How Do I Change My Car Battery?
You need your car battery for a variety of functions, from starting your vehicle to powering your lighting and accessories. It’s never fun when your battery fails to function properly. So if it’s struggling to hold a charge or turn over the engine in lower temperatures, it may be time for a battery replacement.
But don’t jump the gun. Before replacing your battery, you’ll want to be certain that the battery is in fact the weak link in your start-up system. Here are a few ways to tell:
- Visual inspection: Look at your battery for signs of acid buildup. This will be a blue or white film developing around the terminals. It’s often possible that cleaning your battery and removing this film is enough to regain battery function or at least extend its lifespan.
- How to clean it: Wearing safety gloves, first disconnect the battery terminals, then use a battery terminal brush to scrub off the residue. You may use an abrasive mixture of baking soda and water to remove the film and neutralize the sulphuric acid.
- Charging: Use a battery charger to recharge the engine for a few hours at a low charge rate. Try the engine or test for a charge. If the condition fails to improve, your battery may be the culprit.
- Alternator check: If your vehicle has a battery level meter on the dash panel, check the rating. If the dial is outside of the normal range, there may be an issue with the alternator, rather than the battery.
- Electrolyte level check: You can inspect the electrolyte levels within the battery through the following procedure. Be careful, though, as this involves a mixture with corrosive sulfuric acid. Be sure to where both safety glasses and gloves.
- Clean off the area around the battery terminals and wipe dry the area with a shop towel.
- Open the battery portstwo plastic covers that seal each battery cell port. These can be removed by hand by may require a flat lever like a putty knife for leverage.
- Check and assess the fluid level in each port. They should be roughly equal. If the level appears slightly low, you may top it off with distilled water. If the fluid is pretty much gone or evaporated, it may be time for a new battery.
- If you have access to a hydrometer, you can measure the level of sulphuric acid in the electrolyte fluid. A low reading indicates a weak battery.
Does you battery fail these tests? Then you have two options: You can change it yourself, or you can have it swapped out by a service technician. Considering the overall low cost of a battery replacement, the latter option is preferable for the majority of people who are not avid do-it-yourselfers.
If you opt to swap out your battery on your own, your owner’s manual will have instructions for removing and replacing the battery specific to your vehicle.
Removing Your Battery
To remove your battery, first make sure your vehicle is resting on a flat, level surface, one that isn’t near an open flames or things that may create sparks. Be sure to wear safety gloves and goggles when you are working near the battery.
If you don’t use a memory keeper tool in your cigarette lighter outlet when you remove your old battery, your electronic equipment may reset in the process. To prevent any annoying reset issues, be sure to have all of our PINs recorded beforehand.
- Locate your battery. Its whereabouts will be listed in the owner’s manual.
- Disconnect the negative () terminal with a wrench and slide it off. It’s important to follow this order so that you don’t suffer a short.
- Disconnect the positive (+) terminal in the same way.
- Loosen any other bolts or braces that may be attaching the battery to its tray. This will vary between vehicles.
- Remove the old battery and install the new one. Reattach any bolts or braces.
- Install the terminals in the reverse order of how they were removed: begin by securing the positive (+) terminal, then follow up with the negative one.
- Replace battery cover and lower hood before attempting to start the vehicle.
- Test to see whether all electronic devices are working properly. Reset as needed.
What to Do with Your Old Battery
Your car battery contains many chemicals and substances that are environmentally detrimental if not disposed of properly. Do not place it in the trash. Rather, bring it to your nearest Eco Station. If that is too far or out of the way, you can also bring it in to River City Nissan, where we will recycle your old car battery for you.
Book a Battery Test or Replacement
Rather leave the diagnostic or replacement work to the professionals here at River City Nissan? It’s a quick procedure, and quite affordable. Request a service appointment and one of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly to book a time.