How to Replace a Car Battery

We have a Jeep. It’s our 3rd car. Meant to be used when our daily commuters, Honda sedans, don’t suit our needs for one reason or another. Like when I need to rent a saw from HD, haul drywall, or when it snows and we need a 4×4 to make it out of the West Hills.

Well, about a month ago, when we had an impromptu snow storm, I went to start it up to take it to work, and of course, it didn’t start. We drive it every couple of weeks just to avoid situations like this, but the cold weather put an already weak battery over the edge.

So it sat for a few more weeks, grew some moss, got hit by our old man neighbor as he backed out of his garage and left his Lincoln emblem embedded in the bumper but failed to tell us about the incident, and grew mold inside.

But finally, with Helen’s car is in the shop for the third time in a year because the “catalytic converter needs replaced” according to the code it’s throwing and since she needs to take my car to work tomorrow, I need the Jeep. So we bought a battery at Costco, and I threw it in.

So how do you change out a battery in a car, you ask? It’s a very easy task. Just make sure you have gloves and grubby clothes. Battery acid burns, and once it gets on something (like your clothes), it keeps burning, making the hole larger and larger over time, even after washing.

First step – open the hood and locate the battery.

Second step – loosen the cables using a ratchet. Use a screwdriver to get the cable loose from the battery terminal, if needed, and then lift the cable clamp of off both the negative and positive terminal.

Third step – loosen the battery from its plate. There are typically two type of fasteners, one that goes over the battery, or one that clamps the bottom edge of the battery to the plate. The Jeep has the latter. Using a socket with an extension, loosen the clamp and lift the battery out.

Fourth step – prepare the new batter by removing the terminal covers, and slightly roughing the terminals with sand paper – you want a good connection between the cables and the battery and this helps. Then clean up the inside of the cable clamps with sandpaper as well.

Fifth step – place the new battery on the plate and tighten the clamp at the base (just tight enough that when you put pressure on the battery it wont rock. Then reattach the cable clamps to the terminals and tighten.

Now crank ‘er up.

Easy, right? And look how much you saved by not having to have your car towed to the mechanic for something so simple.


  1. Mommy said:

    What did you do about the neighbor smashing into the jeep without telling you?????

    March 20, 2011
    • Kevin said:

      Haha, pretended it didn’t happen. He’s a really crabby old man. I don’t feel like having him hate us even more for blaming him for something he clearly tried to (unsuccessfully) cover up.

      March 22, 2011

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