Without a battery, you’re not leaving the driveway. And since the average life expectancy of a battery is three to five years, you’re going to have to deal with a bad or faulty one at least a few times. Let’s say one morning you need to jump it. You open the hood and … what? It’s not there? The question of “Where is my car battery?” is an important one, and the answer may surprise you.
Leading the Charge
The most common battery placement is indeed under the hood, but it’s not the only option. When designing a new vehicle, manufacturers take all kinds of factors into consideration when placing a battery. For one, with the advancements in technology our cars enjoy today, sometimes there’s simply not enough room in the traditional setting. They also look at total weight distribution. Batteries might not be the heaviest parts, but they aren’t exactly feather-light either, and every bit counts to balance out weight for optimal performance and control. Placement also might be determined with temperature in mind. Between the engine and the exhaust manifold, things can get pretty hot under the hood, and heat is the enemy of a long and prosperous battery life.
So where’s it located, then? Honestly, it could be almost anywhere. Sometimes batteries are still toward the front but buried. It may be under the wheel well, the middle under a floorboard panel, the rear of the car, or even in the trunk. To know for sure, consult your owner’s manual. Luckily, if all you need is a jump, the manufacturer has probably designed jump connection points that are easily accessible, probably under the hood (again, check that manual for the best information). Of course, if the battery is bad, you may have to pop off a wheel or pull up a panel, but it shouldn’t be too tricky. Remember to disconnect the battery negative cable first, and hook the cables up to a jump start box to avoid interruptions in your electronic systems.
There are a few things to know about battery placement, especially if you’re looking to move yours or add an auxiliary. First, notice your battery is confined to a battery box or strapped down to a battery tray. These leak-proof containers are necessary in case the battery starts sweating or otherwise leaking electrolyte or acid. It protects nearby components and is an environmental regulation. It is held down in place to minimize vibration — again protecting from damage, but also contributes to extending the battery’s life. The battery must also be placed in a well-ventilated area. If it becomes hot, overcharged, or starts corroding and releasing reactive gasses around the surface, it is in danger of exploding, especially if the gasses are allowed to build up without ventilation. It’s a rare thing to happen, but if it does, you don’t want it in the back seat of your car.
In the end, if you’re wondering “Where is my car battery?” and you can’t find it under the hood, don’t panic, it’s around somewhere. Probably best to go read that manual now to know where exactly before running into an emergency search.
Check out all of the batteries available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your car battery location, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.