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Many auto parts stores and garages offer free installation with a battery purchase. Because car batteries are quite heavy and there are disposal considerations for the old unit, this is a welcomed service.
Help with lifting a battery into tall vehicles like SUVs, or placing one in a hard-to-reach spot, such as under the backseat, can be particularly appreciated. And while at the shop, the old battery can be recycled.
Of course, there are times when an in-shop installation may not meet your needs, due to scheduling or purchasing from a retailer without an auto service department. However, you can install a battery in most vehicles rather easily with only basic tools; just remember to return the old battery to retailer for recycling—most add a “core” charge to the purchase price and refund that money when the old battery is returned.
It's a good idea to have your car's entire charging system checked once a year, especially after your battery is more than two years old if you live in a warm climate or four years old if you live in a cold climate. This includes the alternator, voltage regulator, belts, and connecting cables. Of course, don't wait until a year is up if you notice potential signs of weakness such as hesitant start-up.
Between routine servicing, check periodically to make sure the cables and terminals are snug and retighten as necessary for good contact. If your connections are dirty or showing a lot of corrosion, disconnect and clean them with a wire brush or cleaning tool. Be aware that when you disconnect the battery, you may have to re-enter a security code in your radio or navigation system.
If you have a sealed, maintenance-free battery with no removable caps, there's little else you need to do. Most new batteries use a chemistry that doesn’t off-gas much electrolyte so even If your battery has removable caps, you may not have to check the electrolyte level. If you live in a very warn climateyou’re your battery has removable caps you can check the water level periodically, and refill with distilled water as needed.
Finally, if the vehicle is going to be parked or stored for an extended period of time, you may want to consider investing in a trickle charger to keep it charged.