What can I use to extend my positive battery cable and/or terminal to complete my battery replacement?

Tiny
MSTKEYS
  • MEMBER
  • 2012 HONDA ACCORD
  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 63,500 MILES
I purchased my 1st car in June 2015 with 62,000/miles and it had the original battery still. I had to replace the battery and didn't want to have to worry about having to worry about replacing it anytime soon so I opted to spend the extra money and bought a yellow top Optima battery. I was told it was a 'simple' install and that it would be a DIY project I could do myself which is what I tried to do. Unfortunately I was mislead and my car has been out of commission because the existing positive cable is too short and can't reach the post on the battery no matter how we've tried to maneuver the battery (not enough room to turn the battery to make it work). I've been researching like crazy via the internet hoping to find a simple fix that I (or a family member) would be able to do to get the car running again but I haven't found definitive fix so I am desperately seeking your advice and help. At this point it doesn't have to be a perfect fix, if I can get it connected in a way that is safe for me to drive the car 2 or 3 weeks would be great. I have a limited monthly income and I won't have the money to have it fixed professionally until next month.

The first image shows the maximum length the positive cable stretches. The red 'boot' cover that is supposed to be over terminal was broken prior to me buying the car and I haven't been able to find a replacement one that will fit.
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Friday, September 11th, 2015 AT 11:12 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Don't fall for the hype. You're better off returning this battery and getting the right one. There is no way any professional can make a large cable like that longer while maintaining its reliability other than to install an aftermarket replacement that is longer. You still have to worry about the battery's posts hitting the bottom of the hood when they're in the wrong place too.

When it comes to how long a battery will last, they all fail eventually because the lead flakes off the plates and collects at the bottom. As that occurs over the next few years, it will still be able to start the engine, but it will not be able to run your radio, for example, as many hours as when it was new, before it is run dead. The manufacturers know how quickly that lead is going to flake off, and they provide the longest warranty they can based on that. When enough of that lead builds up at the bottom of a cell, it shorts the plates together, then the battery has to be replaced. Most commonly that occurs in about five years but a lot of batteries do last longer than that.

You also have to look at the cold cranking amps, (CCA) of a replacement battery. All that's important is the new one has the same or higher rating than the original battery. It's almost impossible to find one the same as the original. All replacement batteries are much better in that regard. A higher CCA rating is needed for cranking larger engines but when used in a small car, you just have a lot of extra potential power that will never get used. If the engine is running properly and the starter and cables are in good shape, you'll never notice that the battery has more power than is needed. Where the higher CCA rating has benefits is for those of us who live where it gets real cold in winter. Below zero degrees, since a battery is a chemical reaction, they lose about half of their power. Also, due to the engine oil becoming real thick, it takes about twice as much power as normal to crank the engine on a cold day. The battery is half as strong and the engine needs double the power. The manufacturer chose the original battery to meet those conditions, but with no extra to spare. Any new battery you find is going to have considerable extra power to spare.

Other than that cold weather, there's no substantial benefit in buying a larger battery. It's still going to fail, on average, in five years. To say that a different way, suppose you had an ice cube and you placed in a hot sidewalk in summer, and suppose it melted in five minutes. Now suppose you had two ice cubes and you did the same thing. They still would both be melted in five minutes. Having twice as much doesn't make it last longer. Twice as much just melts twice as fast. The same is true with all that extra power in the battery.

A few battery manufacturers try to lure you in with gimmicks, but they're all still made with lead and acid. When there is a real improvement developed, it isn't long before every other manufacturer adopts them and incorporates them into their products. As a result, you might get a really good battery from an auto parts store one time and one that fails under warranty from, ... Oh, ... Walmart the next time, and the exact opposite might occur for the next person. I have had uncommonly bad luck with name brand expensive batteries, so now I only buy "reconditioned" batteries from a battery specialty store. They just raised the price on those to $30.00, but they work great. For the most part, "reconditioned" means it was sitting on the shelf too long. They don't actually do anything to them other than keep them charged so they're ready for service.
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Friday, September 11th, 2015 AT 11:55 PM
Tiny
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Thanks for the quick response and your help. I really do appreciate it.

First, online in every store I checked to make sure this battery is compatible with my car (full info/specs put in) and it would fit. I even used the live chat feature on 3 different sites and they assured me it would fit without any problems and without me having to purchase any additional items. The battery did come with an adapter tray plus some other plastic parts to adapt this battery to whatever vehicle you may have and it also came with the instructions on how to install/use them. The picture is with the adapter tray on because the battery is shorter compared to the original battery and I'm sure if I checked the hood/post clearance after removing the tray there wouldn't be an issue with height. Although I'm fairly certain it would be clear as is. I did compare the old battery ratings/size/post locations to the new ones during my battery shopping and this battery has a higher CCA (along with every other rating). But nevertheless, the Optima will be either returned or sold.

I live in south Mississippi and the past few years we've had unusually cold winters (freezing temps/snow/ice) and hotter than normal summers (110 degrees plus with humidity/heat index). I have to park in our yard, on the grass and uncovered, (a minimum) 75% of the time. I read countless positive reviews about this battery when it came to being reliable for others who parked outside/uncovered, didn't drive their vehicle regularly and experienced both the cold and hot temps. That all influenced my purchase decision, my car can end up sitting for week or longer (due to health).

I added that information in hopes that you would suggest/advise about either a specific battery or what CCA, group size (series number), reserve capacity, terminal replacement (if they look like they need replacing), corrosion protection & if the 'boot' for the positive cable is something I need to replace ASAP?
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Saturday, September 12th, 2015 AT 4:08 AM
Tiny
MSTKEYS
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Oh and in the sentence:. Did compare the old battery ratings/size/post locations. By 'post locations' I only mean whether or not they're on the top or side of the battery, not where on the top they actually are because I didn't realize it was important to take that into consideration.
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Saturday, September 12th, 2015 AT 4:18 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
A while back some manufacturers were making their batteries with the posts right in the middle so they would work for most car or you could turn them around for use in Fords. We ran into the same problems with cables being too short on about half of the cars we tried to put them in. The easiest fix was to just get the right battery.

Those adapters you mentioned are needed because every car manufacturer feels their design is somehow better than all the others, so there's no standardization. By designing a replacement battery that will fit in the smallest application, an adapter can be used to make it work where the old battery was physically larger.

If I left you with the impression your battery was a bad choice, I shouldn't have done that. What I should have discussed was to not listen to propaganda in advertising. When you pay extra for a battery, you want to be paying for more power, more quality, or a longer warranty, and that doesn't necessarily mean a name brand battery. There's two things I think about when buying a battery. The first is all major battery manufacturers build batteries to fit all car applications without the need for adapters. That means dozens of different shapes and sizes. If a manufacturer only has a few sizes in their inventory and those are supposed to adapt to any car, they're keeping their costs down by just making a few models, and that should translate into a lower cost battery compared to their competitors' products. The second thing is weight. You won't work up a sweat carrying in your original battery for trade-in, but you may need two men and a boy to carry out your new battery. That higher weight means there's more lead in the battery, and that is where the electrical power is stored. That also means increased cost to produce it.

Don't overthink your new battery choice. If a battery manufacturer made only low-quality products, they'd have that reputation and no one would buy their products. They'd be out-of-business. You're always going to find someone who had a bad experience with a certain brand, but the next dozen people will have real good luck. As I mentioned before, any replacement battery will have more reserve power than your original battery, and they all will have at least a five-year warranty.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2015 AT 8:13 PM

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