Battery Maintenance

Tips for Replacing Car Battery Terminals


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Replacing car battery terminal ends is quite easy. Cut the old terminal end from the wire, strip the insulation, insert and tighten. Those are the basic steps for changing car battery terminal. In the following paragraphs you’ll be given a list of tricks to help you perform this operation more quickly and easily in such a way as to ensure a long life for the new terminal ends. You’re going to need the following tools for this quick project:

  • Wrench-Usually 7/16, but sometimes also ½
  • Light sandpaper-100 to 200 grit
  • Wire cutters
  • New battery terminals
  • Utility knife

When to Replace

Car battery terminal ends are made of a very soft lead. Repeated opening and closing of these terminal ends can cause the lead to weaken, crack and then break. If you see cracks in the car battery terminals or if you’re unable to tighten them enough to prevent movement of the terminal end on the battery post, it’s time to replace them.

Remove Negative End from Battery

Always remember, when working on car batteries to disconnect the negative terminal first to decrease the chances of shorting the battery when removing the positive terminal end.

Remove Positive End

After the positive cable end has been removed and moved out of the way, loosen the nut on and then remove the positive cable from the battery. Use some light sandpaper or a battery terminal brush to thoroughly clean the battery posts.

Cut and Strip

With the cables removed from the battery, use the cutters to cut the old ends off as close to the ends as possible. Place the cable on a surface and place the knife approximately one inch from the end of the wire. Push down against the wire and roll it through two revolutions to cut the insulation. Pull the cut insulation off the wire. Do this for both wires.

Inspect

Make sure there is no corrosion that has run up the insulation, if there is, cut and strip the wire again. If doing this twice doesn’t get you past the corrosion, consider replacing the cables. If the corrosion is minimal, dip the wire end on a small cup of baking soda and wire solution and swish it around to break down the corrosion. Rinse the wire well.

Insert and Secure

Some brands of battery terminal come with a depth stop that prevents you from pushing the cable too far into the cable end. Insert the stripped wire into the end until the wire begins to poke out beyond the clamp and tighten the two nuts securely. Tug on the wires firmly to ensure you have tightened them enough.  If the wires don’t move when tugged, they are sufficiently tight.

Attach to Battery

Firmly seat the positive cable as far down on the positive post as possible. Rotate it so that it is an advantageous position for later removal, if required and tighten. Perform the same step on the negative cable after finishing.

The preceding paragraphs have supplied you with the required information to help you quickly and easily replace car battery terminal ends. If you see any evidence of cracking in the battery or leakage, you’ll need to consider car battery replacement.

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