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Instructions and photos on how to change a car battery

We'll let you in on a little secret: Replacing a car battery does not require special tools and is accessible to everyone. And this is how you do it.

Step one: Find your battery

  How to replace a car battery
Ronan Glon / Digital Trends

The first step is finding your battery. In the vast majority of cars, it is located in a corner of the engine compartment. Either in the front, behind one of the headlights or in the back right under the windscreen on both sides. Note that it can be hidden under a plastic cover, especially if you drive a car that has been manufactured in the last decade. Do not panic if you do not see it under the hood; The dealer did not rip you off. Some automakers (like BMW) often choose to install the battery under the back seat or in the trunk to save space. If you are not sure where you are, the Owner's Manual will help you.

You found it? Good. Now it's time to roll up your sleeves. Speaking of which, we recommend wearing clothes that do not mind getting a little dirty. And make sure you know the code for your car stereo. For some vehicles, disconnecting the battery will reset the stereo and ask for an authorization code at the next startup.

Step 2: Disconnect terminals

Your 1

2 volt battery has one positive pole and one negative pole. just like the AA batteries you used to use your Game Boy Color. It is connected to the car's electrical system via metal terminals. Find both tails – remember that the positive is under a plastic sleeve – and determine how they are secured. You're in luck if your car has a quick release clamp. If not, you will need wrenches to loosen the ends. The size of the bolt varies from car to car. Some use 10mm screws, some use 13mm screws, and some use either one of them. You could even find a car with a 7mm screw or another size.

Start disconnecting the negative connection. It is the one with a symbol next to it, usually on the battery case. Remember: right tighty, lefty loosey. The bolt should not require immense effort to disengage. Make sure your key never touches both terminals at the same time. It conducts electricity and makes sparks fly, which is the last thing you want when working with a gasoline engine. Gently pull the terminal end upwards if it is loose and remove it from the way. Do the same with the positive pole, and this time make sure that the wrench does not touch any metal part of the car (like the bonnet or the body).

Step 3: Remove the battery holder

Both ends are off the battery – now what? You can not just pull out the battery. It is held by a holding system, which usually consists of a strap or a metal plate. In any case you will need a socket wrench, the appropriate socket and an extension rod long enough to remove the battery and reach the bolt.

Loosen it slowly, being careful not to drop the bolt. We recommend using a telescopic magnet to retrieve it before it falls into the dark, greasy abyss, also known as the engine compartment. You can also use pliers or simply reach down and grab when you have enough space.

Step 4: Remove the old battery and check the terminals

Now you can pull out the battery. It's relatively heavy, it can weigh 20 pounds or more, so be prepared. Look at the terminal ends before installing the new one. If you see an accumulation of green, gray, or white powder, you will need to clean them with emery cloth or sandpaper to keep your loading system in shape. Do not use anything too rough; 100-grain works well. Sand the inner part of the terminal ends until they are nice and shiny. Battery acid is corrosive, so wear gloves and try not to get any clothes.

Step Five: Install the new battery

  Car Battery
Ronan Glon / Digital Trends

Charge the new battery and put it on Do not forget to tighten the previously removed restraint system. Most new batteries are equipped with corrosion washers and grease to keep the connections free of dirt and grease. Gently move on to the grease, but cover the entire surface of the terminal. Then first connect the positive battery post, always making sure that the key does not come into contact with any other metal part. It must be tight, you should not be able to move the terminal end by hand, but do not tighten it too tight, otherwise you will break it. Repeat these steps for the negative end of the terminal.

Check that you have not left tools in the engine compartment, close the hood, and start the car to make sure everything is working properly.

Congratulations, you just changed a battery.

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