Your Car Battery: When & How To Change It

car battery

We’ve all faced that dreaded dead car battery. Where do you go? Who do you call?

A dead car battery can leave you in a pretty scary situation.

By knowing the warning signs of a dead battery, you can save yourself some trouble. Read on to learn when and how to change a dead car battery.

When to Change Your Car Battery

Check the Electrical System

Your battery can be highly defective and your car will still run smoothly. However, some functions that require a lot of power will begin to slow down.

Look to your car’s ignition or headlights.

If your headlights are dim, try revving your engine at night when the vehicle is parked. If the lights start to appear bright when hitting the gas, that’s a sign your car battery is dying.

Also, your ignition will fail to start or have trouble starting if your battery is dead.

Avoid Letting It Sit For Long Periods of Time

If you have a newer vehicle with a lot of new electrical features, your car battery will die quicker.

These features will drain your battery even if the vehicle isn’t in use. If you are using your vehicle regularly, this isn’t that big of an issue.

However, if your car stays parked for some time, your battery will drain much quicker. If you don’t normally use your car a ton, take it for a drive around the block every few days.

At the bare minimum, start your vehicle so it can get some of the internal components running.

How to Change a Car Battery

1. Buy New Battery

After identifying that your battery does need to be changed, you’ll need to go buy a replacement. You’ll need to know your car’s make, model, and engine size and an auto store clerk can help.

Also, make sure you review formal safety procedures to not make any careless mistakes.

2. Remove Old Battery

You’ll want to remove your cigarette lighter and replace it with a memory keeper. This will avoid losing any music or GPS settings during the battery change.

Next, you’ll want to locate the old battery. Lift your hood and find the rectangle with two cables.

You’ll need to determine which cable is positive and which is negative. For the most part, the positive cable will have a plus sign. The negative cable will have a minus sign.

Use a wrench to dislodge the negative cable clamp first. It should be able to come off easily from the terminal.

Then, follow the same step for the positive cable.

After the cables are off, you’ll need to unscrew the battery holders. Then, you should be able to remove the car battery from your vehicle.

3. Insert New Battery

Before putting the new battery in, wipe off the old clamps. Then, insert the battery where the old one was. Screw in the clamps and hook up the cables in the reverse order as before (positive first, negative second).

You did it! Now, check out these other DIY projects for your automobile. We’d also recommend applying lithium grease to avoid deterioration.


Are you looking for more automotive information? You’re at the right place.

My name is Mark and I am a certified master technician. Learn more about other auto repairs here.