It’s very sensible fitting a car battery before the weather gets really cold. Of course the easiest way is to get a garage to do it for you. And if you buy the battery there, they may not charge you for installing it. However, fitting a car battery doesn’t require any mechanical know-how. Just follow our steps below.
Buy the right battery
It might sound obvious but you need the right car battery to fit. Not all batteries are the same and different cars have different requirements from their batteries. One simple way of finding the right battery is going to a website that lets you input your car reg and then tells you which is the best battery for your motor.
We’d advise you park on a flat and level surface. Ensure the parking brake is on, the engine and ignition are switched off and you have the keys in your pocket.
Disconnecting the battery may trigger the central locking so don’t leave the keys in the car.
Ensure you’re parked somewhere that enables you to access the battery safely. That means having the side the battery is on closest to the pavement.
Remember your PINs
Depending on the age of your car, there might be various PIN numbers for the radio, navigation etc… Make sure you’ve got these noted down. Also, we’d advise you to take a photograph of your old battery in position. It’s easy to forget which way round things go.
Know your positive and negative
The positive terminal will usually have a red cover on it; the negative will be black. Always loosen the negative terminal first. Not doing this may damage your car’s electrical system. When you’ve done that, loosen the positive terminal. Finally, release the clamps that are holding the battery in its place.
Hold the battery upright
Car batteries are deceptively heavy. Make sure you can lift it out safely without hurting your back and while keeping the battery upright. You don’t want any of the corrosive acids to spill out over you.
Fit the new battery
Lift the new battery into position. Make sure it’s the same way round as the battery you’re replacing (consult your picture if you’re in any doubt: you don’t want to connect it the wrong way round). Then remove the plastic covers on the battery posts and connect the leads from the car to the battery.
Connect the new battery’s positive terminal first, followed by the negative.
Enjoy the fruits of your labours
And that’s it. Job done. Get back in the car, put the key in the ignition and make sure it starts.
One last thing: you will need to dispose of your battery responsibly. We’d advise taking it to your nearest recycling centre.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.