The average life span of a car battery is five years; if you replace your car every five years with a new one, it’s very unlikely that you will ever need to change a car battery. However, if you buy a used car or keep yours for longer than five years, you need to know how to change the battery.
If you have ‘start/stop’ technology, it’s better to have a professional change your battery as it needs to be calibrated with the onboard computer correctly. With standard cars, there is no need to go to a professional and shell out up to £100 for something that is far simpler to do than people realise.
When To Change The Battery
When your battery is completely flat, it’s obvious that it needs to be changed because the central locking won’t work, and you cant start the car. It’s harder to know when to change the better before it goes completely flat; many cars come equipped with a warning light, but if the battery dies while the car is parked, that light won’t be much help. Usually, the first sign you get to warn you is when the car begins to struggle to turn on, but that can still be hard to judge if it’s winter as cars batteries often struggle in the cold.
Don’t worry if you find your can unable to start one morning; you should still be able to get it going so you can still go about your day until you get a replacement. Locate the battery and use jump leads connected to another car or a trickle-charger to send a charge into the battery; if you’re not sure where your batter is, check the user manual for your car to help you find it. If you have a manual car and you don’t have any jump leads or a trickle-charger, you can ‘bump start’ your car with the help of another person. To execute a successful ‘bump start’, switch the ignition to on, depress the clutch and engage first gear, then have someone push the car forwards; once you have sufficient motion, step off the clutch. This does not always work on the first try, but it should turn over the engine and get it fired up. Finally, once you have the car started, you need to take it for a drive that lasts at least 20 minutes to give the battery some charge.
Even if you can get your car started again, it’s best to look into buying a new one as soon as possible when you begin to have problems.
Buying A New Battery
The model of your car will determine how much you will spend on a new battery; on average, car owners in the UK will expect to pay anywhere from £50 to £100. Those with larger or high-end cars can expect to pay from £350 upwards when they buy batteries for their vehicles. Finding a quality battery for a reasonable price can be difficult, but companies like Battery Group stock a wide range of batteries from various brands to help you find the right one for your car.
If you’re unsure of which type you need, check your car manual, as it should have the information stored in there for you. Sometimes we lose our manuals, or the used car we bought didn’t come with one; the manufacturer for your car will have copies on their websites if you need them.
A Step-By-Step Guide
Before you begin, make sure you have the proper safety equipment. Car batteries shouldn’t shock you, but you do need to take precautions when changing a battery.
- Wear insulated gloves.
- Wear protective goggles.
- Don’t change a battery in wet conditions.
- Don’t connect the battery terminals to anything metal.
- Remove all jewellery.
Once you’re ready to start, the steps for changing a battery are fairly simple, and the entire task should only take you around 30 minutes.
- First, undo the clamp nut and remove the cable from the negative terminal; this should have a large minus sign on it if you’re unsure.
- Do the same with the positive terminal; this will have a large plus sign on it to help you find it.
- Next, undo the batteries hold-down clamp and lift out the battery; be careful during this step as car batteries are heavy.
- Once you’ve removed the battery, examine the tray and clean it if necessary.
- Place the new battery in the tray and attached the hold-down clamps.
- Connect the positive cable; this must be done before the negative cable.
- Connect the negative cable.
Once you have changed the old battery, ensure it is properly recycled at your local tip. It is illegal to dispose of a car battery with your household waste because of the corrosive chemicals they contain.