Leave your distributor to a pro

Require no regular servicing. Some have no distributors at all. All testing and servicing of these systems should be left to trained professionals because they’re easily damaged if hooked up improperly, and they employ high voltage that can also damage you. If you’re curious, explain what distributors do.

Replacing a Battery

No matter how well your vehicle is working, if your battery dies and can’t be recharged, you’re stranded in a vehicle that you can’t drive in for service. A battery usually has a sticker on it that shows when you bought it and how long you can expect it to survive.

To prevent being stuck on the road with a dead battery, enter that information in your Specifications Record in Appendix B and have the battery replaced before it comes to the end of its life expectancy.

To extend its life, your battery should be checked and maintained regularly. You can find instructions in Chapter 2 for dealing with it as part of your monthly under-the-hood check. And if it has just run out of juice temporarily because you left the lights on, 21 tells you all about jumping a start.

Deciding if you should do the job yourself

Unless your vehicle has a shield over the battery that’s difficult or dangerous to remove, it shouldn’t be hard to replace it yourself. However, if installation and disposal are included in the price of a new battery, there may be no advantage in undertaking the job.

where it’s located and what it looks like. If the battery on your vehicle is concealed under a plastic shield, take a look at what’s holding it in place. If you see just a few screws or bolts, you can probably unscrew them and remove the shield without much trouble. If it looks difficult to get the thing off, have the battery installed wherever you buy it.

Batteries are priced by their life expectancy. Most are rated for five years. Don’t risk getting stranded by a poor-quality battery that malfunctions, but if you don’t plan to keep your vehicle longer than five years, don’t spring for an expensive long-term battery that will vastly outlive your need for it.

t should be the same size, shape, and configuration. If it isn’t, march right back in and return it for the right one.

How to remove and install a battery

(That’s the post with the little “–” or “NEG” on it.) If your vehicle has positive ground, loosen the cable with “+” or “POS” on it first. Remove the cable from the post and lay it out of your way. Then remove the other cable from its post and lay that aside.

Last word

Om’s a post and lay that aside. If you have trouble loosening the bolt, grab it with one wrench and the nut with another, and move the wrenches in opposite directions. In this case, you don’t want to remove the bolts; just loosen them enough to release the cable clamps.

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