DIY Tips for Installing a Car Battery

What You'll Need
New Battery
End wrench set or box wrench set
Utility knife
Protective eye wear
Work light

Installing a car battery can be one of the most helpful skills you can develop to maintain your car. Your car's battery will eventually lose its power and need to be replaced. If you still own your car when the battery fails, you will find it much less troublesome and expensive to replace the battery yourself. Otherwise, you'll need your car to be towed to a garage or have a mechanic come to your home to install your new battery—at a much higher cost to you.

Step 1 – Locate and Expose Your Battery

Open your car hood and locate your car's battery. Typically, it will be on one side or the other of your engine, near the front of your engine compartment. If you're working in your garage, you will probably need a work light to see into the dimly lit engine compartment.

Step 2 – Remove Your Battery's Security Bar

Most likely, your battery will be held in place on the battery tray by a metal security bar or strap that fits across the top of the battery and holds the battery from bouncing off the tray it sits on. This bar will probably be held firmly against the battery with 2 shaft-like metal bolts, one at at each end of the battery. The bolts are secured to the bar by a nut screwed onto the top threads of the bolt. Use a wrench to remove the nut from the ends of these two bolts, then you can swing the bar away from the top of the battery. To avoid a potentially harmful electrical shock, avoid touching both battery terminals at the same time. Always wear thick gloves. This will protect your hands from any acid on the battery and will reduce chances of electrical shock from the battery terminals.

Step3 – Loosen Your Battery Cables

With a wrench, loosen the nuts that keep the battery cables secured to the 2 battery terminals. No need to remove the nuts from the cables. Loosening them is good enough. To remove the cable ends from the battery, insert the end of a large, flathead screwdriver between one of the cable ends and the top battery surface, and pry the cable ends upward.

Step 4 – Remove Corrosion From the Battery Cable Ends

Use a utility knife and sandpaper to clean corrosion from the inside surface of the cable end. Be sure you can see bare metal on this surface before reconnecting it to the new battery.

Step 5 – Replace Your Battery

Remove the old battery from its tray, being careful not to allow the battery and any sulfuric acid on it to touch your clothes or skin. Set the old battery aside and place your new battery on the tray. Fit the end of the battery cables, one at a time, onto the new battery posts. Each post is different in size, so you'll need to be sure the cables fit the right posts. Tighten each cable end, and test the new battery by turning the ignition key on.