There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you turn the key in the ignition and instead of roaring into life, your car makes a more pitiful stammering noise, followed by a frantic clicking sound as the solenoid tries desperately to kick the starter.
When this happens, you know it’s time to change your battery – the good news is it’s normally a relatively straightforward process.
So here’s how to fit a car battery…
1. Level up
Before you get under the bonnet, make sure your car is parked on a flat, level surface in a safe place. Put on the hand brake, take the keys out of the ignition and put them somewhere safe – if your car has central locking, replacing the battery might activate it, so don’t leave them in the car.
2. Check your codes
Next thing to do is make sure you have all the relevant PIN codes and settings for things like sat navs and radios as these will usually need to be reset after the battery has been disconnected. Check the owner’s manual if you’re unsure.
Car batteries contain highly corrosive acid, and if yours has gone flat there is a chance that one of the cells could be leaking, so wear protective goggles, gloves and, if necessary, clothing before handling.
4. Find the battery
The car battery is usually located under the bonnet, but it may be in the boot or even under one of the seats. Again, check the owner’s manual if you’re unsure.
5. Remove the negative cable
Remove any plastic trims or covers from the battery and then, if necessary, label the positive and negative cables to make sure they don’t get mixed up.
Loosen and disconnect the negative clamp – usually marked with a minus (-) sign – and move the clamp away from the battery post.
6. Remove the positive cable
Then loosen and disconnect the positive clamp – usually marked with a plus (+) sign – and move the clamp away from the post.
It’s important to remove the clamps in this order – negative followed by positive – as you can damage the car’s electrical system if you do it the other way around.
7. Remove the battery
Loosen and remove any screws or clamps that are holding the battery in place and carefully lift the battery out of the car – bear in mind you may need help as batteries can be quite heavy and awkward.
8. Fit the new battery
Put the new battery in place, making sure it’s the right way round with the positive (+) and negative (-) posts on the correct sides and remove any covers from the terminals.
9. Reconnect the terminals
Reconnect and secure the positive (+) cable clamp first before reconnecting and securing the negative (-) cable clamp, making sure both connections are as tight and as far down on the battery posts as possible.
You can now start up your engine.
10. Dispose of your old battery properly
It is against the law to dispose of car batteries with household waste so find out what disposal options are available in your area – some garages and scrap metal facilities will take them, else your local household waste recycling centre (or ‘tip’) should be able to.