There are many reasons why a car battery is always taken out of the car. Some of these reasons are when the battery needs to be recharged or repaired by the owner of that particular car. At most times, the battery is replaced with a different one or is uninstalled from the vehicle. The functionality and the span of a car battery are dependent on the wellness of its terminals.
The car battery terminals are the essential components in its make. Connecting the terminals rightly assures that the engine will function adequately with the optimum efficiency, which lengthens the life span of that battery. To ensure that the battery is reconnected correctly, ensure that the connection is made securely and the terminals are clean to increase the lifespan of the car battery. This article can help you understand the best way to reconnect your car battery safely using these steps:
Steps on how to reconnect a car battery
The following are the steps of reconnecting a car battery;
1. Clean and inspect the connections
a. Protect eyes and wear gloves
It is crucial to protect your eyes when reinstalling a car battery into the car. Any mistake made might make the battery overheat and then explode, causing injuries or even accidents at some times. Most of these incidents occur due to interchanging of the positive and negative cables accidentally. When a car battery explodes, water and other chemicals are splashed everywhere, reaching your eyes. It’s recommended to use latex gloves as they offer maximum protection to your hands if the battery is leaking any acid or bursts when reconnecting. Likewise, you can use mechanic gloves to protect you from any pinches or scratches. You can use traditional safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
b. Removing keys from the ignition
Ensure that no appliances or electronics are running when reconnecting the battery power. It helps to reduce damages that can result from power surges. Turn off the ignition of the car if the keys are in and remove them safely. The possibility of the inserted key switching the door chime is reduced.
c. Use baking soda and water
Use baking soda plus water to clean all posts of a car battery terminal. Cleaning the car battery’s terminals helps to remove any rust (corrosion) before fixing the battery back into the car. Use a wire brush soaked in baking containing water to remove the battery corrosion from the terminals. Old oil and rust can be removed by scrubbing the terminals using this mixture. 100 grit sandpaper can also clean these terminals when you don’t have the baking soda. After cleaning the terminals, use a damp rag to remove the baking soda that remains on the terminals after cleaning.
d. Clean the ends of car battery cables
Ensure that you clean the battery cables to remove waste such as dust. Again, a mixture of water and baking soda is used to clean the wires. Cleaning the cables ensures that they can reconnect safely between the metal plates to let a good flow of current for the car’s functionalities. Paint the covers of the wire connectors to ensure safety and that connections are free of any waste. Also, don’t forget to clean the remains of baking soda from the cables.
e. Apply anti-corrosion material on cables and posts of the car battery
Different creams are electrically conductive and can be used in the prevention of corrosion. You can get corrosion prevention creams at the local auto parts stores. The cream is applied at the positive and the negative terminals of the battery. Again, it would be best if you also used the wire connectors that come from the car. Wipe off the excess cream after you are done with the application.
f. Check cracks in the cables
There are only two cables that connect to the battery. Ensure that you inspect the cable to check any cracks or damage and replace the damaged wires.
2. Securement of the battery
a) Replace the cable when it shows signs of cracking or damage
When replacing the positive cable, ensure that you use a sized socket with a socket to remove the nut that secures the cable at the top of the alternator. Next, remove the wire at the end of the cable from the nut. Removing the negative cable is done simultaneously, but the bolt is removed when holding the negative cable to the car’s body in place. After that, swap the new wire in place and screw the bolt back in.
The cables to be replaced are purchased in the nearby auto parts shop. However, if there is no damaged cable, skip this step.
b) Locate the battery tray
The tray is found toward the front of the engine bay and behind the vehicles’ headlights. However, there are other vehicles where the battery is placed at the truck for a better distribution of weight. If you can’t locate the battery in your car, refer to the car owner’s user guide for clarity.
c) Introduce the battery correctly by matching the cables to the terminals
In some car batteries, you may find that the terminals are close to the edge of the car battery. There is a positive cable and a negative cable. The positive terminal comes from one side of the engine bay, while the negative terminal comes from the other side. During the orientation, the positive terminal should be on the same side as the positive cable while the negative terminal with the negative cable.
d) Lower the battery in position using both hands
As you lower the battery, ensure that you hold the battery from the sides when you are careful not to pinch your fingers since the battery has a lot of weight. The tray should be empty when lowering the battery into it. Ensure that the cables do not get in the way by tucking them off to the side.
e) Fix the battery hold-down
The battery hold-down is different in different car models. Some have a metal hook that you can loosen and tighten using your hands, while others have a metal or a rubber strap. Take the buckle or the belt and secure the battery in place.
3. Battery terminals connections
a) Insert the positive cable into the positive terminal of the battery
After sliding the cable, use your hands to press the connector onto the terminal until it flatly lies against the battery. If it fails to lie flat, use a wrench to loosen the bolt on the connector and finally try again.
b) Tighten the cable into the post using a wrench
When the positive cable is attached to the terminal, you need to tighten it not to vibrate and slip off when the car is moving. Then, rotate the bolt clockwise using the wrench or socket.
c) Connect the negative cable with the negative battery post and tighten
Install the negative cable into the negative post using the same method used to install the negative terminal. Ensure that you tighten the wire using a wrench to avoid slipping off due to vibration when the car is moving. When the cables cannot reach the appropriate terminals, a wrong orientation has been done to the battery. Tighten the connection at the battery terminals when you notice some movements after wiggling.
d) Start the car
After connecting the battery, you should see a dome light when you open the driver’s side door. Finally, start the car to ensure that the battery is connected correctly.
Finally, it is crucial to consider connecting and disconnecting the battery terminals when reconnecting or replacing the car battery. It would be best first to join the positive terminal to the positive post then the negative terminal. In the same way, during the disconnection process, the negative terminal should lead then the positive terminal.
I hope this article has helped you gain the skills required to reconnect the car battery. However, if you find any trouble reconnecting the car battery, you should refer to the user manual for further guidance.