You want to feel charged up all the time, but the summer heat can wear you down. The same can be said for the battery and charging system in your vehicle. In fact, there are more battery problems in the summer than winter.
A battery or alternator can go out without any warning, but sometimes there are signs that you can watch for that might indicate that need to get the charging system checked out.
One pretty obvious sign is when the vehicle turns over slower than usual when you start it up or the headlights are dim. Other times there are signs that lead you to believe that your vehicle may be possessed, such as dash lights flickering, losing radio presets or buzzing noises coming through the radio speakers. All of these can be signs of a problem with your charging system.
It takes some diagnostic time and equipment to get the battery and alternator checked out, but it’s the best way to find out where the problem is. If you just go buy a battery when you are having an electrical problem, you might be wasting your money. There is a decent chance that the problem is actually an alternator and in that case the battery might not need to be replaced at all. Get the whole system checked before you start replacing parts.
If it turns out you need a battery, many times it is a do it yourself project. But if the battery is leaking or the cables are badly corroded, you might want to let your mechanic do the job because of safety concerns related to battery acid.
Here are some steps to help you replace your own battery:
If possible, have a different power source for the vehicle while you replace the battery. If you don’t maintain voltage in the electrical system, you might run into some memory issues with your radio and other systems on the car when you get the new battery hooked up.
Remove the negative cable on the battery and place it out of the way. Then remove the positive cable as well. At this point you can remove the battery hold down. Once it’s removed, pull the battery straight up and out of the car. If the old battery has insulation on the outside of it, remember to reinstall that on the new battery before you put it in the vehicle. Simply reverse the process to install your new battery.
Once the battery is installed, it’s a good idea to apply some sealer to the terminals to protect them from the elements. After that, your vehicle should be all charged up and ready to go. Hopefully you will be, too.