The battery on your vehicle is an essential piece of equipment, without it in good condition your vehicle will not run correctly and you may not even be able to start the engine.


car battery

Typical car battery

 Jump starting

Jump starting your vehicle from another is a simple and quick method to get going quickly should you find you have a flat battery.

This isn't however suitable for all vehicles due to complex electrical systems. Check your handbook for advice if you have any doubt.

  • Park the second vehicle close enough so your jump leads will reach, switch of the ignition on both vehicles.
  • Connect the positive terminals together, firstly onto the dead battery, then onto the charged battery. Be careful to ensure you connect the cables correctly.
  • Connect the lead to negative terminal of the charged battery first.
  • Connect the other end of the lead onto a bare metal bracket or bolt somewhere in the engine bay. Don't connect it to the other battery.
  • Start the second car, and wait a few minutes, then attempt to start the dead car. Giving a little bit of throttle often helps.
  • Remove the cables, in the opposite way to how you put them on, remove the negative first.
  • Leave the engine running for a period of time, with the minimal of electrical equipment switched on to allow it to charge, or you will have to do it again.


Charging a battery

Your battery shouldn’t normally need charging from any other source other than your vehicles electrical system. But if you leave a light on, or commonly in the winter, when you use a lot of high power equipment such as the heater, or do a lot of short journeys, your battery may become low on power.

Should you need to charge it, you should remove the battery terminals, and preferably remove the battery from the vehicle. Loosen any caps on the battery, to allow it to breath as it charges.

You must be careful, as charging will create a small amount of hydrogen gas, which is potentially explosive, for example, charge it up in a garage with the door open, and don’t smoke near it. It is wise the charging current doesn’t exceed more than 10% of the battery capacity in amps, except for short boost charging.

Buying a new battery

Should you need to buy a new battery for your vehicle, they should be able to tell you the correct type. But to make it easier, note down the code of the one already fitted, this is a 3 digit code, sometimes with a letter after it. These are standard across different manufactures.

Changing a Battery

Before you start, make sure you have any codes for stereo equipment or similar.

Some vehicles have onboard computer systems that will reset themselves if power is disconnected, always consult your handbook first. If you have any doubts contact your garage.

The first step is to disconnect the battery, always remove the negative terminal first.

Loosen the clamp that holds the battery in place. This will vary between manufactures, but generally minimal tools are required.

Once the clamp is off, then remove the positive terminal.

Put the new battery in place and refit the clamp.

Reconnect the terminals, positive first, ensuring the correct polarity, and the new terminals are clean.

Ensure they are properly tightened before attempting to start your engine.

It's also a good idea to put a light coat of grease or proper terminal spray over them to help prevent corrosion.

When it comes to disposal of you old battery, your local household recycling centre should be able to accept them, some recycling collections also collect them, but check first before leaving it out.
Also keep the battery level as possible, to prevent any electrolyte form coming out of the vent hole.

Article written by Hitch