How to change the car battery without making the most frequent mistakes: here are the tips of the experts to avoid damage and problems with mounting the battery. Changing the car battery is a breeze for many DIY enthusiasts, but not all drivers are prepared to do it right. In this in-depth study, we will see with the help of one of the major battery manufacturers how to replace a low battery in a car and the mistakes not to be made to avoid problems with the warranty.
LOW BATTERY, MEMORIES AND AUTO BATTERY SENSOR RESET
On cars equipped with Star & Stop systems and regenerative braking, unlike traditional cars, it is not always enough to remove the discharged battery and refit the new battery. The most recent cars, in fact, are equipped with an intelligent charge sensor (IBS) generally on the terminal, which checks the state of charge of the battery.
The charge management system may need to be reset after battery replacement. In addition, it is a good idea to be prepared to re-enter any Infotainment system security codes or restore the stored settings of the controls and mirrors (if electric). These operations do not always need to be repeated if a buffer battery is used in the workshop to help maintain the memories of the control units. The video below shows how to connect a broken-down car and start it with an emergency battery.
HOW TO DISASSEMBLE THE CAR BATTERY
Since the battery to be replaced is an operation that any motorist must be ready to do in an emergency, here is the advice of one of the largest battery manufacturers. Let’s see first the actions necessary for disassembly to change a battery :
- Activate the parking brake, deactivate all electrical equipment, and remove the ignition key from the panel. On cars equipped with a keyless system, it is advisable to keep them outside the passenger compartment.
- Identify the position of the battery with the help of the instruction manual and consider any recommendations from the vehicle manufacturer;
- First, disconnect the terminal with sign (-) with the special key;
- Disconnect the terminal with the sign (+) second with the special key or by hand if it is a quick release;
- Remove the bracket that locks the battery only after unscrewing the terminals.
BEFORE INSTALLING THE NEW CAR BATTERY
The tendency to change the car battery convinced that the new one is already charged is a very common error: the voltage should never be less than 12.4V. Charging the new battery before assembly is always recommended to avoid the risks of a battery in storage for too long. It is also good to make the following checks:
- Remove anything from the battery compartment, including any tools used that could puncture the battery box.
- Check and remove signs of oxide and corrosion from the terminals and dirt and leaves from the battery housing.
- Check the alternator belt tension if you hear skidding and whistling noises from the engine compartment when it rains.
THE STEPS TO FOLLOW FOR THE CORRECT CAR BATTERY ASSEMBLY
After these preliminary and preparatory checks to change the car battery, let’s see the steps for the correct assembly of the battery. Here are the step-by-step tips and the most frequent mistakes that create damage not covered by the battery warranty :
- Fit the anchoring system, locking the battery but without overtightening;
- First, screw the terminal (+) Check that the cable is firmly fixed by trying to move it and do not tighten it too much or you risk breaking the pole;
- Screw the clamp (-) as done for the previous one;
- Reassemble on the new battery any pipes, covers, and protections that have been moved or removed;
- Turn on the ignition and start the engine, checking that everything works properly.
Changing the car battery, as we have seen, is not that complicated, certainly, it is useful to always keep in mind some precautions. First of all, make sure that any problems with your car are attributable to the malfunctioning of the battery, such as the car not starting, the turning on of warning lights, the low brightness of the headlights, or the dashboard light.
If it is ascertained that your battery needs to be changed because the completely discharged car battery does not recharge, then proceed with the purchase of the new battery and the replacement of the old one. The damaged battery must be disposed of in an appropriate way, by contacting the competent authorities or by going to your trusted dealer who will arrange for disposal.
Having said that, you just have to proceed with the replacement of the damaged battery with the new one in total safety.