Your car’s battery provides the electrical zap that starts the engine, allowing your car to get going. But what happens when you want to switch it out? Whether you live in Birmingham, Bromsgrove or beyond, we’re here to help.
There are a few safety issues - and laws - around removing and disposing of a car battery, so it’s a good idea to have all the knowledge before you start.
Am I allowed to remove my own car battery?
You are allowed to remove your own car battery, though you will need to follow proper safety protocols.
Once you’ve found your car battery, locate the positive and negative terminals - marked with a + and - respectively.
Ensuring the car ignition is off, unbolt and disconnect the negative battery cable by wiggling and lifting it free with your wrenches. Once it’s out of the battery, place it away from you - you don’t want the negative and positive cables touching the wrench at the same time.
Then do the same with the positive battery cable. One disconnected, see if your battery is held in place with a clamp. If it is, release the clamp, then remove the battery from your car.
Is it safe to remove a car battery?
It is safe to remove a car battery if you follow the right protocols. However, if you’re unsure or worried, you can always take it to a professional!
Some safety procedures to follow include:
Checking for leaks
Shine a torch or light over your battery to see if you can spot any leaks before you touch it. A common place for leaks is around the cell caps, but any dents could also be culprits so ensure you check as much of the battery as you can see.
Common signs of leaks include the battery looking bloated or smelling of rotten eggs, so don’t be complacent just because you can’t see any liquid.
Common causes of leaks include extreme cold, overcharging the battery, or simply using a battery for too long - most need to be changed around the three-year mark.
If you think your battery is leaking, it’s best to take the car straight to a garage so professionals can handle it.
Wearing protective gear
One of the major factors in removing a car battery safely is the presence of battery acid, which can burn through clothes and even skin.
Wear protective clothing whenever you’re removing or handling your battery, in case of any leaks that you didn’t spot when you were checking the battery over.
Avoid knocking the battery
Once you have the battery out, secure it to try to prevent the battery from knocking against anything in transit, as this could cause damage to the structure.
Where to take a car battery once removed?
This is where the legal stuff comes in - you can’t just throw away a car battery anywhere. Because of the battery acid inside, it’s classed as hazardous waste.
This means it’s totally illegal to put them in your household waste, dump them at a landfill or fly-tip. The term fly-tipping actually originally meant chucking rubbish out of a moving vehicle - which is definitely not allowed! But nowadays it covers leaving your waste in any non-designated private or public area as well.
You can take your battery to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) - which you probably know as your local scrapyard.
Here, they can not only drain the battery acid safely but also recycle the battery’s constituent parts. It’s an eco-friendlier way of disposing of your car battery.
An alternative to removing your car battery yourself
If you’re feeling a little wary of touching the car battery yourself, we don’t blame you - and there’s no shame in seeking the help of someone trained in the matter!
If you’re thinking of scrapping your car, you don’t actually have to remove the battery first at all - your local ATF will do so as part of their recycling process.
Equally, most mechanics will be happy to swap your battery out - and it’s not much more expensive than just buying a new battery yourself.
If you live in or near Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Redditch or Bromsgrove then we’ve got you covered when it comes to car battery disposal. Get in touch to find out more.