How to Disconnect a Car Battery

How to Disconnect Car Battery Advance Auto

How to Disconnect a Car Battery Prior to Replacing It

If you have to remove your battery to replace it or to assess corrosion damage, it’s important to find out exactly how to disconnect car battery cables and clamps as safely as possible. The battery will not present too many challenges in most cases, especially if it’s only 3-4 years old. Unless it was severely corroded, the process should be smooth and straightforward, and you won’t need to follow a lot of complicated instructions before getting the job done.

Suggested Equipment for Disconnection

Although you don’t necessarily need to clean the battery if you’re discarding it, you may need some water mixed with baking soda to clean the tray the battery is placed on or the clamps of the cables that connect it to the car. If you can’t detect any corrosion (which will appear as a fluffy or powdery greenish-white deposit) affecting the battery, then this step will not be required. Once you disconnect the battery, you can proceed to clean the entire area, getting everything ready for your replacement battery. You’ll also need a wrench, as well as the safety equipment discussed below. The size of the socket you’ll need for your wrench is normally standard depending on the assembly type of the battery.

Special Considerations About Finding Your Battery

Depending on the model and make of your car or truck, proceeding to disconnect car battery components might be more difficult than you think right from the start. The battery may be under the hood, easy to spot, or hidden under a plastic cover. In some models, it might be located in the back, usually in the trunk, found behind the trunk lining. Some models even have the battery under the floorboard or under the rear seat. Look around to try to find it, or consult your owner’s manual to get all the details from the beginning.

Disconnect Your Car Battery Safely

First, if you’re trying to disconnect car battery clamps, it is essential to take all necessary measures for safe preparation. Before even starting, examine the battery closely. Is there any sign of advanced corrosion or increased wear? If so, make sure you use added precautions such as making sure the corroded areas are properly contained. Begin by turning off everything that uses electric power. This includes all your lights and everything on the dashboard. Use safety goggles and special gloves to properly protect your eyes and hands, and make sure you use the right sized socket for your wrench so you can easily disconnect the clamps when needed. American cars will usually need a ½”, 5/16” or 3/8” wrench, while imports may require a metric socket or wrench. An important safety consideration is to make sure you don’t tinker with the battery if it’s severely affected by corrosion. In such cases you might need to contact a professional to help you remove the battery safely.

How to Go About Disconnecting Your Battery

The negative terminal will be marked by a minus (-) sign and black cable, and the positive with a plus (sign) and red cable. For safety purposes, always proceed to disconnect the negative cable first. Use your wrench to loosen the nut that connects the negative terminal of the battery, then proceed to remove the nut completely. Next, lift the terminal off the battery post, and place it safely beside the battery, wrapping it up to avoid accidental contact. After removing the positive terminal cover, repeat this process with the nut holding the terminal to the positive battery post. Use your baking soda mixture (or simply sprinkle baking soda) to clean the connectors and the battery posts. For the battery posts make sure you use a special battery terminal brush.

Disconnecting and Removing the Battery Completely

Once the battery is disconnected, you can remove it from its tray after first unscrewing the brackets that hold it in place. This is the last step in disconnecting your battery, and it is essential that you do it with great care, since the battery can be quite heavy (as much as 60 lbs). Dropping it on your car’s engine components could cause significant damage. Once you complete this last step, you will easily be able to clean the entire tray, removing any dirt, debris and corrosion. When considering how to disconnect car battery units, this is basically the complete set of required tasks.

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Last updated December 12, 2017

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