6 Mistakes to Avoid When Replacing Your Car Battery

Car batteries have a typical lifespan of three to five years.

However, your accumulator’s lifespan can be shorter or longer depending on the weather conditions, your electronic demands, and your driving habits.

Whether your car battery already falls between this life cycle or not, there will be signs that indicate you need to replace it immediately.

The signs that show you need to invest in a battery replacement service as soon as possible include the following:

  • Slow starting engine
  • Dim lights
  • Electrical power loss
  • Blinking battery or engine warning light
  • Low battery fluid level
  • Misshapen or swollen battery case

Ignoring these signs is the first battery replacement mistake you have to avoid.

When you wait until the accumulator gets closer to dying, your car will become less reliable and more unsafe. Over time, it won’t be able to start and power your engine, forcing you to jumpstart your vehicle to get it running.

As such, when you notice these signs of a faulty battery, have a technician check it and if they recommend replacing it, heed their advice.

What to Avoid When Replacing Your Old Car Battery

replacing your car battery
Image credit: Pexels

Aside from ignoring the common signs your battery is dying, ensure you avoid these mistakes when it comes to replacing it:

1. Buying the wrong battery.

    1. Car batteries require a significant amount of investment. As such, the last thing you want to happen is to buy one that won’t work in your vehicle.
    2. When buying a new car battery, there are a few factors you must look into. These include its size and terminal placement.
    3. Check your car owner’s manual for the specific size of your vehicle’s battery. Buying one that’s too small or large won’t fit into the terminal, making your purchase a waste of money.
    4. Terminal placement ensures the battery connects to the rest of your car system and powers it correctly. When your new accumulator doesn’t fit properly, your vehicle won’t start.
    5. When you don’t consider these factors, your battery can cause your vehicle to have dimmer lights and difficulty powering the engine and other accessories. It can also end up frying your car’s electrical system and onboard computer if it has one.
    6. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, check your old battery to find out what class you should buy. If you can’t read it, ask a mechanic for help.

2. Purchasing a cheap battery.

    1. Buying the cheapest accumulator can cause you a lot of problems.
    2. Shoddy alternators are usually made of low-quality wires, cables, metal, and other components. These parts tend to wear out and break down faster than those in higher-quality batteries.
    3. Additionally, low-quality batteries have low-grade casings, making them more susceptible to leaking. They can also damage your car alternator, another critical and expensive automotive part.
    4. Lastly, these batteries are likely to have a shorter lifespan due to their shoddy materials and make.
    5. Because of this, it is best to study your options and avoid buying the cheapest battery you can find.
    6. However, this doesn’t mean you should buy the most expensive battery on the market. Look for one with the specifications and features that can help your vehicle perform optimally.

3. Failing to check battery specifications.

    1. Although you may be in a hurry to buy a new battery for your car, take the time to check the specs of the new one you want to buy.
    2. Failing to do so can cause you to get one that won’t give you the best value for your money or even damage your car.
    3. Aside from the size and terminal placement, check the battery voltage, power capacity and warranty period.
    4. In general, the higher the battery energy output, the better its performance. Its lifespan is usually longer as well.
    5. Additionally, choose an accumulator with the same power output capacity as the original one. Doing so ensures the battery will be compatible with your car.
    6. Also, check if the battery has reverse polarity protection. This feature can help protect your vehicle from electrocution.
    7. Lastly, ensure the accumulator has a warranty with a period and coverage you are happy with. If it does not meet your expectations, look for another product.

4. Disconnecting the battery from the terminal incorrectly.

    1. Removing and installing a car accumulator is a meticulous job that it shouldn’t be attempted by an amateur, DIYer or a fledgling mechanic.
      If you have no experience or training in removing and installing a car battery, you might end up hurting yourself.
    2. Trained technicians typically start the battery removal process by disconnecting the clamp on the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal.
    3. Disconnecting the clamp from the positive terminal first can cause contact among the bonnet’s metal parts. This increases the risk of electrocution.
    4. However, removing the clamp from the negative terminal first neutralises the circuit, thereby reducing the chances of an electric shock occurring.

5. Failing to clean the cable clamps.

    1. Another crucial part of the car battery replacement process is cleaning the cable clamps, which many car owners do not know about.
    2. Trained technicians know the importance of cleaning the cable clamps and inspecting them for corrosion whenever they have to replace an old car battery.
    3. This is because corroded clamps can reduce the power the battery transmits to the different vehicular components. As such, this part has to be cleaned regularly.
    4. When dirty, rusty clamps are attached to a new battery, the dirt and corrosion can spread to the terminals, which can cause transmission issues and other problems.
    5. Automotive technicians also apply lubricant on the clamps to protect them from corrosion.

6. Electrolyte solution spills and leaks.

    1. Car batteries use electrolyte solutions to produce energy. This liquid, which is a mixture of sulphuric acid and water, is highly corrosive.
    2. This means you have to be careful in handling the accumulator to prevent the electrolyte from spilling and leaking.
    3. If you’re not careful with handling the old battery when you remove it, the electrolyte might spill on the battery tray. When you put the new accumulator over the spilt solution, it will corrode the new cell’s shell, causing it to leak over time.
    4. If you want to prevent electrolyte spillage when your battery needs to be replaced, leave the job to expert technicians who are trained in removing, installing and handling old and new accumulators correctly.

Your car won’t work without a battery, which is why you need to replace it immediately when it isn’t working properly.

And to ensure the new battery is installed correctly and safely, let trained technicians handle the entire process for you.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.