If you ever wondered how to install a car battery, or if you want to do it yourself, we have a quick step-by-step process to help you. You only need a few basic tools, and it may only take about fifteen minutes to do. Learning how to install a car battery is a great start if you’re a beginning DIY auto repair mechanic.
Before we show you how to install a car battery, there are a few tools and supplies you’ll need to get the job done.
How to Install a Car Battery: What you’ll need
Anyone who knows how to install a car battery will tell you that certain tools and supplies will make this job go much more quickly and easily.
Socket wrench, socket, and extension – You’ll need a 10mm or 11mm socket for most vehicles, and sometimes a bigger socket for the hold-down clamp. The extension will make it much easier to reach down beside the battery to loosen and tighten the bolts on the clamp that holds the battery in place on the battery tray.
Memory saver – When you disconnect the battery, you will lose all of your radio settings and any other memory that is stored on the computer of your car or truck. That’s where a memory saver comes in handy. Hook one up to your battery cables, cigarette lighter/outlet, or on-board diagnostic (OBD or OBD-II) port to maintain power to your computer.
Gloves – Like every DIY auto repair, there will be road dust and grime on your battery. Unlike every other DIY auto repair, that dust and grime might be laced with battery acid that can irritate your skin, burn your eyes, and eat holes through your clothing.
Safety glasses – Since battery acid can burn your eyes, you’ll want to make sure you protect them with some safety glasses. A good pair of wrap-around safety glasses can also keep particles of dust from getting in your eyes.
Shop towels – You’ll need something to keep things clean. It’s easy to leave handprints when you’re working on your car or truck. Just remember, battery acid will eat through cotton and terrycloth towels.
Battery terminal protector and cleaner sprays – These will help you get and protect a good connection from your battery to you car.
How to Install a Car Battery
When you are replacing a car or truck battery, make sure you don’t have any open liquids nearby that could spill on the battery and cause it to short out. Also, never remove either battery cable while the engine is on. This could damage your car’s electronics.
1. Connect the memory saver.
2. Remove the terminal clamps from the posts on the old battery.
These are what holds the battery cables tight onto the battery posts. Remove the negative (black) one first, and then the positive (red). Do this by loosening the bolts on the ends of the battery cables where they meet the posts. Don’t remove the bolts, just loosen them until you can take the cable off the battery.
3. Loosen the battery hold-downs and remove the old battery.
These may be plastic clamps at the base of the battery (which you’ll need your socket extension for), or a metal bracket or bar across the top of it. You’ll probably need a different size socket for these bolts. Be careful not to drop any bolts into the engine compartment – they might be almost impossible to find. After you pull the battery out, you should clean up any corrosion on the ends of the cables.
4. Put the new battery onto the tray where the old one was.
Make sure it’s turned the right way. Make sure the red clamp can reach the positive, and the black one can reach the negative.
5. Get the hold downs in place and tighten them down.
They should fasten right on to the lip at the base of your battery.
6. Reconnect and tighten the terminal clamps.
Positive (red) first, Negative (black) last. Spray them with the battery terminal protection spray after they are tightened down. This will prevent corrosion from building up on the terminal.
7. Disconnect the memory saver.
Make sure you start the engine to be sure everything still works. Check your radio settings to make sure that the computer’s memory was saved. And that’s it – now you know how to install a car battery!