1995 Chevy Lumina Battery Access, or “Did the designers ever OWN a car?”

Broken socket-connector & cracked socket.

Broken socket-connector & cracked socket.

In the continuing saga that started Tuesday night with our car breaking down…

Took the car to an Auto Zone to get the alternator and batter tested – short story shorter, the battery had to be replaced and I had to do it. Auto Zone, I believe, will usually change your battery for you, but not for me. The designers that GM employed to design the Chevy Lumina (at least the 1995 version), must have been new on the job.

The process to get the battery out was this:

1) Open hood.

Simple enough, that makes perfect sense.

2) Remove three bolts. Remove two bolts one one end and swing a support strut out of the way.

One was frozen, but I am so strong that I broke a socket and a socket connector (pictured). For the record, I am super strong. [Note: This is sarcasm. I am not super strong.]¬†Swing the stupid arm that shouldn’t be over the battery out of the way. Why would you put the battery under a support strut?

3) Disconnect and remove the windshield-washer fluid reservoir?!?@!

Why would someone put the windshield-washer fluid reservoir over the battery? This is the stupidest thing ever.

4) Oh, crap. There’s another piece of metal over top of the battery. I guess I’ll remove that too.

I shouldn’t have guessed that would be easy. It wasn’t.

Hello busted knuckes!

I couldn’t get at the bolts very well – there was a hidden one, too. After I wrestled it out from underneath the air filter housing I did a piece-of-metal-etcomy, that thing didn’t go back in. It was far too bent up to be useful anymore.

5) What the crap? Why isn’t the battery moving now?!

There was some other random stupid bolt that was holding it down. Got it.

6) How do I disconnect this thing?

Now – granted – this is my own stupidity here, but I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t be shocked as I unscrewed the connectors from the side of the battery.

I wasn’t, I’m still alive.

7) The re-insertion.

No problems, just too much to re-insert.

I had avoided, for a lot of years, having to replace the battery in this thing myself. I have hated the thought of it for the 6 years that I’ve been a co-owner of it and now I know that my fear and loathing of the thought were warranted.

After owning this car and other stories that I’ve heard, I will never buy a GM car if I can help it.

The battery was under the windshield-wiper fluid!!!! What the heck?

19 thoughts on “1995 Chevy Lumina Battery Access, or “Did the designers ever OWN a car?”

  1. I am dealing with this same issue, and equally irritated at the designers. So now I am guessing that I can’t even get a jump start easily if I need one? That’s helpful. BTW my two previous cars were GM products and the battery was easily accessible like anyone would reasonably expect it to be.

    • Getting a jump is pretty easy, you only need to attach to your positive pin. There should be a connection point just back from the wiper fluid reservoir. You would just ground the negative clamp somewhere on the engine block.

    • I have a 90 lumina. Very little battery space, if i needed a boost——-side post . Does anyone sell a side post rod? Not bolt, but a rod, so I have something to hook a battery booster cable to.

  2. Your hero-home-mechanic points are still good even when the car proceeds to break in other ways. But just think, if we trade it in when we get back, we might get enough to have some Chick-Fil-A!

  3. I’ve had this issue affect me more times than I care to recount. The “frozen” piece you described in unbeatable, and I used WD-40, Pam cooking spray, and olive oil, at one point. I’m glad I have AAA, but am sick of using my allotted number of calls per year to help with the Lumina’s battery or connections. I will never buy another car without checking the exact placement of the battery under the hood. And it’s too bad, too…as I really love this little car.

  4. I had to change the battery in my 97 Lumina today. I’ve owned this car for 3 years, and now that I have the old battery out, I can see it’s 6 years old.

    Thank goodness you shouldn’t have to change a battery very often, because this is a terrible design. Why is the battery hidden under a tub of wiper fluid?? Sooner or later every battery has to be replaced – it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and maybe one wrench!

    • This may sound stupid, but it’s actually smart. I had a Renault coupe yrs ago, a front engine , but with the battery under a flat panel, back in the hatch, under that panel. Chevrolet could have learned from that.

  5. Upon acquiring the ’95 lumina from a my friend’s parents, at a very reasonable sum I might add, I had instantly needed to replace the battery. “No problem” I thought, having replaced my mom’s many times since I could walk… The neighbors insist I never speak the words I uttered in public again… My misfortune was further pressed upon me when the socket began to strip away the bolts as if they were puddy… needless to say I phoned this one in -_-… Now I fear only a year later the battery is not holding a charge and I fear the alternator may be dieing on me… I know I said I wanted a project car but seeesh

    • 1993 Lumina – I’m in the process of replacing the battery AND the alternator for the second time in less than 2 years. PissedMutt, a “project car” is one that needs some work occasionally – but the Lumina is a torture device. The design is OBSCENE. On the 1998, not only do you have to remove the washer fluid reservoir, but to get that out you have to detach one of the fuze boxes that is wedged in on top of it. Then there’s the stupid way they attached the air filter to the battery retaining bar. I’m SURE I’m going to break the cheap plastic air filter containment box before I get the battery out.

  6. Some journalist needs to track down the engineers who designed this horrible, horrible, terrible, stupid Lumina hidden battery with the awful hold-down brackets.

    Find them, and ask them who ordered this stupid design.

    Worst ever. I’ll be very reluctant to buy a GM car. No wonder they’re going bankrupt again. Angry.

  7. I have since purchased an Impala. It’s so similar that it’s the same Haynes book, BUT they’ve made the battery thing easier.

    No strut, fluid is moved.

    Good enough for me. At least in comparison.

  8. I Also have the 1995 Chevy Lumina. This cold weather is killing the battery and If I dont drive for 4 days the car never starts anyway. I purchased new starter and alternator, and the problem still exist. I cant drive without ever getting a jump….SMH. My question is what type of battery should I get to combat the cold conditions for this car???? Please…

    • Sorry, man I have no idea. Somehow this post gets found all the time by fellow Lumina battery battlers, but I actually know very little about cars. If you find something, reply here so other can learn from our collective mistake of owning this stupid car!


  9. Found this looking for a how-to on replacing my 1995 Lumina’s battery. I did it earlier today and it was SO HARD that I was sure I missed something obvious. I nearly lost it when I saw the bracket under the washer reservoir AND found that you need a socket extension to get the %$!@ thing off..

    Realize it’s been four years since you posted this, but it sounds like you said you didn’t replace the battery bracket? Did you jury-rig something else to hold the battery in place? I considered discarding it, but worried about there being nothing holding the battery and air filter box in place.


    • I have gone to the ‘extreme’ by relocation of the battery. It’s a costly BUT effective solution. Purchased a battery box and proper gauge wire. It’s now in the trunk. While relocating, installed secure positive post under hood that direct feeds from the relocated power source. That enables getting/giving a jump.

      • This may sound stupid, but it’s actually smart. I had a Renault coupe yrs ago, a front engine , but with the battery under a flat panel, back in the hatch, under that panel. Chevrolet could have learned from that.

  10. My sister had a ’79 Honda Civic that had you all beat.

    Guess what you had to do to replace the front shocks??


    Seriously, who designed this???!!

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