How To Disconnect A Car Battery (2020)

Updated October, 2020
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Disconnecting a car battery is a fairly simple process. It entails disconnecting both positive and negative terminals and safely removing it from its tray. Make sure to take extra safety precautions, including wearing gloves, as you go through the process.

How does a car battery work?

The battery is one of the most vital components of any vehicle. It has two primary functions.

It starts the car when you turn on the ignition. It then provides power to all of the car's electrical components, such as the radio and lights.

The way a battery achieves this is thanks to two plates within each of its six cells. Each cell creates 2 volts of energy. Through a chemical process, electrons are generated.

As the electrons race around the plates, electricity is created. This electricity then flows out of the battery's terminals to start the engine, brighten the lights, and do everything else you enjoy.

Why would I need to disconnect my car battery?

You don't need to disconnect the battery every time you leave the car idle. However, if you don't plan to drive it for several months, you're better off removing the battery from the vehicle.

The reason is that if left in the car for too long, the battery degrades. You don't want to deal with a prematurely dead battery considering most should last between 3 and 5 years. Here are some circumstances that necessitate disconnection.

  • Leaving town for at least 2 months
  • Putting the car into storage
  • Keeping the vehicle in the garage for at least 2 months

How to disconnect a car battery

Turn off ignition

Make sure your car is completely shut off. You should also place your vehicle in "Park."

Locate the negative terminal

Open the hood and keep it propped open. Most car batteries exist under the hood, and you should be able to locate yours easily. Once you find it, know which terminal is negative and which one is positive.

Disconnect the negative terminal

Always remove the negative terminal first. Use a wrench to loosen the nut holding the battery in place. Make sure you use gloves while doing this.

Disconnect the positive terminal

Follow the same steps to remove the positive terminal. Be careful that the positive terminal doesn't come into contact with anything metal on your car.

Lift the battery from its tray

Once it's been disconnected, you need to lift it out gently. Most batteries weigh about 40 pounds. Get some help if you need it.

Safety tips before disconnecting your car battery

Between the weight and potential for leakage, you need to handle the item with the utmost care. Keep these guidelines in mind.

  • Remove all jewelry
  • Keep the area you're working in completely dry
  • Wear gloves and safety goggles
  • Do all of this in an outside space

How to tell when it's my battery or another car issue?

If your battery gives you problems, then it may be time to install a new one. Many batteries last 5 years at the most. If you start to notice a combination of these problems, then you should get a replacement before your car dies on the road.

  • Dimmed headlights and dashboard lights
  • Clicking noise when igniting the engine
  • Cranking sound from the engine
  • Backfiring

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

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Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156