Your car’s battery is the starting point of everything the vehicle does. Not only does the battery provide the power that starts the motor to allow you to drive, but it also powers all the accessories that we consider essential for time on the road. These include lights, air conditioning, the radio, and of course, your cell phone charger.
It should come as no surprise that such a long list of jobs for your battery means that it will eventually run out of charge and no longer work, leaving you to replace it. Here are four reasons to be very careful during this process.
There Is Dangerous Acid Inside
A battery is not just some kind of container that you fill with electricity. It has a carefully designed chemistry that puts anode vs cathode. These two components of the battery provide the negative and positive charges, respectively, and they do so while fully submerged in acid.
Battery acid usually stays contained safely inside the battery, but never assume that there are no leaks or cracks in the battery housing. Use eye protection and gloves while handling batteries, and be sure to wear old clothes that you don’t mind damaging. You must also review safety and first aid procedures for treating battery acid burns in case something does go wrong.
Batteries Are Very Heavy
A common ingredient in automotive batteries is lead. If you know nothing else about lead, you know that it is very heavy. Whatever materials are in your battery, you’ll find out very quickly that it probably weighs considerably more than you might have expected. That calls for some extra safety considerations.
First, make sure that you are physically able to handle the weight of the battery. You’ll have to lift it straight up out of the engine and then place it on the ground. If you cannot do that type of physical work safely, don’t change the battery yourself.
You should also plan on wearing steel-toed boots if possible, and as you transport the new battery home from the store and the old battery back for recycling, you should make sure that they are secured and unable to move if an accident happens.
Access to the Battery Can Be Complicated
When we think about changing batteries in a flashlight or a toy, we think about opening some type of access panel and seeing the batteries right there in full view. In modern vehicles, that is not always the case.
Anything from a frame component to the windshield washer fluid reservoir could be installed on top of your battery. The more complicated and fragile these obstructions are, the more careful you must be while replacing the battery. The last thing you want to do is damage other parts of the car while performing such a simple repair.
There’s a Risk of Sparks and Shocks
Batteries are all about electricity, and electricity always carries the risk of someone getting shocked or something catching fire. Always be prepared for this possibility when working with a new battery.
Make sure you understand how to make the proper connections when disconnecting the old battery and connecting the new one. If you handle the cables incorrectly, you could be shocked. It’s also extremely important not to have any flammable materials nearby, such as gasoline, cleaning solutions, or oil. Fumes from these products can easily cause a flash fire.
Keeping a good battery in your car is essential for your safety, comfort, and convenience. With the right tools and careful work, you can easily install a new battery and get safely back on the road quickly.