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How to Replace a Car Battery

No matter how well you take care of your vehicle, the battery won’t last forever. Luckily, changing the old one out for a new one is pretty straightforward. Read this guide to learn how to do a DIY car battery replacement step-by-step so you can approach the job with confidence next time you have a dead car battery.

How to Remove a Car 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.

2

Disconnect Negative and Positive Cables

Start with the negative terminal and disconnect the negative battery cable. Look for a black cable and a minus (-) symbol.

Top-Post: You may need to use a ratchet to loosen and remove the clamp. Once the clamp is off, move it safely out of the way.

Side-Post: There will be an 8mm fastener. Use an 8mm ratchet to loosen, and then move it safely out of the way.

Disconnect the positive terminal after the negative terminal. Positive terminal has a plus sign (+) and the cable connected to it is usually red. 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 Battery and Restraint

Most cars feature a bar or a restraint of some sort to hold the battery in place. This is often secured with a bolt or some other fastener. Remove the restraint in order to remove the battery. Pull the battery out from under the hood and set it off to the side.

4

Clean Your Cables and Terminals

Take a wire brush and scrub the battery cable ends as well as the battery terminals to remove any corrosion or dirt. Wear a mask to avoid breathing dust during this step.

After you’ve removed your car battery, it’s time to install the replacement. Apply terminal grease before attaching the positive cable first, and then connecting the negative cable. The exact installation method will vary depending on whether you are installing a top-post or side-post battery. You can find articles describing the steps for and videos of each installation procedure below.

How to Install a Car Battery

Once you’ve installed the new battery, try starting the car to test your work, then consider driving to AutoZone to exchange your old battery for a core credit.

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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