AUTOMOTIVE BATTERIES

8. HOW DO I INSTALL A BATTERY?

In a recent marketing study in the U.S., non-professional battery installers installed almost 60% of the approximately 82 million aftermarket batteries that were made in 1999. Car batteries were the fourth most popular item purchased among auto parts. The same study indicated that Wal-Mart (EverStart) has surpassed Sears (DieHard) as the number one battery seller in the United States with Auto Zone (DuraLast) as the most popular of the auto parts stores for batteries.

A car battery weights between 30 and 60 pounds (13.6 and 27.3 Kg), so the first question is, "Do I want to install it myself?" The second question is what do I do with the old battery if not exchanged for the new one? Insure that you have your radio and security codes before disconnecting the old battery. A second battery can be temporarily connected to the electrical system in parallel before disconnecting the first one. If active when the key is off, a cigarette lighter plug can be used to easily connect a parallel battery.

8.1. Thoroughly wash and clean the old battery, battery terminals and case or tray with warm water to minimize problems from acid or corrosion. Heavy corrosion can be neutralized with a mixture of one pound of baking soda to one gallon of warm water. Wear safety goggles and, using a stiff brush, brush away from yourself. Also, mark the cables so you do not forget which one to reconnect.

8.2. Remove the NEGATIVE cable first because this will minimize the possibility of shorting the battery when you remove the other cable. It is probably a good idea to secure the cable out of the way so that it does not make any unwanted contact. Next, remove the POSITIVE cable and then the hold-down bracket or clamp. If the hold down bracket is severely corroded, replace it. Dispose of the old battery by exchanging it when you buy your new one or by taking it to a recycling center. According to BCI, over 96% of the old battery lead is recycled, making batteries the most completely recycled object of all recycled items. Please remember that batteries contain large amounts of harmful lead and acid, so take great care with safety and please dispose of your old battery properly to protect our fragile environment.


[Source: BCI]


[Source: BCI]

8.3. After removing the old battery, insure that the battery tray, cable terminals, and connectors are clean. Auto parts stores sell an inexpensive wire brush that will clean the inside of terminal clamps and the terminals. If the terminals, cables or hold down brackets are severely corroded, replace them. Corroded terminals or swollen cables will significantly reduce your starting capability because of their inability to carry the high current.

8.4. For SAE type terminals, use paraffin oil-soaked felt washer pads found at auto parts stores or thinly coat the terminal, terminal clamps and exposed metal around the battery with a high temperature grease or petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline) to prevent corrosion. Do not use the felt or metal washers between the mating conductive surfaces with General Motors-type side terminal batteries.

8.5. Check the positive and negative terminal markings on the replacement battery and place it so that the NEGATIVE cable will connect to the NEGATIVE terminal. Reversing the polarity of the electrical system will severely damage or DESTROY it. It can even cause the battery to explode.

8.6. After replacing the hold-down bracket, reconnect the cables in reverse order, that is, attach the POSITIVE cable first and the NEGATIVE cable last. For General Motors-type side terminals, check the length of the bolt. Do NOT over tighten, or you could crack the battery case.

8.7. Before using the battery, check the electrolyte levels and add distilled water to cover the plates. Check the state-of-charge and recharge if necessary. Then recheck the electrolyte levels after the battery has cooled and top off with distilled water as required, but do not overfill.


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