How to Change a Car Battery

If you’ve determined your battery is bad, here’s how to replace it yourself with only a few tools.

Next Project
Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Varies

Introduction

If you’ve determined your battery is bad, here’s how to replace it yourself with only a few tools.

Tools Required

  • Battery post & terminal cleaner
  • Leather gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Socket set

Materials Required

  • Replacement battery

Project step-by-step (9)

Step 1

Step 2

Remove the (-) Negative Terminal First

  • The (-) negative or ground terminal is the black cable attached to the battery.
  • Remove this cable first by loosening the nut on the terminal clamp using a socket or wrench. Some release nuts are on the side and some are on the top of the terminal clamp.
  • Wiggle the terminal clamp, pulling it off the battery post and out of the way.

Step 3

Remove the (+) Positive Terminal

  • The (+) positive terminal is the red cable attached to the battery.
  • Remove this cable next by loosening the nut on the terminal clamp using a socket or wrench.
  • Wiggle the terminal clamp, pulling it off the battery post and out of the way.

 

Step 4

Remove the Hold-down Strap

  • Loosen both nuts on the hold-down strap using a deep socket.
  • Lift the hold-down strap up and out of the way and set it aside.

 

Step 5

Remove the Battery

  • Get a good hold of the battery and lift it out of the compartment. Some batteries have built-in handles.
  • A battery carrying strap comes in handy for this, as well as leather gloves.

Step 6

Clean the Terminal Clamps

  • Use a battery post and terminal cleaner to clean the inside of each terminal before installing the battery.
  • Warning! Wear gloves and safety glasses when cleaning corroded terminal clamps.

Step 7

Install the New Battery

  • Place the new battery in the compartment aligning the (+) positive and (-) negative terminals with their corresponding (+) positive red cable and (-) negative black cable.

Step 8

Reinstall the Hold-down Strap

  • Place the hold-down strap over the top of the battery, being careful not to touch the terminals with the metal rods.
  • Hook the rods into the holes located just below the front and back of the battery.
  • Tighten nuts on both rods but do not over tighten them — you don’t want to crack your new battery.

Step 9

Reinstall the Terminal Clamps

  • First, install the (+) positive red terminal clamp on the (+) positive battery post. Push it all the way down so the battery post sticks up past the top of the cable clamp, and tighten the nut snugly.
  • Next, install the (-) negative black terminal clamp (you will see a small spark when you touch the battery post). Again push the post all the way down and tighten the nut snugly.