check car battery

Lately, nothing seems to be going right with your car. You can’t seem to get it to start, and the headlights don’t seem as bright as they once were. What is the problem? The most likely culprit for your current headache is a weak or dying battery, and don’t worry, it is not as challenging as that keyless remote battery replacement you did last year. However, before swapping out the battery, consider the warning signs of a failing battery to ensure you are not rushing a diagnosis.

Signs You Need a New Battery

A car battery is the heart of your electrical system, and like a failing human heart, you will notice when somethings not right. The internal and external lights may appear dimmer. Your replacement key fob may not work all the time. When things get really bad, your engine will experience a slow crank and may not start, requiring a jump from a friend or some reluctant stranger.

Other signs that your battery is going could be its appearance, a persistent odor, or the appearance of leaks. As batteries age, they can begin to swell or bloat, and this bloating can lead to the case splitting, releasing fluid and a gas that smells like rotten eggs. If your battery is leaking, you might receive a dashboard notification warning of low-battery fluid or the illumination of the dreaded check engine light.

All of these signs are bad news, and they indicate that your battery is in a dire state. Instead of leaving things as they are and risking the permanent damage of vital components, consider changing the battery yourself. It is not as challenging as you might think, and it is definitely less costly than taking it to a shop.

How To Install Your New Battery

Before you begin the replacement process, ensure you are wearing the proper personal protection equipment: gloves and mask. If you do not own the necessary items, look for PPE on sale at a local auto parts store.

With safety considered, turn off your car, place it in park, and engage the emergency brake. Then, unlatch the hood and look for the battery. You can typically find the battery in the front of the vehicle to the left, depending on the make, model, and manufacturer.

After locating the battery, you will need to disconnect the negative cable first, using a pair of battery pliers or a combination wrench. You want to loosen the nut holding the cable in place, and then gently twist and pull up on the cable to release it from the battery. If the negative line does not budge, you can use a battery terminal puller to provide leverage. Once the negative is removed, continue with the positive.

Next, remove the hold-down clamp and lift the battery from the tray. Clean the tray and clamp before putting the new battery in. Secure the new battery to the tray with the hold-down clamp, and follow the steps in reverse to complete the installation. You can also use an anti-corrosion spray on the terminals to protect the life of the battery.

Now that you know how to replace your battery, will you do it? Go to a local auto parts supplier and pick up what you need.