How to Change Your Car Battery

Under 2 hours

Get moving again with a quick auto battery change

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Your car's battery is its heart - when you have a dead battery, your car isn't going to run. This can be a major inconvenience, but fortunately, there is a simple solution. Avoid tow truck costs and a trip to the auto repair shop with this step-by-step guide to changing your own car battery.

SAFETY: Even if you think a battery is completely dead, never let any metal object touch both the black/negative (-) and red/positive (+) posts on the battery at the same time. This is very dangerous, as it creates a current that can spark, heat, or even explode.

How to remove an old car battery

1
put the vehicle in park

• Make sure the car is in park and the emergency brake is engaged. 
• If you’re parked on an incline, place a wedge or wooden block behind your vehicle’s tires to ensure it stays secure.

2
Pop the hood

• Turn engine off and pop open the vehicle’s hood. 
• Make sure the engine and any nearby car parts are cool enough that you can safely work in that area.

3
find the battery

• Depending upon the make and model of your vehicle, the battery may be located under the hood, in the trunk, or elsewhere. 
• Part or all of the battery may be covered, which you will need to remove. 
• If you have a hard time locating the battery, consult your owner’s manual.

4
identify positive and negative battery ends

• Car batteries, like regular AA batteries, have positive and negative ends. 
• The positive (+) end is identified with a red plastic cover or connected to red wires, while the negative (-) end will have black markings.

5
detach the black/negative (-) cable

• Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the black/negative (-) end of the battery. 
• Detach the black/negative (-) cable from the battery. 

Tip: If the battery is hard to remove, you can use a battery terminal puller. Do not use any tools to try to pry up the cable as it may cause damage. 

Safety: Remember, never allow a metal object to touch both ends of the battery.

6
detach the red/positive (+) cable

• Repeat the last step on the red/positive (+) side. 

Safety: Always remove the negative cable first, then the positive cable. When you connect the battery, connect the positive end first. So the order is: Remove black, remove red, attach red, attach black.

7
Remove the battery

• Remove the clamp holding down the battery. There may be several clamps, so inspect the outside of the battery carefully. 
• Set the clamps and fasteners aside and remove the battery from its tray tray.

Tip: Use a bowl or magnetized plate to collect all the loose pieces as you remove them. This will prevent them from falling into the car. 

Safety: Be careful when you remove the battery – they can be heavy (between 40 and 60 pounds). Keep your hands steady to avoid jostling the battery or spilling acid from the battery. If the battery has a handle, you can use that.

8
Clean the battery connectors

• Use a wire brush with a battery cleaning solution or a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the battery tray and connector wires. 
• Dry everything completely. 
• Do not install a new battery if there are any wet parts remaining.


HOW TO INSTALL A NEW CAR BATTERY

1
INSERT THE NEW BATTERY

• Place the new battery in the battery tray, aligning the red/positive (+) and black/negative (-) ends of the battery with the matching terminals and cables. 
• Re-install the clamp(s) the same way you removed them in order to secure battery.

2
APPLY ANTI-CORROSION SOLUTION

• Remove the red and black plastic covers on the ends of your new battery. 
• Prepare your new battery for use by installing anti-corrosion washers on both battery posts or spraying both of the car’s terminal ends with anti-corrosion solution.

3
ATTACH THE CABLES TO THE BATTERY

• Attach the red/positive (+) cable to the red/positive (+) battery post and tighten with a wrench. 
• Do the same on the black/negative (-) side. 

Safety: Always remove the negative cable first, then the positive cable. When you connect the battery, connect the positive end first. So the order is: Remove black, remove red, attach red, attach black.

4
DOUBLE-CHECK CONNECTION

• Ensure that the connections on both end are secure by trying to move the battery around. 
• If it shifts at all, check all the clamps and check the tightness of the cables. 
• If the battery was originally covered, reinstall its cover the way it was removed. 
• Close the hood and start the car. You’re on your way!

5
RECYCLE YOUR USED BATTERY

Car batteries have very specific disposal requirements, so make it easy on yourself and bring it into The Home Depot for recycling.