How to change your car’s battery

A strong, healthy battery is essential to the proper operation of your vehicle. A battery can last four to five years with proper care, although battery failure can occur in as little as three years in hot climates. Premature battery failure can occur as a result of chronic undercharging, overcharging, abuse, or vibration. Since modern vehicle computer systems create a small but constant drain on batteries, even when the vehicle is parked, long sitting periods can cause a vehicle’s battery to go dead and need a charge.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 10-30 minutes
  • How often: every 3 to 5 years

At some point, your battery will have to be replaced. This is usually a simple task, but some batteries can be very difficult to replace. If it appears to be difficult to remove and install, don’t attempt to do it yourself. Have it done by a professional NAPA AUTOPRO technician. These instructions will help you replace your car’s battery.

Note: It may be helpful to check your vehicle’s owner manual to see if it offers any specific information on battery replacement, or you may want to consult a suitable service manual.

Tools you will need



testing a car battery

  • First of all, make sure that the battery really needs to be replaced. Get your Battery tested at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre or using a battery tester.
  • Plug a memory keeper if you have one, so your radio codes and settings are not erased when changing the battery.
  • Open the hood and locate the battery. In some vehicles (Dodge Journey users will know what we are talking about), the battery is really hidden.
  • Identify the battery terminals (the positive is often with a red cap and a plus sign)


  • Disconnect the Negative terminal using a small wrench (often 8 or 10 mm). If you start with the positive terminal, you may short circuit it and this can be dangerous for you and the (expensive) electronic component of your car.
  • Disconnect the positive terminal.
  • Remove the battery holder or any bolts or sxrews holong the battery.
  • Remove the battery from the battery tray (Caution, a battery can be heavy)


Read these instructions completely before you begin:

  • Get the correct battery for your car. Check with your local NAPA Auto Parts store for the battery and tools you need or find it on battery selector, entering your vehicle’s information such as Year, make and model. It may be best to bring your old battery in to be sure you get the correct replacement, since there are usually several options.
  • Make sure your new battery is fully charged.
  • Gather all the necessary tools.
  • Clean the terminals using a terminal cleaner in order to maximize current flow.


  • New batteries should be charged prior to installation to prevent overloading and possible damage to the charging system (which is designed to maintain a constant level of battery charge, not to recharge a dead battery). This is very important.
  • After the new battery is placed in the battery tray, reattach the hold-down or clamping device. The battery must be secured by this strap, clamp or bracket. This will reduce vibration and will not allow the battery to slide on the tray.
  • You should also check the battery cables. Make sure there is no corrosion. Clean the cable connections with a suitable tool for the purpose.
  • Connect the positive terminal followed by the negative terminal.
  • To prevent further corrosion on your cables, you may apply dielectric grease or petroleum jelly under the clamps.


  • Return your old battery to your local NAPA store with your invoice: we’ll credit you back the core charge deposit and will recycle the battery
  • Keep your invoice as it is your poof of purchase for the warranty of the battery.
How to extend its car battery life

Quick tips

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather all your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • If you have any questions about repair and maintenance, contact your local NAPA Auto Parts store.
  • Find the nearest NAPA Auto Parts location.

7 Replies to “How to change your car’s battery”

  1. Hmm says:

    A common issue is rough idle after battery replacement. You’ll need to have the car’s computer relearn the idle.

  2. Tom Buffa says:

    You say that you may apply dielectric grease under the clamp. I have seen advice that said to clean the post and clamp, and then apply a very light cost of dielectric grease on the post and install the clamp. Then cover the outside of the clamp and bolt with dielectric grease. Some people say that you should never put grease between the post and the clamp since it is an insulator and will impede the flow of current. Others say that the grease on the post will squeeze out of the high spots where contact is actually made, and fill the low spots to achieve a long life, corrosion free, high capacity connection.

    I tried this over a year ago on my wife’s 2014 Subaru Crosstrek. We finished out the Winter of 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 without any problems. What do you have to say about the practice of applying a thin coat of dielectric grease to the battery posts? I really hope that you have an authoritative and definitive answer to this, because it is so controversial. I am pretty meticulous when I change a battery, as compared to some of the you tube videos.


    1. NAPA Canada says:

      Hello, dielectric grease will prevent oxygen (and corrosion) to enter the post and clamp. We recommend a thin layer once battery terminal is clamped. It is better to allow maximum contact between metal (clamp and post). Thanks!

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