How To Change A Car Battery Without Losing Settings

Changing a car battery is not complicated. However, doing so without taking proper precautions can result in the loss of memory in connected systems.

A car battery lasts approximately 4 years, although we can extend its useful life with optimal maintenance and care.

In any case, it is eventually necessary to replace it with a new one, something we can do on our own or request the service in a professional workshop.

If we do it ourselves, one of the factors that we have to take into account is the memory that some electrical systems have, and that depend on that battery, to remain constant.

What does memory affect a car?

When we talk about memory, we are referring to the digital and electronic information that certain systems, installed in our vehicle, can store.

In more modern cars, this can be related to all info/entertainment settings which, unless they store memory in cloud systems, could be deconfigured back to factory settings.

More generally, memory in a car usually affects the radio programs that are programmed, the configuration of systems such as power windows and even locking the car’s radio system, for which we will need an unlock code.

If we replace the battery without thinking about these elements, it is likely that the systems will lose their stored memory and we will have to reconfigure each of them.

This is a tedious task, which we can avoid with actions as simple as using a memory accessory during the replacement process.

What are memory accessories?

These accessories, which are also known as memory recorders or memory preservers, are available on the market.

They have a battery of about 9 volts and are connected to the vehicle’s cigarette lighter or to a 12-volt accessory outlet.

They serve to provide constant power to the vehicle while the battery is being replaced.

Why does the battery need to be replaced?

If the battery doesn’t work, the car won’t start. We don’t think we need any more reasons to explain why it should be replaced, do we? In fact, without the battery, the rest of the car is totally useless.

When to replace a car battery?

The fact that the car does not start does not always mean that the battery needs to be replaced. It can be because the terminals are oxidized because you have left the lights or other electrical equipment on, or because the alternator is not working. Check all these elements and, in case you see that none of them is the cause of the failure, then you will have to remove the battery and replace it. If you see that the battery has bumps, cracks, or scratches you will also have to change it.

Necessary tools

  • Wrench kit: to remove the battery and anchor the new one afterward.
  • Latex gloves: batteries contain acid that can damage the skin, so you need to protect your hands properly. In addition, if you wear rings, the gloves will prevent them from coming into contact with the battery and causing damage to them.
  • Secondary battery or booster pack.

Steps To Change A Car Battery

Replacing the car’s battery is done in the same way, whether we want to maintain the memory of its systems or not.

Step 1: Identify which battery your car uses

To make the change you need to buy a new battery that is similar to or can replace your current battery.

Step 2: Turn off the engine

Keep the car switched off for at least 10 minutes before carrying out the battery change. Also, be sure to activate the Memory Saver or booster pack to avoid having problems later with the radio or the different navigation systems. In case you don’t have one, just have all the pins of these devices before you start.

Step 3: Locate the battery

To find the car battery go to the hood and look for a rectangular box with two wires, one red and one black. In most models it is easy to locate.

Step 4: Disconnect the battery

To disconnect the battery you will see that there are two terminals, one with the symbol of “+” to which a red cable arrives and one with a symbol “-” to which a black cable arrives. Take the key and unhook first the negative one and, once it is totally disconnected, later the positive one, never disconnect first the positive terminal, since if you do it when touching with the key in any metallic part of the car you will create a short-circuit.

Step 5: Remove the battery

Use the key again and unfasten all the fastenings, screws and clamps that have the battery to be able to remove it. When pulling the battery out, remember that it can weigh between 14 and 30 kilos, so do it carefully and ask for help if necessary. Avoid laying the battery on its side or upside down. You have to pull it out and keep it in the original position all the time, as you could spill very toxic liquids and even get burned if it tips over.

Step 6: Clean the tray and terminals

Before inserting the new car battery, clean the battery tray and terminals with water or a degreaser.

Step 7: Insert and connect the new battery

Take your new battery and insert it in the tray. To connect the terminals you must follow the reverse order of step 4: first, connect the positive terminal indicated with a “+” and then the negative terminal indicated with a “-” Remember to screw and fix all the fasteners, screws, and clamps that you removed in step 6 so that the battery is completely fixed in its tray.

Step 8: Start the car and check the electrical appliances.

Close the hood, start the car and make sure that the battery and all electrical appliances are working normally. Remember that if you did not have a memory preserver, you will have to reconfigure the radio and other appliances.

Step 9: Recycle the car battery

The battery should not be thrown away just anywhere, as it is very toxic and highly flammable. You can recycle it at a parts store or recycling center.

Approximate cost of the change

The price of changing the battery varies depending on the price of the car battery you need, although in general, it will be between $80 and $210. If you use a wet cell battery it will be cheaper, while if you use calcium, VRLA, or deep cycle battery the price will go up little by little.

How often to change it

Batteries have on average about 4 years of life, but you will have to change them sooner if they have worn out more than necessary. Some of the cases in which you would have to change them in a shorter period of time are the following:

  • Battery inactive for a long time: it will be irreversibly discharged if the engine has not been started for a long time.
  • Excess of use: many starts or to take some element in the car that requires excessive use of the battery shortens its years of life.
  • Changes in temperature: before big changes in temperatures the batteries tend to stop working before.
  • Damaged alternator: if the alternator is damaged, it is necessary to change the battery yes or yes.

In summary, it must be changed when you see that it is worn out, suffers some of these 4 problems or when it is reaching the 4 years of life.

Looking for in the instructions or the technical data sheet of your model you will find the one that you should buy.