No car battery lasts forever. Eventually, in every car and owner’s life, there comes a time to change the vehicle’s battery.
The reasons for replacing a vehicle’s battery can vary dramatically, but when the time comes, you need to decide whether you will remove and fit the new battery yourself or if you’re going to drive into your closest SABAT battery fitment centre.
For those confident in their own mechanical abilities, removing and fitting a new car battery is considered one of the easier motoring jobs.
So, bearing this in mind, how does one remove and fit a car battery?
How to Remove And Fit a Car Battery
Before removing your old battery, ensure your replacement is correct. Each vehicle brand has its own requirements.
Premium brand vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Audi will require the use of a slave battery or to be hooked to an alternative power supply when replacing their battery.
If you skip this step of connecting an alternative power supply, your vehicle could experience:
- Damage to the vehicle’s electronic management system;
- Loss of electronic memory, which includes system codes for radios, seat settings, and more;
- And in certain circumstances, irreversible damage to engine management systems.
These risks make leaving it to the professionals the most advisable route for the general public. But for those who are still confident, the first step is to note which terminals are positive and negative.
Step One of Removing and Fitting a Car Battery
Make sure to locate the +/- symbols on the terminals, as some manufacturers reverse the colour coding. The negative cable, or earth cable, is always connected to the engine and chassis. The positive cable is connected to the starter motor.
To complete this task, you will need essential tools. These include:
- An adjustable spanner;
- And a towel.
As mentioned with regard to premium vehicles, you will want a slave battery to ensure the vehicle’s electronics don’t shut down.
If your vehicle’s battery is old and hasn’t been removed in a few years, you might want some Q20 to loosen the bolts. And remember to review your car’s manual just in case there are any specific requirements from the manufacturer.
Also, when selecting tools, ensure they have rubberised handles just in case you accidentally cause a short circuit, but this is unlikely.
Most vehicles will have terminal covers for the battery to prevent corrosion build-up. Make sure to remove these covers and place them in a safe spot.
If you forget where items go, take photos of every step with your cellphone.
When connecting a slave battery to your vehicle’s cable, ensure it meets the voltage requirements and amps.
Now comes the time to disconnect the earth cable. Removing the earth cable first prevents sparks caused by accidental short-circuiting. After the earth cable has been removed and placed out of the way, it’s time to remove the positive cable.
When the positive cable is placed to one side, it is time to remove the battery hold-downs. These systems vary between each vehicle brand, so referring to the manual is advised.
It’s in your best interest to take this opportunity to investigate the battery tray, hold-downs, and clamps. If these are damaged or have suffered extensive corrosion, use a wire brush to remove the rust.
When satisfied with the amount of rust removed, you will want to treat the area with a rust-preventative solution. If you don’t have access to these products, you can wash off the rust and neutralise the area with a mixture of bicarbonate soda and warm water.
To create this solution, you will need around 10g of bicarbonate of soda to a litre of water.
Before placing the cable terminal points back onto the battery, make sure to clean these off as well. You will know the task is complete when the contact surfaces are metallic and shiny. By cleaning these surfaces, you will be ensuring that there’s good electrical contact.
Step Two of Removing and Fitting a Car Battery
If your vehicle’s battery tray is beyond repair, replace it with a new one. Most battery fitment centres sell them.
Now that the area has been prepped and cleaned, it’s time to fit the new battery. Before placing the car battery into position, clean the terminals of the unit with a damp cloth.
Also, make sure to restore the unit to its original place with the battery’s terminal points in the same position. When satisfied with the battery, put the hold-downs in place – but don’t tighten.
Now it is time to replace the connection cables. First, connect the positive cable to the corresponding terminal and then connect the earth cable.
Next, tighten the cable points onto the terminal. Do not over-tighten, as this can damage the terminals. To prevent build-up around these terminal points on the battery, you can coat them in a generous layer of petroleum jelly.
Do not use grease or lubricant with metal additives, as they will hamper the battery’s performance over time.
Now it is time to fasten the hold-downs, and as before, do not overtighten, because this can cause damage.
Now that the battery has been fitted, it is time for the last step – testing.
Step Three of Removing and Fitting a Car Battery
The last step of the installation process is testing whether the battery has been installed correctly.
You will know that the battery has been properly installed if you get a charge indication when testing it with a multimeter. Now it is time to crank the engine over.
A light on the dashboard will indicate that everything is working. While the easiest part of the entire process, this is the most important.
Finally, check that the battery is not straining the electric charging system.
As you can tell, even though this is considered the simplest of jobs on a car, it’s complicated and better for a professional to do.
Visit a SABAT Battery Xpress Centre or an approved SABAT Battery Fitment Centre to Replace The Battery
Those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing and fitting their battery can simply drive to a SABAT Xpress or local stockist of SABAT Batteries for a new unit.
No waiting is required, and the battery is guaranteed to start your vehicle the first time – every time.