Battery Disconnect Considerations

When a damaged vehicle enters a collision repair facility, many times the repairs require the battery to be disconnected. Operations such as welding, SRS repairs, engine work, and body panels being open for extended periods of time, can all require that the battery be disconnected. At one time the radio presets would be written down before the battery was disconnected and programmed after the battery was reconnected. However, today many OEMs have special precautions or steps that need to be taken when disconnecting the battery. Let’s take a look at what some OEMs require when disconnecting the battery.

A well-known operation is waiting a specific amount of time for the system to discharge before performing SRS repairs. Some other considerations are to make sure you perform the pre-repair scan before disconnecting the battery, so that you don’t lose any stored codes. Also, OEMs such as Honda have an anti-theft code that needs to be entered when the battery is reconnected. Make sure you have this code before disconnecting the battery to prevent delays. Both Audi and Volkswagen say that the ignition must be in the on position when disconnecting the battery, except if the battery is in the passenger compartment.

Some OEMs require special steps or calibrations be carried out after the battery has been reconnected. Nissan needs to relearn idle air volume, the power windows need to be initialized, and the HVAC system has several components that require attention, to name a few. Mercedes-Benz has a long list of operations that need to be performed after the battery is reconnected such as turning components on and off and driving in a full circle. Mazda has initializations for power windows, sunroof, TPMS, and the power liftgate. Some Honda models require that you relearn the steering angle neutral position after reconnecting the battery. Also, there are OEMs that require the vehicle to be driven to relearn certain functions after the battery is reconnected.

Another item to note, are vehicles equipped with stop/start technology. These vehicles require a special battery when replaced.

These are all reasons why to always consult OEM repair information before performing any repairs on a vehicle. If you need help finding the correct repair information check out the OEM Information pages on RTS for videos on how to access vehicle information. If you still can’t find what you need, contact us at Ask I-CAR, and we would be happy to help assist you in achieving a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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