Can I replace my car battery myself?

close-up of charging cables on top of a car battery

Need a New Battery?

There is plenty of gas and oil in your car, the tires are aired up and rolling, but without a car battery, you’re not going anywhere. It just as important to make sure the battery is charged and in good condition so that you aren’t caught unexpectedly. How can you tell your battery is going bad?

The following are five signals you need an alternator or car battery replacement


When the alternator or car battery is failing, it can’t power the electrical components of your car, like the headlights. If your headlights seem to be dim or weak, have your mechanic check the alternator and battery, replacement of one or the either may be needed. 


When you turn the key in your car’s ignition, it is the battery that tells the electrical components to start, like the starter solenoid. If your car is needing a starter, solenoid, or battery replacement, you’ll hear a clicking sound instead of a car starting. You can have your jumped off, and if the car starts, get to your mechanic as soon as possible. Don’t count on it starting again, jumped off or not. 


If your car doesn’t sound normal when starting it, you may need a battery replacement. It will have a slow and sluggish crank, and will eventually start, or it will not start at all. 


To get a car started, you should only have to press the gas pedal once. If you’re having to keep pressing on the pedal to get it started, it may be a carburetion issue, or you may need a battery replacement. Either way, you should have your mechanic check the issue.


Yes, a bad car battery can make a car backfire because of intermittent sparks allow fuel to accumulate in the cylinders. Once the fuel is ignited, it increases the force and then it backfires. There are several issues that could be the problem, and a battery replacement may be one of those issues. 

Again, some of these issues can be something other than needing a battery replacement. To know if it is a battery vs alternator, or battery vs starter problem, a mechanic can perform several different tests to confirm the problem. 

What should you do when a car battery keeps dying?

Once you have your car started, if the battery keeps dying, it is frustrating. And it can be dangerous too!  So, what could cause this to happen? 

  • Accidentally Discharge

External or internal lights were left on by mistake, or because the auto shutoff didn’t work, will drain your battery. 

  • Only Short Trips

Your battery powers the starter motor when the key is turned. After the car starts, the alternator keeps the battery charged. If you only make short trips, then the battery may not be getting charged enough. 

  • Corroded Cables

Even with a brand-new car battery, if the cables are corroded or dirty, they can’t charge the battery enough to keep it charged.  Clean the cable ends and battery connections will usually work so that you don’t need another car battery replacement. 

  • Electrical Taxing Modifications

A properly battery should put out at least 14 volts with the car running.  Any upgrades to car that pull from the electrical system, like a new radio, it can tax the battery, especially if it is an older battery. A new car battery replacement may be needed. 

  • Failing Battery

When a car battery has been run down multiple times, it creates an internal sediment buildup and is unable to hold a charge. It is time for a car battery replacement. 

Do I connect the positive or negative first? 

If you don’t work with car battery replacement consistently, it can be hard to remember the specifics to connecting and disconnecting. For the disconnecting process, the negative cable is first, followed by the positive. When connecting a new car battery replacement, the process is reversed. Connect the positive cable first and then the negative cable. 

What happens if I disconnect the positive terminal first?

When doing a car battery replacement, the utmost care is important because the chance of touching the cable to any metal surface is easy. That can cause a spark and the battery can catch on fire, explode, or burn the car’s electrical system out. Always remove the positive terminal second! 

Why is my car battery not charging? 

This can be because the alternator is bad and not charging the battery. Corrosion is another reason that a battery can’t charge. 

battery being started with charging cables

Keeping It Charged Up – What car battery should I buy?

The following steps will guide you through the process of choosing the right car battery replacement for your car. 

  • Find the battery group size which indicates the battery case measurement and the orientation of the battery posts and terminals. 
  • Find the minimum cold cranking amps for your car. If it doesn’t have enough amperage to start, you’ll find yourself stranded. 
  • The battery cell type is next, most car battery replacements are conventional lead-acid batteries.
  • Select the battery brand and warranty you prefer. 

What is the average cost to replace a car battery?  The brand, quality, and size will determine the cost of your car battery replacement. Pricing can be as low as $50 and as much as $250.00.