One primary skill every car owner ought to learn is how to change a car battery. While this should not be a regular thing if you practice proper maintenance, vehicles can be full of surprises.
Changing a car battery may take a few minutes or several hours, depending on the car type and location of the battery. Vehicles with batteries in the engine bay can be removed and replaced in minutes.
However, it may take hours for cars with batteries in strange locations under the engine or the back seat (as seen in the Audi SWB Quattro). This is because you might have to remove components like the front wheel and wheel arch liner.
In this guide, I will dig deeper into how long it takes to change a car battery, factors that affect the duration of the procedure, and how it is done. You will also learn about the various symptoms of a battery that needs replacement.
How Long Does It Take To Change A New Car Battery?
Ideally, you need about 30 minutes or at most, one hour to change a car battery. However, there are instances where the procedure may require extra effort and time.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
If you own high-end and exotic car models, there is a high chance you will spend more time changing its battery, unlike everyday cars.
This is because these cars sometimes come with weird battery locations and connections. Even mechanics or auto experts sometimes do extra work to remove and replace such batteries.
Before changing a car battery, you must locate it first. If your car’s battery is not under its hood, you may need to do extra work like removing the back seat (if it is there) or front wheel (for batteries under the engine).
These processes are technical and often require the service of auto experts.
How To Replace A Car Battery
Replacing a battery is similar for every car once you spot the battery. This helps you decide whether you have to remove extra components for direct access.
Before commencing the procedure, you must ensure you are on the open ground far from water and fire. It would help if you also had thick insulating gloves, socket wrenches, jumper cables, a ratchet, a wire brush, a terminal puller, and clamps.
Now that you know what you need, let’s dive into the process:
- Once you have access to your car battery, check the two (red and black) connecting cables. The red cable represents the battery’s positive terminal while the black one represents the negative terminal.
- Disconnecting the negative (black) cable first to prevent short circuits before proceeding to the red cable. You need a wrench to loosen the cable’s clamp.
- Locate the bolted bracket underneath the battery and loosen it with the wrench to be able to remove the battery. Please do this carefully and place the battery on a concrete surface.
- Clean the new battery with a dust remover or sandpaper if there is a dirty or sticky residue before placing it in the right space. You may also need to add lubricants to the terminals.
- Use the bracket to keep it in place and tighten the bolt with your wrench.
- You must first connect the red cable to the battery terminal when connecting the new battery. It goes to the positive side.
- The black cable goes to the negative terminal afterward. This reconnection is carried out by a socket wrench.
- At this point, all should be set. However, you must inspect the connection for loopholes before closing the hood and starting your vehicle.
How Do You Know When Your Car Needs a New Battery?
Cars display several symptoms to help you decide whether your battery is due for replacement. The cheat to this is seeing how your battery reacts to a recharge.
If it sustains its charge after a recharge, you may not need to replace it. However, replacement is the next step if recharging does not make any difference.
Complementing symptoms to watch out for include:
- A ‘check engine’ light that does not turn off.
- Problem starting your car
- Problems with the electrical lights such as flickering or dim headlights, tail lights, and dashboard lights.
- Bulging or leakage in the battery.
Is changing a car battery easy?
Yes, changing a car battery should be easy, especially if you have done it before.
The basics involve turning off the car, unplugging the terminals from the old battery with a socket wrench, and replacing it with a new one connected to the terminals.
What should you be careful of when changing a car battery?
When replacing a car battery, you must ensure the wrench does not simultaneously touch the positive and negative terminals.
This often results in a spark, short circuits the battery, or damages the vehicle’s electrical system.
Does a dead car battery mean you need a new one?
A dead battery may display an inability to hold a charge or start your car.
If this is the case, you should consider replacing such a battery.
Changing a car battery can take a few minutes or several hours, depending on the car model and location of the battery. If a battery can be disconnected directly under the hood, you should be able to replace it if you follow the steps I showed you earlier.
However, if there is going to be a need to remove one or two different components before getting to the battery, it is better and safer to visit an auto shop. With an expert, you get more than just a replacement.
They will tell you if an exact battery or an upgraded one would be the ideal solution. You can also do research online before making a decision.
I hope you found this guide helpful. For more information on the signs of a damaged battery, please see how to tell when a battery is damaged.
Thanks for reading.