Disconnecting a car battery may seem like an easy-breezy task, but it is not! Disconnecting the battery improperly can damage the car's electronics, and getting them repaired will be a costly affair.
So how do I disconnect the car battery? Well, there is a step-by-step approach that professional mechanics use when removing car batteries. And in this article, you'll find the right approach to disconnect the negative and positive terminals like a pro.
Whether you are looking for general maintenance or want to install a new battery, you can do it easily following the below-mentioned steps.
Steps to Disconnect a Car Battery
The process contains seven steps that'll help you disconnect and remove the battery safely without any professional help
Step 1: Switch Off the Ignition and Wear Safety Gloves
Before you open the hood and get your hands on the battery terminals, it would be great to turn off the ignition. Also, leaving the driver's door open will prevent it from locking if you own a vehicle with the automatic door lock.
Make sure to put on safety glasses and goggles as the battery is capable of releasing harmful fumes that can cause several irritations. Moreover, you should have the car owner's manual handy to know more about the technicalities of your vehicle.
Step 2: Open the Hood
After turning off the ignition, and putting on the safety gear, pull the hood lever. It should be located somewhere around the steering; in most cases, the cars have it near the pedals. Pull the lever, and you'll hear a thud sound of the lock releasing the hood.
Open the hood, pull the hood support strut, and follow the next step.
Step 3: Find the Battery
Locating the car battery is not a task since it's big and easily visible as you open the hood. In most cases, the car batteries have a black cover that safeguards the battery's components from any damages.
Remove this cover carefully, and inspect the terminals. Look for the positive and negative terminals, and then proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Disconnect the Negative Terminal
The biggest mistake car owners make is not reading the owner's manual, and they disconnect the positive terminal first, which can cause several damages to the car's electronics.
Always remove the negative terminal first to reduce the risks of sparks when removing the battery cables. Use a wrench to loosen the nut, once it is loosened, remove the nut using your hand.
If you are finding it hard to remove the nut, use WD-40. The nuts get corroded after some time, so using a lubricant will be a good idea.
Step 5: Disconnect the Positive Terminal
After removing the negative battery cable, it's time to remove the positive terminal and the positive cable as well. Follow the same process, and use a wrench to loosen the nut.
Make sure the positive cable does not come in contact with the negative terminal as it can cause an explosion, or the car's battery may die.
Step 6: Find the Battery Bracket
There's a bracket or battery tray in every car where the battery sits, you need to locate the battery bracket in order to remove the car's battery.
Remove the plastic caps from the bolt, and then loosen them using a socket wrench. Once done, you can pull the battery out of the car. Ask someone to help you out, as some batteries are heavy, and there's a chance you may end up damaging the battery terminal or engine's components.
Step 7: Install a New Battery
Once you have the existing battery out of the car, you can install a new one. Follow the same process you did while removing the car battery to put the new battery in place. If you are unsure about which battery will fit your car, visit the local auto parts store to get the right battery.
Connect the positive terminal with the positive cable first, and then follow the same process for the negative terminal and negative cable. Place all plastic caps that you removed when disconnecting the battery, and close the hood once done.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Disconnecting a Car Battery
Removing a car battery involves several risks, such as the battery terminals may spark, or you may encounter fumes. Here are some safety tips you should keep in mind when looking to disconnect a car battery.
Always Wear Protective Gear
Disconnecting the car battery or touching the terminals with bare hands means inviting several health hazards. It is indispensable to wear proper protective gear, including safety gloves and glasses.
Perform the Process in an Open Area
As aforementioned, the car's battery may release harmful fumes, so you should perform the battery removal process in the open. Look for any open space near your garage, so you don't have to run here and there to get the tools.
Be Gentle When Removing the Cables
Just like any other component, the cables are prone to damages. Be gentle when disconnecting the cables attached to the terminals. Pull the positive battery terminal and then the negative battery terminal, ensuring the cables don't get cracked or damaged.
How to Clean the Car's Battery Terminals
If you are looking to use the existing battery since it's isn't that old, you should clean its terminals. Here's what you need to clean the terminals properly.
- Petroleum jelly
- Cleaning cloth
- Baking soda
Step 1: Add one tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of water and mix it well.
Step 2: Dip the toothbrush in the solution and rub the battery terminals. Make sure to clean the dust and dirt clinging on the terminals to make sure the battery offers enough current to the ignition system.
Step 3: Use a corrosion-resistant spray to make sure the car battery terminals do not catch rust again. WD-40 is a good option, but there are some other good rust reformers available in the market you can use for this task.
Step 4: Lastly, you should apply some petroleum jelly on the terminals to keep them well lubricated. Also, using petroleum jelly helps you mount the terminals quickly, and you won't experience any issues in removing them again when trying to disconnect a car battery or the battery cables.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I hire a professional buy to get the battery removed?
A: No, there is no need to hire any professional as you can quickly disconnect the battery and remove it yourself following this detailed guide. However, having anyone around while you follow this process will make things easier, as you'll get some help in removing the battery.
Q: What happens if you remove the positive terminal first?
A: Removing it can lead to an explosion if the terminal touch the negative side of the battery. Always remove the negative terminal cable before touching the positive one.
Q: Can I charge the battery after disconnecting it?
A: Yes, you can charge a battery after disconnecting and removing it. Here's a video you should check on how to charge the battery without damaging it.
Q: Should I disconnect the battery if parking a car for a long time?
A: Yes, you should disconnect it if parking the car for a longer period. Follow this guide to disconnect the battery properly, and keep it protected.
Disconnecting a car battery is a critical process and requires you to follow the right approach. With this detailed guide, you can disconnect any vehicle battery quickly without damaging the terminals and the car's electronics.
Do follow these steps every time you plan to leave the vehicle parked for a longer duration, or you want to replace an old battery that does not hold its charge well.