How to Replace Battery Terminals

That flaky residue that builds up on car battery terminals is an all-too-common sight over the years. The battery may not be performing at peak levels because of this corrosion. It’s time to consider a replacement scenario. You don’t have to toss out the battery and wires entirely, however. Replacing just the battery terminals is an option that truly invigorates the battery’s longevity.

1. Pull the Wires First

Begin this project by pulling the wires from the battery. Always start with the negative terminals, states Firestone Complete Auto Care. You avoid shocks by starting with the negative side. Remove the positive wire from the battery afterward. Lay them away from each other so that electrical shorts aren’t part of your experience.

2. Examine the Terminal Style

Battery cables come with a basic clamp design. Take a close look at the terminal type that you have. You want new clamps that have these features, such as:

  • Tinned copper material
  • Complete, 360-degree compression around the terminal

With these professional clamps, there’s ample connection between the battery terminal and power source, reports Reader’s Digest Canada. Poor connections won’t be an issue.

3. Clean the Battery’s Terminals

The terminals on batteries won’t work well with the new clamps unless every connection point is clear of corrosion. Clean the battery’s terminals with a mixture of one cup water and one tablespoon baking soda. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection.

Use a toothbrush to apply the mixture onto the battery terminals. Scrub them clean. If the battery is extremely old and not responding to a thorough cleaning, recycling itmight be the next best step.

4. Cut and Strip the Wires

With a clean battery, refocus your efforts on the wires and new terminals. Cut the old terminals off the wires with an appropriate tool, such as:

  • Wire cutters
  • Hacksaws

These parts accessories require a strong connection between your vehicle’s wires and the new terminals. Use a wire stripping tool to pull back about a half-inch of insulation from each wire.

5. Be Diligent With Cleaning

By removing part of the wire’s insulation, you may be revealing further corrosion damage. Be sure to clean off any visible corrosion from the exposed wire. The battery terminal won’t properly connect with corrosion impacting the circuit.

Carefully use the baking soda mixture, toothbrush and rag to remove the corrosion. Make sure that the corrosion doesn’t drift onto any exposed metal on the battery or wires.

6. Add Heat-Shrink Tubing

A clever way to secure the terminal and wire connection is by using heat-shrink tubing. Slide some tubing onto the wire. Carefully connect the wire to the terminal with the tubing slid down the wire. If the tubing is overlooked before the connection, it cannot be stretched over the terminal.

Be sure to connect the wires to the terminal in the same formation as the original parts. Quality batteries won’t respond to misaligned wiring. In fact, wiring mishaps might lead to drained batteries or no power at all.

7. Connect and Shrink the Assembly

With the terminals and wiring connected together, slide the tubing over this connection. Verify that no exposed wiring is visible. If there’s any exposed wiring, a longer piece of tubing is necessary. Arcing electricity occurs with ease when wiring has no insulation.

Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing against the connection when it’s properly positioned.

8. Reattach and Test the Battery

Reattach the clamps onto the battery. Test the battery by turning on the car. A successful project results in an engine that turns over without any hesitation. If there’s any issues, shut off the car and verify your connections with careful attention to the terminals.

Contact Northeast Battery today with your questions about terminals on batteries. The details might be numerous, but it’s possible to quickly and cheaply finish this project with solid results. Be the master of your car battery with a terminal replacement that lasts the test of time.

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