Why replace your battery?
A strong, healthy battery is essential to the proper operation of your vehicle. A battery can last four to five years with proper care, although battery failure can occur in as little as three years in hot climates. Premature battery failure can occur as a result of chronic undercharging, overcharging, abuse, or vibration. Because modern vehicle computer systems create a small but constant drain on batteries, even when the vehicle is parked, long sitting periods can cause a vehicle's battery to go dead and need a charge.

At some point, your battery will need to be replaced. This is usually a simple task, but some batteries can be very difficult to replace. If your battery appears to be difficult to remove and install, don't attempt to do it yourself. Have it done by a professional automotive technician.

These instructions will help you replace your car's battery.

Note: It may be helpful to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if it offers any specific information on battery replacement, or you may want to consult a suitable service manual.

Safety Precautions
Before changing your battery:
Proper maintenance and service procedures are vital to the safe, efficient operation of all motor vehicles, as well as to the safety of the person performing the work - you.
Whenever you are working on your vehicle, we recommend that you follow these important safety rules:
  • Do have a first-aid kit handy
  • Do be careful when working around hot or sharp objects
  • Do follow the manufacturer's instructions for all products
  • Do use safety stands under the frame or drive-on ramps if you must raise your vehicle
  • Don't run the engine without proper ventilation
  • Don't smoke when working around the engine
Installation
To install your battery:
READ these instructions completely before you begin:

Step One
  • Get the correct battery for your car. Check with your local DRAKES for the parts you need. It may be best to bring your old battery in to be sure you get the correct replacement, since there are usually several options.
  • Make sure your new battery is fully charged (see explanation below).
  • Gather together all the necessary tools.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area away from sparks or open flames. DO NOT SMOKE.
  • Let the engine cool.

When removing the old battery, disconnect the negative cable first. Then disconnect the positive cable. Remove the battery hold-down or clamping device, and lift the battery out of the vehicle. Be careful to keep the battery upright, so that no electrolyte solution will leak out. Be careful not to drop the battery, as cracks in the case will also allow electrolyte to leak out. Battery electrolyte is a strong acid. It can burn your skin and is very corrosive to anything it comes in contact with.

New batteries should be charged PRIOR to installation to prevent overloading and possible damage to the charging system (which is designed to maintain a constant level of battery charge, not to recharge a dead battery). This is very important.

After the new battery is placed in the battery tray, reattach the hold-down or clamping device. The battery must be secured by this strap, clamp or bracket. This will reduce vibration and will not allow the battery to slide on the tray.

You should also check the battery cables. Make sure there is no corrosion. Clean the cable connections with a suitable tool for the purpose. To prevent further corrosion on your cables, you may apply grease or petroleum jelly under the clamps.

Quick Tips
  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
 
A routine preventative maintenance practice for all automotive Do-It-Yourselfers, is to clean regularly the battery terminals. What is meant by this, is that you must remove the white fuzzy stuff growing in and on the battery terminals and posts. This white fuzzy stuff is generally indicative that resistance is building up between the battery cable ends and the battery posts. When this happens, the alternator has to work especially hard to keep the battrery recharged, and in most instances it cannot recharge the battery, and you find yourself on the back of a tow truck.

To remove the corrosion (white fluffy stuff), you must first wash the terminals using a mix of baking soda and water. Then you disconnect the cable terminals from the posts - the NEGATIVE first. Once this is done, dry off the posts and terminals and clean them using a battery post/cable cleaning tool. The outer surface of the posts and the inner surface of the cable ends should have a shinny look to them. Prior to reinstalling the cable terminals to the posts, it is recommended that you install treated felt washers. This will help control the build up of corrosion (or white fuzzy stuff), on the terminal ends, and prevent an unexpected vehicle "No Start" condition.

And remember when reinstalling the cable ends on the battery, install the POSITIVE cable end first. This will prevent sparking in the event that the wrench you are using accidentally is grounded against any part of the vehicle body.