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    Tractor Supply Company

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    How to change your car battery

    Authored by Jemma Petts

    Keeping your vehicle running smooth doesn't have to mean an afternoon spent at the repair shop. Simple DIY knowledge can save some money and get you back on the road safely. This includes changing your car battery. 

    Chances of a battery failure increase when car batteries are three years or older. That means one in four vehicles on the road today are most likely due for a new battery. Changing a car battery is a simple task, once you know what to do and how to safely get the job done. Read more to learn how to change a battery on a car.

    What you need to change a car battery

    • Safety protection for eyes and face
    • Protective gloves
    • Replacement battery for your vehicle
    • Wrench, socket or pliers
    • Rags for cleanup
    • Baking soda, water and old toothbrush (in case wires are corroded and need cleaning)

    Step-by-step to changing the battery on your vehicle

    1. Wear protective gear

    Safety first! Find a well-ventilated and open space and protect your eyes with safety glasses. Wear safety gloves to protect your hands from battery acid and other chemicals.

    2. Remove the old battery

    1. Loosen the cables using your wrench or pliers
    2. Remove the black (negative) cable first.
    3. Next, remove the red (positive) cable.
    4. Check for any holddowns that may be securing the battery.
    5. Lift the battery out, making sure to keep it straight.
    6. Place to the side, ready for recyling.

    3. Install the new battery

    1. Check cables for any corrosion and clean or replace as necessary.
    2. Holding the new battery straight, slowly place in your vehicle.
    3. Line up the new battery with the correct cables
    4. Attach the red (positive) cable first.
    5. Next, attach the black (negative) cable.
    6. Secure any holddowns.
    7. Gently shift the battery back and forth to make sure it's secure - it should remain stationary on the tray.

    4. Recyle old battery properly

    Car batteries must be properly disposed and should not be thrown away in your normal trash collection. Bring old car batteries to your local TSC or nearest auto store for safe recycling. 


    More DIY car tips

    Keep your car running like it came off the lot with regular oil changes. Learn how to change your car oil at home with this guide.
    Make sure you're prepared for roadside emergencies with our guide to building an emergency roadside kit.