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How to Change a Side-Post Battery

Learn how to install a side post car battery. Side post refers to where the battery terminals emerge to connect to the vehicle. Side-post batteries have terminals on the side. Follow along step by step and use this video for trustworthy advice on this DIY project.

Refer to our other article if you are changing a top-post battery.

Change a Side-Post Battery

1

Safety First

Park the vehicle on a dry, flat surface and set the parking brake. The ignition should be off, and if the vehicle is warm, give it time to cool before starting this job. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and pull back long hair. You should never smoke under the hood, especially when working on batteries.

positive battery plus sign on old side post battery showing corrosion to terminal
2

Disconnect Negative and Positive Battery Cables

Once your vehicle is turned off and cool, disconnect the negative ( - ) battery cable. This is a black cable. This is a side post battery, so there will be an 8mm fastener. Use an 8mm ratchet to loosen, and then move it safely out of the way.

Next, disconnect the positive terminal, which is always identified with a plus ( + ) sign, just as the negative is with a minus sign. It is very important that your ratchet or wrench not come in contact with anything that could be a ground, because this will cause sparks around the battery.

3

Remove the Battery

Look for something holding the battery in place. This can be a clamp or a bar. You'll want to loosen or remove this to free the battery to be removed. Once the battery is free, take the battery out. It's heavy, so steel yourself.

orange gloves holding clean terminal and wire brush used for cleaning
4

Clean the Terminal

Start with the bolt and clean the terminal until the metal is shiny. Use a wire brush for this step. Clean metal will create better conductivity, and corroded metal can get in the way of the battery's ability to help start the car. Avoid breathing in dust during this step. You may want to wear a mask as well.

orange gloves showing how to install new battery and clamp to side post battery
5

Install the New Battery

Place the new battery. When you do this, go ahead and install the clamp or bar or whatever is holding the battery in place. This stabilizer is very useful in preventing vibration and helping the battery last longer. Use some terminal grease on the battery terminals to encourage conductivity with the cables.

6

Connect Positive and Negative Battery Cables

At this point, connect the cables back to the terminal. Start with the positive and connect until it is snug. Do the same with the negative cable. Apply terminal grease here as well, to prevent corrosion.

7

Test the Vehicle

Test the car to ensure the battery works. Once it starts up, head over to AutoZone and take your old battery in for core credit.

When you’re done, don’t forget to turn in your old battery at AutoZone for core credit.

Looking for a battery? Put in your vehicle on AutoZone.com to order a battery for pick up, or stop by your local AutoZone to get help with selecting and installation your new battery.

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Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on AutoZone.com and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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