12 Things You Should Know About Changing Your Car Battery

Considering changing your car battery yourself? The auto experts at NAPA Canada share 12 invaluable tips for the home mechanic.

Changing your car batteryPhoto: ShutterStock

Considering changing your car battery? Read this first!

1. With proper care, a car battery can last as long as five years. If you live in a hot climate, however, battery failure can occur in as little as three years.

2. Some of the leading causes of premature car battery failure include chronic overcharging (or undercharging), abuse and excessive vibration.

3. Even when your car is parked, its computer systems are creating a small—but constant—drain on your car battery.

4. Before attempting to change your car battery yourself, consult your owner’s manual. Set aside approximately 30 minutes to complete the job.

5. It’s important you source the right replacement battery. To eliminate guesswork, bring your old battery with you to the auto parts store.

6. Your new car battery should be fully charged prior to installation, otherwise you risk overloading and/or damaging the charging system. (It’s not designed to recharge a dead battery.)

7. The order in which you disconnect the dead car battery’s cables is key: Always disconnect the negative cable first.

8. To lift the dead battery out of the car, you’ll have to remove remove the battery hold-down or clamping device.

9. Car batteries contain electrolyte solution, which is an extremely corrosive acid. Keep the battery in an upright position to prevent this solution from leaking.

10. After placing the new battery in the battery tray, secure it with the hold-down or clamping device. This helps to reduce vibration—one of the key contributing factors in premature car battery failure.

11. Check the battery cables for corrosion, and, if necessary, clean them. Apply grease or petroleum jelly under the clamps to prevent further corrosion.

12. Check out these 10 Tips to Ensure a Long Life for Your New Car Battery!

For more great tips on how to maintain your car and to find the parts you need, visit NAPA Canada.