Automotive battery cables play a vital role in the performance of the vehicle's
electrical system, if not maintained properly they can create several different
issues from the engine not cranking over to low alternator performance. Battery
cables are the main leads that supply voltage to the vehicle's electrical system
and are usually color coated for easy reference; red (positive) and black (negative),
but always verify which cable you are working with by looking at the battery itself.
The positive cable supplies voltage to the starter and the main power center, which
then distributes it to the rest of the vehicle. Negative battery cables supply the
ground to the entire vehicle, which is what completes the circuit that makes electricity
Automotive Battery Cables
When performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, always check the battery
cable connections to be sure they are tight and for signs of corrosion, as over
time corrosion can build up causing a poor connection, which will lead to other
problems. (Always wear safety glasses when working with automotive batteries). If
corrosion is present, the cables should be cleaned with a solution of baking soda
and water, this will neutralize the acid and keep it from leeching down the cables.
When the corrosion is heavy, the cables may need to be removed from the battery
and the contact surfaces cleaned to assure a good connection.
Automotive battery cables should last upward of 100k miles, depending on the
application and outside variables such as oil contamination, abrasion or acid “leeching’
down the cables which can ruin them internally. Battery cables can causing problems
with a vehicle, such as; slow/no crank, low state of battery charge, intermittent
electrical issues within the vehicle (clock resetting, stereo memory resetting.)
When replacing cables always use a high quality replacement cable. Low quality
cables tend to have fewer strands of thicker wire, which aren’t capable of carrying
the amperage needed to start the vehicle efficiently while still supplying voltage
to the rest of the systems. Less expensive cables also tend to use low-quality material
for the ends, which makes them more susceptible to corrosion. High quality cables
are made of oil resistant outer covering which have a high strand count copper wire,
which is able to carry more amperage.
Replacing the cables should only require a few basic tools (socket set and a
few wrenches). Visit -
Article first published 2016-02-03