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For your vehicle to perform optimally, the car batteries are as crucial as the engine. Once they become faulty, the best and only thing to do is replace them. But what does it take to replace, how can you replace a damaged battery, and how long does it take to do it?  

How long does a car battery replacement take? On average, you can complete replacing your car battery in 30 minutes or less. The compatibility of the battery, your knowledge and skills in replacing a battery, and the availability of tools are some things to consider.

How long does a car battery replacement take? The simple answer is that many things determine the duration it will take to replace a dead battery. Regardless, knowing how to replace a battery and how long it takes is essential to owning vehicles. This way, you can reduce your spending on vehicle care centers.

In this article, we’ll look at the following:

  • Signs to suspect that the vehicle batteries are nearing their end
  • Steps to change car batteries
  • Frequently asked questions

How to Know If Car Battery Needs To Be Replaced

You must be on the lookout for these signs of failing car battery when they pop up. First off, you should carry out a diagnosis to be sure it’s a bad battery that needs replacement. However, any of these signs could indicate that you need a new car battery.

Engine Cranks but Doesn’t Start

A dead or discharged battery is one of the foremost culprits if your car engine cranks but won’t run or start. It doesn’t matter whether you use the crank handle or power windows. The engine will crank but won’t be able to produce a spark or cause compression. The clamps may also be corroded or loose. The electrical system wires may also have become bad. When you have any of these signs in your hand, the best thing to do may be to change the battery. Do not assume that a non-starting engine cranking is caused by a starter or ignition problem. 

Corroded Connectors

Corrosion or rust is a major sign that your car battery needs to be changed. The positive or negative terminal of the battery can get corroded. In this instance, you’ll notice a white, ashy substance (sulfation) on the negative terminal and a greenish-blue substance on the positive end, depending on the material of the clamp. In either case, it may mean that the battery has overcharged. If the corrosion persists, it may be the proper time to change the battery. These connectors can cause voltage issues in the vehicle.

Check Engine Light is On

When the check engine light illuminates, it indicates a lot of things. As a matter of fact, it can mean just about anything. When your car battery is seriously damaged, the check engine light may come on. Before you conclude whether you need to replace a car battery, inspect and get the battery tested for a possible low charge level and capacity. If the testing shows that the battery isn’t charging or working fully, you will need to change it.    

Gas Leakage

Another sign that your car battery may need replacement is gas leakage. Gas functions optimally if there is a proper chemical reaction in the battery. However, the gas may produce the smell of rotten eggs. When this happens, you might need to change the battery. It’s worth mentioning that gas leakage can be a sign of some mechanical or hydraulic problems. Be sure what the issue is before blaming the battery.   

How to Replace a Car Battery

Like many other vehicle components, a car battery will need to be replaced. This may be due to age, prolonged use, overcharge, or poor driving conditions, such as extreme temperatures. Replacing car batteries requires careful consideration but minimal cost. Although special skills may not be required, you’ll need to follow the right tools to change a car battery. Also, follow the manual to do a great job.

Supplies needed:

  • Socket wrench (10-mm and 13-mm)
  • Protective gear (a pair of goggles and gloves)
  • Dielectric lube
  • Rust remover or fine-grit sandpaper
  • Replacement battery or batteries   

Check Out How to Change a Car Battery | DIY Car Repairs | the Home Depot

Steps to Replace a Car Battery

Step 1: Pull over in a safe place

Drive and pull over on the level ground in a safe place. Put the gear pedal in parking mode and turn off the car. Remove the ignition key to keep electric power from getting out and into the battery.  

Step 2: Wear safety gear

Once you have safely parked the car and securely engaged the gear pedal. Put on your safety gear, including goggles and insulated rubber gloves. This way, you can prevent the battery acid from the battery from getting into your skin and eye.

Step 3: Pop the hood

Now it is time to locate the battery’s position under the hood. In most vehicles, the battery is located in the right corner close to the windshield. In some other cars, you’ll find it in the left or middle section of the hood. It is often fastened to the car with two cables, one is positive and the other negative.

Step 4: Disconnect the clamps

With the 10-mm wrench, first, detach the black-colored negative cable, often called the ground cable –from its terminal. Make sure you remove the negative cable first to prevent short circuits. Then, disconnect the red-colored positive cable from the clamps using the 10-mm socket wrench.  

Step 5: Lose the battery

Pick up the 13-mm socket wrench to dislodge the battery from its place. The battery is secure in place with a bolted bracket. Take the battery with your hand and place it on a dry concrete surface. You can look for a sizeable plank for this purpose. 

Step 6: Remove old battery cable rust

There’s a chance that the battery cables have gathered some rust. Use fine-grit sandpaper or rust remover to eliminate dust residue or rust build-up that the faulty battery has caused on the cables.

Step 7: Install a new car battery

Once you have cleared and cleaned the built-up rust, it’s time to set up a new battery. Make sure the new car battery’s size, dimension, and capacity match the old one. There’s a consequence for replacing with a lower-capacity or large battery. Also, check the part number. Now that you have the right battery in, place it in its right place and fasten the bolt with the bracket using the 13-mm socket wrench.

Step 8: Lubricate the two terminals

Once you’ve locked the battery in place, apply some quantity of dielectric grease to the positive and ground battery terminals. This will help prevent acidic build-ups and corrosion. ensure the electrical system

Step 9: Reconnect the two cables

Reconnect the two cables, but first, start with the positive cable. Tighten the bolt with your 10-mm socket wrench after placing the cable on the terminal. If you have a terminal cap, cover the terminal. Then, connect the negative cable. Repeat the process you carried out on the positive terminal and secure everything in place.

Step 10: Close the hood

After completing the entire process and ensuring the cables are in place, you should close the hood, get into your car, insert the key and ignite the car. If you carry out all steps properly, the car should run. Make some short trips after completing the steps. If you cannot follow these steps faithfully, contact a mechanic to get it done.

Signs of A Battery Nearing Its End

Slow Cranking

Cold-cranking amps are one of the clearest warning signs of a dying car battery. At this point, you’ll notice that the engine will either spin slowly or won’t rotate at all. You may also hear some weird noises as you try to start the engine. In the process, you may drain the battery powers left in it. 

Had to Jump Started it Multiple Times

If you need to boost your car battery multiple times in a short period, it is a sign that the battery needs to be replaced. If you frequently jump-start the battery, it means that the battery isn’t good anymore. If you persist, you will likely damage the alternator besides ruining the battery itself. 


What Does It Mean If Your Car Won’t Start, but the Lights Come On?

When the lights illuminate, but your car won’t start, there is a possibility that you have an issue with the starter motor or ignition. The illuminating lights indicate that the battery is fully charged, but the starter is faulty.

When I Try To Start My Car, It Just Clicks Rapidly?

When you try to start your car but only rapidly click without starting, the first component to suspect is the alternator or battery. You’ll hear a rapid clicking noise if any of these car parts are faulty. At that point, the battery is likely dead, or the alternator isn’t working well.  

Do You Connect Red or Black First?

Once you have installed the new battery, connecting the black (positive) cable is recommended first. The idea is to avoid short circuits in the new battery. However, when detaching the cables, start first with the red terminals.

How Often Should I Replace Battery in Car?

The frequency of replacing batteries varies depending on factors, including driving habits. As a general rule of thumb, however, you must replace your battery every three to five years. Many say that three years are ideal car battery life. To ensure extended battery life periods, go for the best product on the market. As the battery ages, it tends to lose power.

How Is Long Too Long to Jump a Car Battery?

Under ideal conditions, you can jump-start the battery in five minutes. However, in extreme cases, you may spend up to 30 minutes or more. But ensure you drive the car for about 15 minutes after jumpstarting. This is to make the battery fully charge and elongate the car battery lifespan. You can jump-start a battery quickly, so that’s why you do it up to times before throwing the battery away.

Final Considerations- How Long Does It Take to Replace a Car Battery?

The next time you’re thinking ‘how it takes to replace a battery,’ you can apply the procedure above and get things done as quickly as possible. Truth is, you can either prolong or shorten your car’s battery life, depending on many factors. Get the bad car battery checked or inspect the problem. If the battery stays too long on the garage floor, it can cause it to drain quickly. Contact a roadside assistance company for advice.

Make sure you service your vehicles as regularly as it’s recommended. Let an experienced mechanic make a proper diagnosis is recommended. The good thing is that the cost of replacing a battery at a mechanic workshop is affordable.

Agustin is part of the team at Road Speed Solutions, a reliable and efficient roadside assistance business with over a decade of experience in New Jersey.

What sets Road Speed Solution apart is the team's commitment to giving back to the community, regularly donating to local charities and supporting small businesses. Choose Roadside Speed Solutions for prompt, trustworthy roadside assistance services.