How To Change Car Battery Terminals
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How To Change Car Battery Terminals

A reader will learn how to change a car's battery terminals as well as learning preventative maintenance.

Usually the only time the thought occurs to change a car's battery terminals is in the circumstance when a car will not start properly, most probably in the winter months when starting a car is most difficult. Changing a car's battery terminals requires no great skill or knowledge, just a keen eye for detail and a healthy respect for electricity to prevent getting zapped. A car's battery and it's connecting components should be examined at least twice annually - once in spring and again in fall. Before a car owner should immediately assume that the reason a car will not start is a bad battery terminal, an a brief examination needs to take place to eliminate other sources of electrical problems. Bad battery posts or ones that are corroded and not making contact with the terminals, loose battery posts, or a damaged or dead battery all all more than capable of preventing a car from starting. Once these areas are dismissed as the culprit, attention can them turn to the battery terminals.

Inspect the battery terminals to make certain that the terminal wire is attached properly and making solid contact. This can be accomplished by removing the negative terminal from the battery post using a terminal puller or a pair of pliers. You can determine which is the negative terminal by the color of the terminal cable (usually black) or by a minus symbol on the terminal post or on the terminal itself. If the terminal is attached properly to the cable the battery and its components may just need to be cleaned. Clean the terminal using a small wire brush or a piece of sandpaper, making sure to clean it until only the shiny metal of the terminal can be seen. Repeat this process with the positive battery terminal, and then clean the battery posts until they shine. Reattach the terminals to the battery in the same sequence, making certain that they are tightly in place. These steps are often all that is necessary to resolve the issue, but if the car still will not start changing the battery terminals is an easy solution.

Using either a hacksaw, bolt cutters or a strong pair of wire cutters, cut the battery terminal wire just below the old terminal. At the end of the terminal cable that is freshly cut, strip back the insulation until the wire on the inside is exposed to a length of about 1 1/2 inches. Slide the exposed cable into the new battery terminal, tightening it into the housing securely. Attach the terminals to the battery posts, tighten the terminal bolts and the project is complete.

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