This page is dedicated to helping you swap out that battery. Here you’ll find a short video outlining the battery replacement procedure. Changing your car battery was traditionally a simple job and it still is, but it does require a couple of extra steps.
By the end of the video, you’ll know how to swap a battery out like a pro.
On this page, you’ll also find my top tips for swapping out a trouble-free battery swap, I’ll cover what can go wrong and I’ve added links to tools to help the whole job move like butter.
Swapping Out a Battery – Mecahnics Tips
- Verify new battery pole locations and battery casing dimensions are correct before attempting to fit
- Use a KAM tool before removing the battery
- Remove battery negative first and refit it last
- Avoid grounding the wrench when removing the positive battery terminal
- Use an insulating material (plastic) to prevent grounding the positive terminal when removed
- Clean the terminals before refitting
- Apply petroleum jelly to the terminals after refitting and tightening
Additional Steps When Fitting a Modern Car Batttery
As said we need to perform two additional steps on most modern cars.
Step 1: As modern cars use computers to manage systems they are sensitive to power loss. To manage various systems, computers must keep track of certain parameters, cutting the power causes the computers to lose these settings.
To prevent this we connect a KAM tool (Keep Alive Memory), before removing the old battery. The KAM scavenges power from another car and feeds it to the car’s computers directly through the diagnostic port. I wrote a post about it here – Is it hard to change a car battery?
What happens if I don’t use a KAM tool? Your computers are in the dark and need several drive cycles to figure out new parameters. And while your vehicle’s modules figure out these new parameters, you’ll notice some irritating symptoms like erratic idling, awkward transmission shifts, warning lights, possible loss of certain system functions like HVAC, etc.
Most vehicles will relearn new values and come back online but it’s also possible for a system to require a dealer visit for what is known as a recalibration (scan tool forced relearn procedure). This tends to be more common in higher-end vehicles with lots of toys.
Step 2: The second step requires coding your new battery to your vehicle. A scan tool is required, your local shop will help you out on this one, otherwise, you’ll need to buy a capable scan tool.
Why does it need to be coded? Because most modern vehicles use a battery management module (computer) to monitor battery health, optimize charging, and prolong life. As a battery gets older it requires an ever-increasing charge rate.
What happens if I don’t code the new battery? If your vehicle’s new battery isn’t coded to your vehicle the management system will charge your new battery at a higher rate than necessary. This won’t hurt your new battery in the short run but unless coded it will shorten battery life.
How do I know I have a battery module onboard? A small sensor on the negative battery terminal is a giveaway that you indeed have a battery monitor and so will need to code that new battery
Battery Replacement Tools
Schumacher OBD-L Memory Saver or KAM tool. Important to fit the memory tool before disconnecting the battery. Modern cars don’t like being without power. The Schumacher is easy to use with its 3 steps guided procedure. Picture links out to Amazon.com.
The Autel MaxiCOM is a shop-level tool. It is capable of reading, clearing fault codes, coding a new battery, placing EPB module in service mode, and calibration after the repair. It is also capable of activating ABS modulator solenoids when performing a full brake bleed procedure. Picture links out to Amazon.com.
Proudly made in the USA, this anti-corrosive oil-based paste for battery terminals will prevent corrosion which is a very common cause of poor starts and premature battery failure.
Battery post and terminal cleaner. Dirty terminals are a root cause of a ton of electrical issues. Stainless steel cone wire brush side for terminal cleaning and internal brush for the battery posts. Suits top and side post batteries.