Have you ever been in the situation that you left your headlights of your car on all over the night? Then the car battery is dead, which make it impossible for you to start the engine. What you have to do then is flaging down a car and call for a jump to jolt to battery back.
You should always keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk so you can get a jump if you need it because you never know when the battery will fail; but if tinkering under the hood isn't your style, there are several products on the market designed to make the process easier. There are jumper cables that connect one car to another through the cigarette lighters, eliminating direct contact with the car batteries. There are also car starters that plug into the cigarette lighter and jump start the battery at the push of a button; these products are convenient because they don't require that you rely on the kindness of strangers or that you leave the comfort of your car to jump start the battery.
Aside from leaving the headlights on for prolonged periods of time, a car battery may fail because it needs to be replaced or because there is a charging problem due to a faulty alternator. It's a good idea to invest in a multimeter, an instrument that makes various electrical measurements, so you can check the electricity circulating through the battery and its surrounding components. This will prevent you from replacing the battery prematurely or unnecessarily if the problem is not the battery.
A multimeter can be analog or digital and is usually a rectangular box with two leads coming out of it; the positive lead is red and the negative lead is black.
If you get a very low reading, you should think about replacing the battery. You can also test the fuses by disconnecting the battery terminal, setting the device to the ohm scale and placing both leads on the fuse legs. This is done to see if there's electron flow within the fuse, which would indicate it's working properly. And finally, you can make sure the alternator, which is part of the car's battery charging system, is working properly by comparing the voltage in the battery when the car is off to when the car is on. If when the car is on, the voltage is higher, the alternator is working properly. Check the car manual for information about the car battery and the surrounding components.
If you need to change the car battery, the first step is to purchase a new one. Buy the same kind of battery you currently have in your car or check the car manual for battery specifications.
Follow these 10 steps to easily replace your car battery:
1 - Locate the battery under the hood.
2 - Disconnect the cable terminals from the battery terminals starting with the negative side. Pay close attention to the position of the battery terminals
3 - Remove the battery bracket.
4 - Clean the inside of each cable terminal with a wire brush.
5 - Place the new battery into the slot with the battery terminals in the same position as the old battery
6 - Replace the battery bracket
7 - Connect the cable terminals to the battery terminals; make sure they are tightly secured.
8 - Start the engine to test the battery.
9 - Dispose of the old battery in accordance with local laws or drop it off at a local auto parts store or recycling center.
For an illustrated step by step guide to replacing your car battery, please visit: http://www.ehow.com/video_512_replace-car-battery.html.