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How to change a battery

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 11 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
Battery Replacement

If your car battery needs to be replaced, the first thing you should do is use WhoCanFixMyCar to get free bespoke quotes from the best garages in your area.

You can then take your pick from local mechanics and decide on who you would like to complete the work based on price and star rating from other drivers.

Changing a battery is a complex job and it should not be attempted unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Get quotes from local mechanics now.

However, if you feel confident in your ability to change a battery, we've created this guide to help you out.

Replacing your battery - jumplinks:

How to tell if your battery needs replacing

How to find out what battery your car needs

How to change a car battery

How to make your car battery last longer

Things you should know about car batteries


How to tell if your battery needs replacing

Cars will always have tell-tale signs and signals if something is wrong, and this is the same when it comes to car batteries. Undertaking regular checks will help determine if your car battery is on the way out. Knowing the symptoms of a worn out battery will also help you to prevent a future breakdown (which we all know can be costly and needless to say, inconvenient).

Your battery might need replacing if:

  • There is a build up of green, powdery residue on the terminals.

  • You can see a battery warning light on your dashboard.

  • The engine takes longer to start and feels like it's struggling.


How to find out what battery your car needs

It is very important to ensure you use the correct battery for your vehicle as if you don't it will not last as long and could cause damage to your car.

Use this handy battery look up tool from Varta to find the correct one for your car.


How to change a car battery

Step One - Make sure you are safely parked on a flat surface. Double check the handbrake is engaged. Always keep your keys on you just in case your car’s central locking system activates once the old battery is moved. Step Two - Before changing your car battery, pop on some goggles and gloves - battery acid is highly corrosive and can cause nasty burns if it leaks.

Step Three - You may need to reset your car’s electrical systems (sat nav, radio etc) - make sure you have the pin codes and other information needed to reset them.

Step Four - Next, open your car bonnet (don’t forget the bonnet stay rod).

Step Five - Find the battery and identify the negative and positive connections (usually, the negative is black and marked ‘-’ and the positive pole is usually red and signed ‘+’. If you need to - label them.

Step Six - Remove the negative terminal first - if you don’t you may damage your car’s electrical system. Now loosen the positive terminal. Following this, loosen the clamps and/or screws holding the battery in its housing.

Step Seven - Now, put the new battery in its housing. Make sure the negative and positive posts are in the same position as the battery you removed before. Double check this before you tightening the clamps or screws holding the battery in place. Remove the plastic covers from the new battery posts and then reconnect the positive (+) terminal followed by the negative (-) terminal.

Step Eight - Once you’ve disposed of your old battery, take your key and stick it in the ignition. You are ready to drive away!

With the right tools and guidance, changing a car battery yourself is a relatively simple task that could save you some money. Experienced motorists certainly understand the frustration of getting in a car, putting the key in the ignition and being met with the sounds of either; a slow whirring starter motor, or dead silence. All of which is the consequence of a flat battery.


How to make your car battery last longer

Car batteries are really good at looking after themselves - they require minimum fuss and little to no maintenance. However, forgetting to switch your car lights off, and keeping the air-conditioning and stereo on whilst the engine is off will eventually drain the battery.

It is also important to remember that starting your car is the most demanding thing a car battery has to do. Short stop start journeys means that the battery is not getting the chance to fully recharged by the alternator, giving it a shorter life span.

If you need your car battery changed or your car needs servicing, get free instant quotes your local garages with Who Can Fix My Car!

Alternatively, you can look use this handy battery look up tool from Varta to find the correct one for your car.


Things you should know about car batteries

A car battery is a major component when it comes to starting a car. It is also a crucial part of the electrical system, running everything from the stereo to the lights, electric windows, heater and much more. A car battery is usually recharged in most cars as they are driven, via electricity from an alternator. This small generator is driven by a belt from the engine and the level of power created fluctuates. If a car battery is in good condition, it will consistently supply the reliable and congruous voltage to the car’s system, which is needed to function correctly.

As with most new things, batteries that are newer will be of better quality - in theory they should last longer than a car battery purchased 10 years ago.  The average UK car battery is estimated to be roughly seven years old, which means that many drivers may need a replacement sooner or later.

Car batteries themselves are reasonably priced, and going to a reliable and trusted garage will also give you peace of mind when it comes to getting your car battery swapped.