July 10, 2018 at 10:44 AM
Car batteries usually have a lifespan of between three and five years, after which time they will need to be changed. Flat batteries are one of the most common reasons that car owners need to use roadside assistance, which is an inconvenience. However, unreliable batteries can also be dangerous, so it is important to be able to recognise when it is going flat and to be able to replace it when necessary.
How To Identify A Flat Battery
A completely flat battery is easy to recognise, as the car simply will not start. While this can be temporarily fixed by jump-starting the car or recharging the battery, a replacement will be much more reliable in the long term. If the battery is running low, however, the car will still start, but the headlights will be noticeably dinner when the car is not moving, and then brighten as the accelerator is pressed. This is an indication that a replacement should be carried out soon.
Changing The Battery
The first step is to identify the type of battery required for the car, as they are not all the same. The user manual for the vehicle should contain the information needed.
When changing the battery, ensure the car is parked on a level surface and the engine is switched off. Gloves and safety glasses should be worn at all times, as the acid in the battery is highly corrosive.
An adjustable spanner is generally sufficient, as far as tools are concerned, although some people prefer to have a full socket or spanner set to hand. Carefully undo the nuts holding the battery in place, and put them somewhere safe, as they will be needed again later. Locate the positive (red) and negative (black) terminals. Remove the negative terminal from the battery first, followed by the positive terminal. This should prevent any damage to the car's electrical system. The battery, which is heavy, can now be lifted out and placed, upright to avoid any spillage of acid, out of the way. Ensure that the metal ends of the terminals do not touch each other or the body of the car.
The tray which contained the battery may need to be cleaned out before the new battery is installed. Then, set the new battery in place, ensuring it is the same way round as the old one. Connect the positive terminal, followed by the negative terminal. Finally, replace the nuts that were removed at the start, to hold the battery firmly in place.
The old battery needs to be disposed of in the correct manner; due to the corrosive chemicals, it contains, batteries are classed as hazardous waste.