We’ve all had that moment of panic when we’re late to work and our car won’t start. There are many factors that can lead to a dead battery – defective alternator, electrical problems, weather, and even the human error of leaving a car’s lights on. Don’t let a dead battery ruin your day. Here are a few tips that could help keep you on the road instead of waiting for help to arrive.
Clean your battery
Keep your car battery dry and clean to avoid corrosion and discharge. Use a toothbrush and baking soda mixed with water to clear off any corrosion and dirt that could cause problems with your battery. Remember to dry the battery with a clean rag after scrubbing.
How to check a car battery
To see if there are any problems with your car battery, you can check for some key signs to determine if your battery needs to be replaced.
- If you see signs of corrosion and dirt, clean off the battery.
- Are the battery cables frayed or corroded?
- Are the clamps of the battery badly corroded?
- Is the battery case cracked or broken?
- Is there standing water on your battery?
Charging a car battery
If your car battery is in need of charge, the best way to do it is to disconnect the battery from your car. Make sure your car is completely off and that you disconnect the grounded battery terminal first. You will need a car battery charger to fully charge your battery.
- Make sure the battery terminals and battery are clean before you charge it.
- Connect your battery to the car battery charger per the charger’s manual instructions.
- Make sure the voltage selector is set to the right voltage in order to avoid the battery overheating.
- If you keep your car battery in your car, follow instructions per the car battery charger manual.
Buying a new car battery
You’ll likely replace your car’s battery numerous times during the life of your vehicle. When it’s time to replace your car battery, there are some simple steps you can take to buy the right battery.
- Look for a maintenance free or sealed battery. You don’t have to check or refill the battery’s electrolyte levels.
- Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the size and kind of battery you will need to purchase for your car.
- Choose a battery that fits your driving and environmental conditions. If you live in a climate with frequent high temperatures, conditions are harder on a car battery than in milder climates.
- All batteries lose strength even when idle. Choose a battery no more than six months old by checking the shipping code on the case.
Replacing a car battery
If you’re ready to change out your vehicle’s battery for a new one, this quick video will show you how:
Here are the steps:
- Make sure your vehicle is completely turned off.
- Open your hood and remove the cables from the old battery, making sure to remove the grounded terminal first.
- Remove screws and devices that are holding the battery in place.
- Remove the old battery.
- Clean off tray where old battery sat in the vehicle.
- Place new battery on tray.
- Replace screws and devices that kept the old battery in place in the vehicle.
- Place the cables on the terminals, this time with the grounded terminal last.
- Start your car and go recycle your old battery!
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For more step-by-step instructions on how to change your car battery, refer to your owner’s manual and check out our blog Yes, You CAN Change Your Own Car Battery: Here’s How. If you’ve read this article after you’ve experienced a dead battery, you can always call for backup with Direct Auto’s Roadside Assistance by calling 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), Click, or Come in to speak with one of our friendly licensed agents.
Helpful Information on Batteries: