Steps to Replacing a Car's Battery During Your Automotive Career

automotive career

A car battery isn’t all that similar to the equivalent you find at the back of your television remote control. It’s a heavy and complex component which generates power for the vast number of electrical items in a car. When it fails, the vehicle won’t move. There are many signs which drivers and auto mechanics should look out for to diagnose battery problems as quickly as possible. If that can be achieved, then follow a quick and easy process to fit a new battery in place.

This is one of the most common tasks which mechanics encounter. Many car owners may feel confident enough to do it themselves, but there are lots of important safety considerations which mean that auto professionals are in a better position to carry out the task. Here’s what you need to know to make sure that clients are driving away from the garage with smiles on their faces.

The Warning Signs that a Car Battery Requires Replacement

Diagnosing vehicle problems is, of course, tricky at times, so make sure that fitting a new battery is the best course of action. Students in auto mechanic college look out for a few key determining factors. An acid leak from the battery can appear in the form of a white/blue fuzz around the terminals. This shouldn’t be approached with bare hands because it can burn skin.

Check the battery performance after a 30-minute drive. This gives it enough time to generate a full charge, and it’s a worrying sign if it is still weak after taking this step. The voltage of the alternator should also be checked. Normally, it reads between 12.5-13 volts on a healthy battery. A low reading is a good sign that the battery is malfunctioning. This component only has a limited shelf life, so replacement is a relatively common measure.

Measure battery performance with a voltmeter

Measure battery performance with a voltmeter

Disconnect the Negative Battery Terminal First in an Automotive Career

Before starting with a battery replacement, auto mechanics first make sure that they are working in a suitable environment. Gloves and safety goggles should be worn, while the task should be undertaken in a spacious area with no nearby risk of sparks coming in contact with the battery. Once the hood is lifted and battery located, it’s important to start by disconnecting the negative battery terminal. This is the one with a (-) signal on top, and it’s usually black. A wrench can be used to loosen the clamp around the cable before it’s slid out of place.

Follow the same steps when removing the positive terminal cable, which is usually red in colour. Clamps and screws are often used to secure the battery in place under the hood, so they need to be removed as well. Once this has been achieved then the battery can be lifted out of place, but beware that it’s usually quite heavy!

automotive career

The battery cables can be disconnected with a wrench

Follow these Steps to Make Sure the Replacement Battery Lasts for Longer

A little bit of maintenance work is required in an automotive career before fitting the new battery. Use a wire brush and baking soda solution to scrub the terminal clamps, and the screws/clamps on the battery tray. These parts may have become smeared with leaked acid. Once complete, fit the new battery into place and secure any clamps in the tray. Apply some lithium grease to the battery terminals to prevent corrosion, before securing the positive terminal cable and then the negative one back into place. Start the vehicle to make sure the new battery is working and check that the interior electrical items are all working too.

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Categories: ATC News, Cambridge
Tags: Auto mechanic college, automotive career, Mechanic program

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