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Change the car battery yourself: A simple guide

Bad car batteries are the number one cause of car breakdowns. If you can change the accumulator yourself, you save time and money. We will show you what you have to consider.

Buying a car battery: this is important

If you buy a new car battery, make sure that it has the same properties as the old one: the dimensions (height, width, length) of the accumulators must be identical, as well as volts (V), ampere-hours (Ah) and cold start current (Amp).

Instructions: How to change the battery yourself

Needed tools: Wrench

Security advice: Car batteries contain corrosive acid that can leak if it is defective. Therefore wear acid-proof gloves to avoid injuries.

  1. Disconnect all electrical devices from the power supply. This also includes air conditioning, heated seats and a cigarette lighter.
  2. Open the hood and remove the cover over the battery. Note: The car battery is not installed under the bonnet of all vehicles. Take a look at the owner's manual to see where it can be found in your vehicle.
  3. Loosen the fastening nuts on the earth terminal and remove the black cable from the negative pole.Important: The minus terminal must not touch the plus pole.
  4. Then loosen the screws on the positive terminal and remove the red cable.
  5. Loosen the screws of the battery holder and detach the holder. Danger: Car batteries can be very heavy.
  6. Do not throw the old car battery in the trash. You can bring used batteries to a recycling center, where the hazardous waste can be properly disposed of. Petrol stations and car repair shops often accept old power storage units. Dealers who sell batteries must also accept disused copies of the models sold.

Danger: If you bring an old battery to the recycling center, for example, ensure that it is safely stored during transport. If the battery should tip over or fall, corrosive and harmful acid can escape.

Install a new car battery

  1. Insert the new battery and screw it to the body. Be careful not to pinch any cables or hoses.
  2. Then attach the cables to the new battery. First connect the red cable to the positive pole and then the black cable to the negative pole. Important: You should absolutely adhere to this order. Otherwise sparks or a short circuit could result.
  3. Apply some pole grease to the poles. This prevents corrosion.
  4. Screw the battery back on and attach the battery holder.

When to change the car battery

The performance of a car battery deteriorates over time. Frequent driving short distances can significantly shorten the life of the battery. After about four to six years the battery will be weak and should be replaced.

Battery change: when it is a case for the specialist

In modern cars, for example with automatic start-stop or with battery management systems, the change is usually a case for professionals, explains Tüv Süd. Because the new battery must then be entered in the control unit and adapted to the on-board electronics. That makes diagnostic equipment and corresponding knowledge necessary.

In the workshop, a backup battery also supplies the system with energy during the change. Otherwise, an interruption of the circuit could result in data loss in control units and in the multimedia system.

Radio and power windows, for example, may then have to be reprogrammed. With cars from the 1990s such as a Golf IV, changing on your own is usually unproblematic, according to Tüv Süd.