How easy is fitting a car battery? I want to buy one online before winter

fitting a car battery

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.

Park safely

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.

Stay safe

A battery has corrosive acid in it. We’d advise you wear old clothes and if possible disposable gloves and safety goggles.

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.

fitting a car battery
If this light is staying on, you probably need a new battery. Ensure ignition is switched off before fiddling with the battery

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.