It astounds us, without sounding biased, how many do-it-yourself vehicle battery installations are performed without knowing the real dangers to both the person involved and the vehicle’s electrical system. Take into account also, they are items filled with “Highly Corrosive” sulfuric acid which produces hydrogen and oxygen whilst being charged making them “Highly Flammable”. There are certain safety procedures, equipment and installation know-how to ensure a safe environment when fitting batteries.
So, Should You Change Your Own Car Battery For The Sake Of Saving A Few Dollars?
Firstly and foremost, only qualified personnel should undertake the replacement of automotive batteries to avoid costly repairs to both your vehicle and possible injury to oneself. This is especially true, since they are classified as “Dangerous Goods” and “Hazardous Waste”.
For example, if you remove the battery cables in the wrong sequence you will most certainly create a “Spark” or “Short Circuit”. This will either weld the ratchet being used to remove the battery to the chassis of the vehicle, leaving the battery in a volatile state for exploding and causing a fire. As you can see, the danger is real and the very reason why you should avoid doing it yourself.
Secondary factors, after your own personal safety, is the damage your vehicle’s electrical system is prone to if a “Short Circuit” is produced. The cars electronic circuit boards and on-board computers are susceptible to “Shorts” and may experience permanent damage. This is especially true in modern cars, and the replacement of these components can be a very costly exercise. Also, when disconnecting a battery from a vehicle, it is essential a “Power Source” is still available to avoid losing your driveability computer settings and radio’s security code.
Once again, this can be a costly inconvenience looking at it from a perspective of the time required to acquire the radio’s security codes if you have no record of them, or worst scenario, the vehicle requires re-programming of on-board computers at the dealership’s workshop due to complete loss of power.
In some cases, it’s not the battery that’s at fault!
The first step, before you change your own car battery, is to diagnose if it’s faulty by performing a “Digital Test”. Once again, this is where experience and the correct diagnostic equipment is required to ensure that either your battery is faulty, or another major auto electrical problem is present. In some instances, we see batteries being unnecessarily replaced, when the main under-lying problem was either a faulty alternator, starter motor or parasitic drain.
It’s essential you dispose of your old battery responsibly
Once the old battery is removed, it must be disposed of in a responsible and legal manner. The fact is, too many do-it-yourselves, discard of old auto batteries in an illegal manner, i.e., in household rubbish bins which end up in landfills, and in some cases we see them thrown onto the roadside and bush-lands.
By hiring the services of professional battery installation personnel, you can rest-assured that old batteries will be properly recycled to manufacture new products and hence protect our environment.
Truthfully, from a safety perspective, we advise not to change your own car battery. Book the professionals, “It’s better to safe than sorry.”