There are certain chores that life brings around from time to time. They are the nuisance chores: de-icing a windscreen, beating out a car’s carpets, doing a little lubricating, and so on. The abhorrence that these chores inspire in us is truly disproportionate to the actual trouble involved in carrying them out; but all of these are widely – disliked nevertheless, and we feel less in control for our inability to face them. On the list of automotive bugbears, one of the worst burdens stands out to be the replacing of a car battery. There is something about going near a heavy, dirty, grease- streaked and acid-filled container that gets to most people.
As they say for relationships, talking about it usually clears the air and makes it better. A little knowledgeable discussion about the actual steps involved in completing such a chore, usually makes things begin to look much better. Automotive batteries usually last between three and four years. As its time wears out, the car battery holds less and less power, and takes longer to become charged. It is hard to tell when exactly a battery needs replacing. The usual first-aid routine involves charging the battery with cables attached to another car. If this doesn’t work though, there are a couple of things to rule out. It is possible when a battery seems quite non-responsive, and that the problem lies in nothing but a little corrosion of a battery terminal.
All that needs to be done to clear the air about the condition of a battery, is a little visual inspection. The battery is an electrical component; any work to do with such a component is best done in the safety of a switched-off state. Make sure, before you open up the hood and inspect the battery then, that the keys are out of the ignition. Such an action does not actually turn off the battery; it provides the safety of removing the battery from contact from the car’s charging system.The battery is itself always live; while a 12 V DC car battery cannot directly shock you, the power contained within can harm the battery itself if the required observances are not heeded. Never connect a battery’s terminals with any metal object. This kind of direct connection makes what is known as a short circuit, and causes explosions. An automotive battery is put together with toxic and corrosive substances: lead and acid. Battery acid is not strong enough to instantly damage anything; it is however, strong enough to thoroughly corrode and damage any object that comes into contact with it, given a minute or two. It is therefore important to make sure that there are no spills. With these observances taken care off, it is now possible to start the actual battery care that we need.
Look closely at the battery: does the battery seemed physically damaged with ruptures on its body? Such a thing can sometimes happen to battery, and this necessitates replacement immediately to avoid any damage to the car through acid leakage. If it physically seems fine, the next thing to do is to look closely at the positive and negative battery terminals. Battery terminals have a tendency to form sulfate buildup. This greenish white substance can make it hard for current to properly pass through the terminals. The buildup can also cause corrosion to the cable clamps that connect the battery to the car. If you see sulfate buildup, you will need to properly clean it up. To do so, carefully unscrew the cable clamps, the negative one first and the positive next, and detach them from the battery in that order. Tap them on a hard surface to try to loosen the buildup, and do the same for the terminals on the battery. You can also use abrasives like sandpaper. Often the build-up is cleared out adequately for current to pass through by this method. If the buildup seems stubborn though, you can easily clean it out with a homemade solution of baking soda dissolved in water. After completing this piece of maintenance, reattaching the battery terminals, reversing the order in which you removed them can often revive the battery.
A battery that does not respond to such ministrations will indeed need to be replaced. The automotive battery needs to be replaced with a unit of the same specifications, if not the same brand. The process begins with removing the old battery to make room for the new. Batteries are fastened to the battery chamber in a car, with a yoke or other mechanism. These are easy to undo and remove. Then remove the battery cables from the terminals, the negative one first, and the positive next. The battery is free of encumbrance now, and is ready to be removed. A battery is heavy object and you might need help to take it out of the car, even if there are handles provided usually. Once the battery is removed, you will need to look closely at the specifications to be able to order a new one. It is now time to get everything in readiness to accept the new battery. All that needs to be done, is to clean the battery seating and clamps with baking soda dissolved in water.
When you have a new battery of the correct description to put back into the car, it is time to wrap things up. Identify the positive and negative terminals on the battery, by the little printed icons next to them. Look into the car’s battery compartment to check for the orientation you need to place the battery in; hoist the battery into the battery compartment observing correct orientation to place the negative battery terminal closest to the negative cable in the car, and the positive terminal, next to the positive cable in the car. You can make the connections now, positive first and negative next, and fasten screws properly and tightly. Clamp the battery with its yoke or other lock appropriately, and you should be good to go.
An automotive battery is not a simple disposable device. It contains toxic and dangerous materials, and most county ordinances require specialized disposal practices. Luckily, most battery dealers take back used batteries at no cost to dispose of properly. All you need to do is to make sure that the few simple steps described here and everyday common sense are used in proper measure, and all goes well.