Many of us use a car because of the convenience and comfort that it offers compared to public transport.
We want a car to take us to places that we can’t reach by train, we want to be able to load all the necessary luggage without worrying about space and also to be able to leave whenever we feel like it, without being tied to a strict schedule.
All these are advantages that a car offers us, as long as it works properly and we can rely on it.
But when the car battery starts to grow old and shows first signs of weakness, there is every risk of getting stuck somewhere, in the middle of the holidays, in the middle of the road.
And until someone comes to our rescue, giving us power, in the happy case that we have power cables, we are stuck.
But an effective way to avoid a car breakdown is to recognize from the start the signals the battery shows, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Because the immortal car battery has not yet been invented, almost every driver has experienced a power failure in the car at least once. Even if the death of the battery seems to take you by surprise, there are some clear signs that it shows you that it no longer works as normal.
Warning signs that may indicate your battery is falling
Here is a list of the most common symptoms that the battery has when it is dying:
The engine starts harder and harder
The engine needs electricity and the battery is the source. In general, batteries tend to “crack” in the winter, when temperatures drop more and more, or possibly if you have not used the car for a long time.
The moment you try to start your vehicle , you will feel that it is struggling to start, it squeaks, it tries and in the happy case it still succeeds.
When the engine is struggling, it means that the battery is already weak and you might need a new battery.
As I mentioned, the battery is a primary and main source of electricity, but not only for the engine but also for all the other electrical elements of the car.
If you notice that your headlights don’t light up the same the moment you turn on the AC or the CD player, it means that the battery is trying to tell you something.
Also if any of the electronics in your car start working intermittently you can consider the battery is playing tricks.
In the happy case, your car will have a warning light to indicate the status of your battery. On older cars, however, there is a chance that you will not have this feature.
The same on-board indicator can indicate that you have problems with the electrical part of the car. Whatever the fault, you should consult an electrician for safety.
The battery case is inflated
You have to consider the fact that a battery is nothing but an amalgam of chemicals put together.
Due to cold or excessive heat, there is a risk that it will swell. If you leave the car unattended for a long time in winter, there is a chance that it will simply freeze, meaning goodbye battery.
Battery too old
You should also consider the fact that your battery may die simply because it is too old. The average age of a battery would be between 3-5 years.
But this duration depends a lot on the exposures that the car suffers from cold or heat.
Anyway, if you arrived in the 4th year with your battery, take it for a check, to make sure it lasts longer.
You feel a strange smell
If your battery still starts after being exposed to cold or excessive heat, it may have a strange odor.
Sometimes you can compare this smell to rotten eggs and is not exactly pleasant.
When you notice such an odor under the hood, you should take the battery for a check, as it will probably require a replacement.
Also, before changing the battery, you will need to check the surrounding elements to make sure that possible battery leaks have not affected them.
Most of the time the battery problems leave us helpless until the moment it is changed or someone comes to save us, giving us power.
However, there are certain possibilities you can use to help yourself until you reach an electrician.
DIY car battery replacement – How to change the car battery yourself
- A battery lasts about 3-6 years
- In winter, most batteries fail
- Battery replacement takes about 15 minutes
- Some models require an on-board computer reset and update after replacement
- Some security systems(ABS, ESP) might malfunction
Some people will say that even an old woman could change the car’s battery on her own. Others, born experts in any field, will say that they replace the car battery in 10 seconds and that anyone can do it.
But things are not exactly trivial and you should always consult the car user manual first or discuss the matter with the dealer to find out if any extra actions need to be taken before replacing the battery.
It is already a known fact that when winter comes, a lot of car batteries start to fail. This is because the cold causes the older battery to lose electricity even without consumers, mainly because its internal elements are losing their efficiency over time.
Many drivers will wake up one morning and notice that they can’t start the car’s engine and ideally is to call a service that sells and installs batteries.
Many car shops, in fact, sell you a battery and offer a guarantee only if they manage the change process.
This ensures that they will take your old battery for recycling and also that the new battery is installed properly.
Buy the battery online
When buying a battery online, make sure you choose the right model and needs to have the amperage recommended by the manufacturer. Consult the car’s manual in the first place but remember that sometimes amperage can be even bigger, but not smaller, because it can cause problems with different consumers.
Tools needed for replacement
To change a car battery on our own, in your own backyard, we need some tools.
First of all, you need a tubular wrench with extension(size 13 or 14). This is required to loosen the screw that secures the tray battery to the bottom.
We also need a tubular (size 10-12) or fixed wrenches, depending on the terminal model, to loosen the connecting screws.
And, lastly, a special electrical contact spray cleaner and a dry towel.
We start by removing the battery terminal connectors
The first step we need to take is to release the bottom screw or screws that secure the battery to the metal tray.
There is a good chance that the screw will be rusty and you might need to use the contact spray and wait for a 2-3 minutes. With a strong cricket, we will finally be able to remove it. After the battery can be lifted, it’s time to move to the terminals.
They do not have any specific order in which they must be removed, and can be unwrapped anyway.
After loosening the screws we are ready to remove them and immediately remove the battery from its place.
Before we install the new battery
It is advised to use the contact spray and a little sandpaper to clean the plugs on the inside, before putting them on the terminals of the new battery.
In addition using the towel we will clean or blow the dirt collected under the old battery, on the metal tray, to avoid the accumulation of moisture and rust in the future.
After that, we can lift the new battery, making sure it has the position of the plus and minus terminals exactly as in the case of the old battery.
CAREFUL! There are identical amperage batteries, but with inverted terminals, which would make it impossible to mount the battery on our car.
We have to be careful that the new battery is the same as the one on the car and you can always consult with the shop consultant in order to pick the best option for your car.
Fixing the battery on the metal tray
Many drivers that change the battery on their own forget about this important step and that is big mistake.
In case of an accident the battery may move, may touch the hood or overturn and we might end with an engine on fire. Therefore, it is extremely important that the battery is fixed to the metal tray in which it is mounted.
After fixing the battery in its place, we move to the terminals.
Connecting the battery terminals to the car
Some say that it is good to tie the minus first time, others that it is good to mount the plus for the first time. But no one really has arguments for one or the other.
It doesn’t really matter which terminal is connected first. The idea is to mount them in the right spot. Use the contact spray to eliminate oxidation and create a better contact surface.
Once the plugs are fixed on the battery terminals we put the covers that protect the terminals in place and jobs done.