How to Safely Remove a Car Battery (Step-by-Step)

(Updated on June 13, 2022)

Modern vehicles have so many electrical devices built into them. The alternator is what keeps these devices powered while the vehicle is in operation. But it is the battery that supplies power to the starter motor which gets the vehicle running in the first place.

The battery also manages the electrical devices after you turn off the engine. For instance, the clock on your dashboard is always on because of the battery power it receives. And if you wanted to turn on the headlights, radio, or passenger cabin light, you can do so without turning on the engine because of the battery. Therefore, the battery is a vital component of any vehicle.

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Car batteries don’t last forever, so when it comes time to replace your battery, you will be required to remove it from your car.  The average car battery has a lifespan of anywhere from 2 to 5 years. It really depends on a number of factors including how often you drive your vehicle and the climate of your geographical location.

Once you’re ready to actually remove the battery, it is not that difficult at all. In fact, you don’t even need to be an automotive expert to remove a battery. If you’re knowledgeable enough to change a tire on your car, then you’ll have the cognitive ability to change a car battery too.

Related: 5 Things That Drain a Car Battery

How to Remove a Car Battery

bad car battery

Car batteries are far more powerful than any ordinary battery you have ever handled before. There is a plethora of acid and electrical power flowing inside of a car battery. That is why you must be careful and diligent when you handle it.

But before you remove the battery from your vehicle, you need to gather the right equipment first.

Here are the recommended tools for the battery removal process:

  • Two Adjustable Wrenches (or correct size open end wrenches)
  • Safety glasses
  • Zip ties
  • Work gloves with insulation

Have the car parked outside. There are gases which emit from the car battery and you don’t want to trap them in someplace like your garage.

Here are the steps of removing the battery:

1) Open the Hood

Open the hood of the vehicle and secure it with the bar so that it stays open. Locate the car battery and its terminals. If you’ve ever jump started your car or charged its battery, you’ll recognize them immediately.

You will want to focus on the negative terminal in this step. It usually has a black cover on it with a “minus” sign to indicate it’s the negative terminal.

2) Disconnect Negative Cable

The top of the terminal should have a bold head with a nut underneath. Take one of the wrenches and secure it on the bolt head. Take the other wrench and use it to loosen the nut until you can remove it.

The negative cable is now unsecured, so you need to take it out and move it to the side of the engine. Use a zip tie to secure it there for the time being.

3) Disconnect Positive Cable

Now you need to remove the positive terminal in a similar way. One wrench goes on the bolt head and the other is used to remove the nut. Remove the positive cable afterward and secure it on the side with another zip tie.

Make sure you keep the cables away from each other. If they were to touch, your vehicle’s electrical components could get damaged from the residual current of the positive cable. For the same reason, you must ensure the positive cable doesn’t touch anything that is metal.

4) Remove Holding Bracket

In almost all vehicles, the battery is stored inside of a securing bracket to prevent the battery from moving around. If this is the case with your car, this bracket first needs to be removed.

A wrench can easily loosen the connectors of the bracket so that you can remove it. In some cases, you may need a ratchet with correct sized socket or even an extension bar. Once the bracket is removed, then comes the removal of the battery.

5) Lift Out the Battery

old battery

Put on your gloves and safety glasses if you haven’t done so already. Grab the battery with a firm grip on each side and then lift it out of its location. Car batteries are heavy, so use good form and be prepared to use a lot of strength.

Batteries in larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs can easily weigh 50 pounds or more.

That’s it! The battery is removed. When you go to purchase a new battery at the auto parts store, you can give them your old battery to be credited as a “core charge” and they will safely discard it.

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