Get your motor running with a new car battery

With technology, automobiles have changed so much over the years that most people feel too intimated or don't have the right equipment to work on their own cars. But when it comes time to replace a car battery, you might want to consider doing it yourself for three reasons. No. 1: It's a simple project. No. 2: It doesn't take a lot of time. And No. 3: You don't need any fancy-schmancy tools.

Before you pull your engine apart, be certain that a dead battery is the cause of the problem. To know for sure that the battery's dead, turn on the interior car light. If it's shining brightly as usual, it's not the battery; if the light isn't as bright or it fades as you turn the key to start the car, you have the culprit.

What you'll need to have handy

new battery

Before you round up all the materials you'll need to replace the battery, choose a new battery for your car. Repuesto baterías para autos abound, but do your research to find the best for your battery buck.

Once you have a new battery, get out your toolbox. You'll need an adjustable wrench. Since batteries are filled with corrosive acid, throw on some work clothes and slip on some gloves. Wear safety glasses, too. Also, be ready to keep a firm grip: batteries are heavy. If you can't lift up to fifty pounds, you'll need to ask someone for help.

Scour the kitchen shelves or pantry for baking soda. You won't use a lot; one-fourth of a cup should do the trick. You'll need a stiff-bristled brush, too. An old toothbrush will work; just remember to throw it away when you're done! Fill a cup with water, and grab a few utility cloths. Now you're ready to head out to the car.

Safety first

While it's usually best not to think negative, you definitely want to think negative when removing a car battery. If you don't, you could be shocked or burned. Use the adjustable wrench to remove the negative cable from the negative post, which is either black or marked with the negative symbol (-). Then remove the cable from the positive post, which is either red or marked with the positive symbol (+). If chalk-like corrosion is on the battery, you'll need to use a little bit of elbow grease to get the job done.

Replacing your battery

Remove the clamp or bolt that is holding the battery in place. Be sure not to drop the clamp or bolt; fishing it out will not be fun. Remove the battery. Check the tray that was under the battery. If you notice corrosion on it, you need to clean it. Sprinkle some baking soda on it, wet the toothbrush and scrub away. Rinse the tray with water, and dry it with a utility cloth. Remember to throw the cloth away, too. Place the new battery on the tray.

Now you can think positive. First, connect the positive battery cable to the positive post on the battery. Then connect the negative cable to the negative post. Tighten the bolt or clamp to hold the battery in place. Take care not to over-tighten the bolt or clamp. That will damage the battery.

Don't forget to recycle the battery

With all of the corrosive acid in your car's battery, you can't toss it in the trash. Contact your local recycling office to find out how to recycle the battery. Car battery replacement is easier than you think, as long as you follow some simple steps for safety. And remember, if you're not up to replacing your car battery yourself, you can always find a reliable retailer to do the job for you.

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