Typically service of life (car battery life) for wet cell lead-acid car batteries about 4 to 5 years, and in hot climate area sometimes have less limited service life about 3 years. When end of life service life of battery has been reached, in some case on cold weather the battery won’t provide enough cranking amps to start the engine, or it won’t hold or accept a charge anymore. When battery has 5 to 7 years old, most of them need to be replaced.
No warning will be given and the battery may fail suddenly when an internal cell plate on battery breaks loose from the connector grid or it shorts out. Mishandling and severe vibration is most cause this problem occurs.
Battery can be damaged if severe or prolonged overcharging because it can boil the electrolyte inside the cell.
Test the battery to see it is good or bad if the battery is won’t hold a charge very long, getting weak or keeps running downs.
You need a new battery if the test result is bad. And if the test result telling you it is good, could be the battery is running down due the key-off battery drain or the charging system problem.
Choosing The Car Battery Replacement.
You need to know and remember this:
If you want replace the battery, make sure the CCA (Cold Crank Amps) battery replacement should same or higher with the CCA original battery. Most vehicles use battery with a 600 CCA rating. Choose battery with higher CCA rating if you are worried about a reliable cold weather starting due lives in a cold climate.
If you want replace your original battery, choose and use battery with same Group Size as replacement.
Group size is the battery height, width and length (dimensions of the battery) and side post, top post and location of the negative and positive posts on the battery (post configuration). If the replacement is not fit compartment the battery tray in your vehicle, it mean the battery is wrong size.
Choose at least the battery had same type or better it’s original for battery replacement. It could be a battery with conventional wet cell lead-acid for most automotive applications.
Battery with conventional wet cell that contains no liquid as upgrade option is Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), it’s compared to ordinary batteries are generally longer than lasts several years, spill proof and more resistant to vibration damage.
RV battery or marine deep cycle battery may be could be another option for replacing the muscle car or older classic car that stored over the winter or driven infrequently.
Instead of AGM battery or a conventional battery, another upgrade would be good using lightweight and compact lithium ion battery for high performance or racing applications. Compared to other batteries, lithium ion batteries is very expensive, however it can save space and weight by packing a lot of power into a smaller box.
If AGM battery originally installed on hybrid vehicle or on late model vehicle that has an idle stop-start system, if you plan replacing the battery, make sure the replacement is also AGM battery. Do not replace the AGM battery with less expensive battery with conventional wet cell lead-acid.
Longer warranty (48, 60, 72 or 84 months) usually comes with more expensive “premium” battery, also it will outperform and outlast a cheap battery.
Before You Replace Your Battery
If you old battery still has a power and your vehicle less than 12 years old, do not disconnect battery until you have attached to the vehicle’s electrical system a backup power supply or a battery saver.
Learned memory in various system modules could be loss if battery is disconnected on late model vehicle. While the battery being replaced, the electrical system voltage must be maintained, if not some modules will not work or function normally after new battery has been installed, to make the modules work normally, it require special relearn or reset procedures.
It’s less essential but still and good idea when you are using a backup power supply or battery saver although your vehicle is more than 12 years old. Replacing the battery and disconnect the battery can causing saved clock and radio setting will be lost, also the PCM learned fuel trim and idle system will be deleted if you are not maintained the voltage to the electrical system by providing a backup power supply. However, when the engine is restarted and car being driven, the PCM will reset quickly and start to relearn the idle settings and fuel trim. And you need to reset manually the clock and radio settings.
There no need to provide a backup power supply or battery saver while changing the battery if your battery is completely dead (no power) or the vehicle have an older pre-computer car. No learned settings or modules available on older cars, so there won’t be any learned settings to save if battery on newer vehicle is completely discharged.
Removing A Car Battery
Mark the polarity on the positive cable and note the location of the positive battery terminal before removing the old battery. So when you install new battery, it will prevent installed in reversed position.
Loosening the screws on the cables clamps to disconnect the battery terminals cables. Before removing the positive cables, you need to remove the negative cable first.
In order for the battery to be kept safe and secure, the battery is held with a metal strap, and the hold-down strap must be removed. However to hold the battery in place some of them use base clamp. So you need to loosen the bolt to remove the battery.
To protect your hand from corrosive residue on the battery or any battery acid, put nitrile moisture proof gloves or a pair of latex before battery removed out of the vehicle. Battery acid can causing an injury and painful burns, so using your bare hands it’s not good idea when you change the battery. Use a baking soda to neutralize or flush/wash your hand with a lot water of you do get the battery acid on your hands.
Lifting it up and out is the way to remove the battery from the battery compartment or the battery tray. Lifting the battery is more easier when the battery so not have strap on top, to lift it out and grasp the battery you can use a battery carrying tool.
Make sure the battery is not upset or tilted and keep the battery upright, if battery upset or tilted can cause the battery acid may spill out of the caps or vents on top. AGM batteries do not have liquid inside to spill, so it is not a concern with AGM battery.
The conditions of tray under the battery should be inspected. If your tray is steel and the inspection tell the tray is badly corroded, then you need to replace it. However if the tray is a plastic, you don’t need to worry about, it is the best if the battery trays made by plastic material, because they won’t corrode or rush. The battery tray should capable of supporting the weight of the battery and firmly attached.
There a clamps on the ends of the battery cables, it need to be inspected and cleaned. If the cables is damaged, severely corroded or they are loose, replace it. To assure adequate amp flow for charging and starting the proper gauge wire inside is needed, so make sure to choose a good quality replacement cables.
How To Install A Car Battery (New Battery Installation)
Use digital voltmeter to test the battery charge level. It needs to be done before installing a new battery.
The test result should read 12.6 to 12.7 volts for battery with condition fully charged. If the battery have a low voltage, DO NOT install the battery in your vehicle, you need to charge the battery first until it fully charged. Factory send the battery to the market with pre-charged, however if it sit on store shelf for many months, the charge will slowly loose.
To secure the battery after you placing the battery on the tray, you need to install and tighten the battery strap or the base clamp. The strap or the base clamp will prevent the battery bouncing while you are driving. The battery can damage quickly when it gets excessive vibration, possibly positive cables or positive post contact with any metal on vehicle if the battery move around, and it can cause the battery shorting out.
The cleaning tool of battery post can be used to clean up the inside clamps (both surface) and the battery post. If you want a good electrical contact, you should make the surface is clean, bright and nice. There will be a charging and starting problems if surface is not clean due the resistance of the attached object, even it only a tiny film of oxide.
Install the negative battery AFTER the positive has been installed. Do not damage the clamps by over tighten it, the clamps should be tighten with careful.
Protect the posts and clamps from corrosion and moisture by coated thin the chassis grease. You can also install on each post the felt anti-corrosion washers before installing the battery cables. It will prevent the corrosion.
It’s done, now try to check again and make sure all has been installed properly, check the strap and clamps hold down and secure the battery, inspect the cables of battery is tight and clean, don’t forget to check all connections. Also check the battery deliver the power normally to starter motor by start the engine.
If there an issue just like the engine won’t crank, check both battery cables and try to re-tighten and clean up both cables. Other end side of cables that connect to wiring harness or chassis ground or the power center also need to be checked and make sure all of it are tight and clean. If this way do not solve the issue and the engine still won’t crank, you need to inspect and diagnosis the starter circuit problem.
Recycle Old Battery
Old car batteries need to be recycled, and to encourage people some car battery store apply a core fee. The amount of core fees varies between $10 and $15. When you return your old battery to the original car battery store, then you will get your core fee will be refunded.