1. Introducing the smashing new Team FIAT T-Shirt !! To order yours click here : Team FIAT T-Shirt

Battery maintenance and replacement

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by PatchyBoy, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    As we all know, the battery is one of the most critical components in our car and ironically most ignored. We certainly do a lot of research when we are buying a battery, but once it is fitted, we seldom care about it. Given that our FIAT cars have a service schedule of 12 months, most often, the battery goes uncared for, for a whole year. Doing a preventive maintenance and health check once every three months, will certainly add to the battery life and save you money in the long run.

    The job is very easy, requires minimal tools and can be done by anyone, without any advanced technical knowledge and takes about 30 minutes to do. Also, knowing how to remove the battery can come in very handy. Imagine a situation where you have a flat battery and no way of jump starting the car (using cables and connecting to another car's battery, not by pushing the car). You will be able to easily remove your car's battery, take it to a shop and get it charged.

    Before we start, a word of caution:

    The liquid (Sulphuric Acid) contained inside the battery is the same liquid some morons throw on women's faces to disfigure them. A simple Google image search for "acid attack victim" will throw up dozens of ghastly images. Now that we know what that liquid is capable of doing, let us treat it with care and respect. Also, the battery is known to let out flammable gases. So, if you need to smoke, take a break, step 10 feet away and light up.

    Tools you will need:

    1. Set of spanners
    2. Baking soda and water solution
    3. Old toothbrush - if you have a wire brush, awesome, use that
    4. Clean rags
    5. A bottle of distilled water
    6. A piece of emery paper - 320 grit or finer - if you have a battery post brush, even better

    Here is the process:
    Note: All pictures are from my T-Jet, but would be pretty similar for most cars.

    Park your car in the shade, with plenty of free space around. Open the bonnet and locate your battery. In my car, it looks like this:


    Notice the battery on the left side. (Forgot to take a before picture. This one was taken some other time)

    There will be two bunches of wires - usually Black and Red - connected to the two terminal posts on the battery. You will also find "+" and "-" signs adjacent to the battery posts. We want to disconnect the "-" or negative terminal first. This is very important.


    Once that is done, remove that connector and place it away from the battery, some place secure and out of the way. Now disconnect the positive terminal.


    Once disconnected, using a piece of string or a disposable tie, fasten it to something away from the terminal post. You will notice a black strap (some cars use a different mechanism), that hold the battery in place on the tray. There is a 13mm hex head bolt holding it in place.


    Patiently and carefully undo that bolt. You don't want to drop a wrench or that bolt inside the engine bay. Once the bolt is removed, the strap can just be flipped over and the battery is free to be lifted out of the car. The battery is very heavy for its size, so get a stable stance and grab the fold able handle on top of the battery and lift it out of the engine bay, making sure that it is not snagging any wires.

    You might find corrosion like this on the terminals and on the battery tray:


    Once you have the battery out of the car, place it on a level surface, out of the way. Never turn the battery on it's side or upside down. Now pour some of the baking soda solution on the connectors and the battery tray. You will see a lot of frothing, but that is pretty harmless. Take your brush and give the terminals and the battery tray a good scrub, rinse with water and dry with a clean rag. One this is done, let us move on to the battery itself.

    This is what my battery looked like:


    Sprinkle the baking soda solution and scrub the battery clean. Not only does the solution neutralize the corrosion, but also doubles up as a cleaning agent. Wipe with wet cloth and again with a dry cloth. After the cleaning process, scrub the posts with the emery paper, to expose fresh metal and improve the contact. You will notice large plastic screws on the top surface of the battery, usually six. These can be opened with a coin and will allow access to the individual cells. You will also find minimum and maximum marking on the battery shell. Open these screws and top up with distilled water as necessary. Do not use tap water. End of the process, you will have a battery that looks like this or better. Of course if you are replacing the battery, it will be looking way better and you would have skipped the previous step :D


    Now put the battery back in the tray, making sure that the orientation of the terminals is the same as how you first found it, bolt the strap back on, connect and tighten the positive terminal first and finally the negative.


    All done. Your battery is good to give you reliable service for the next 3 to 6 months.

    11 people like this.
  2. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    Very helpful Rajan.

    It'll be helpful to coat the terminals after cleaning to prevent / reduce the rate of corrosion. There is some battery spray available but a dab of grease/vasoline does work too. You just have to prevent the atmospheric air from contacting the metal.

  3. DRIV3R

    DRIV3R Esperto

    As Gurjinder said, the battery walas usually apply petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent corrosion.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 4
  4. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Thanks guys. I will do that.

  5. Akshay4384

    Akshay4384 Superiore

    OEM battery on my Ex Hyundai Accent SOHC 1.5L Petrol,went on for seven years before giving up.
  6. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Same with my Palio too. OE battery was still in great shape when I exchanged her for the Jet after almost 5 years and 77 K Kms.

  7. sandeep.12

    sandeep.12 Amatore

    Be careful while lifting the battery holding the black handle.
    It broke on its own while i took it out and i was so lucky that my feet fingers got spared by inches.
    Compromise on quality from Exide now a days???
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  8. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Good point. I actually lift with the handle a little bit and then support the bottom with my free hand. Skipped that warning. Thanks for pointing out.

  9. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    thanks Rajan. very nice article. I'll do this after 2,months. any possibilities of warranty void guys?
  10. DRIV3R

    DRIV3R Esperto

    Why would this thought even cross your mind?:shocked
    2 people like this.

Share This Page