the devices that held the battery in place, you pretty much do it in the reverse order as from when you are removing the battery. This goes for the terminals, too. If your battery has a negative ground, you connect the cables of the positive terminals first. You do vice versa when you have a battery system that has a positive ground.
Make sure that everything is secure, from the cables to the clamps, bolts, and nuts that hold the battery in place. Try to wiggle the battery to see if its completely bolted down in its place.
7, Take The Old Battery To A Recycling Center
This step is not really a part of replacing the car battery, but just a common courtesy and going the extra mile. If you have replaced your battery for a new one, you may consider bringing the battery to recycling center so that experts there will no how to properly dispose of it with minimal risk to the environment.
As you may already know, batteries are filled with toxic and corrosive chemicals that may harm the atmosphere, so taking an old, useless battery to a place where they can get rid of It properly is a must.
Recycling centers may not be your only option, however. Some people want to buy old batteries for their components, like the metals inside them. You might even turn a profit for selling the old battery.
Just make sure that your buyer is reliable, and that they will dispose of the remaining stuff properly after they got what they need from the spent battery.
These are just the basic steps of the ways to disconnect and reconnect your auto battery. As mentioned earlier, having the know how about these things will save you a lot of time and trouble in the future when you feel that replacing your battery is a necessity.
Once you familiarize yourself with the steps, you can skip the hassle of calling in a mechanic to fix your battery for you. And who knows, you might even like the work and it will lead on to you discovering other important things about your car that you cannot get by just driving the thing around!