Town Car 1993

Cables & Clamps


Once a year (or as necessary), the battery terminals and the cable clamps should be cleaned. Loosen the clamps and remove the cables, negative cable first. On batteries with posts on top, the use of a puller specially made for this purpose is recommended. These are inexpensive and available in most auto parts stores. Side terminal battery cables are secured with a small bolt.

Clean the cable clamps and the battery terminal with a wire brush, until all corrosion, grease, etc., is removed and the metal is shiny. It is especially important to clean the inside of the clamp thoroughly (an old knife is useful here), since a small deposit of foreign material or oxidation there will prevent a sound electrical connection and inhibit either starting or charging. Special tools are available for cleaning these parts, one type for conventional top post batteries and another type for side terminal batteries. It is also a good idea to apply some dielectric grease to the terminal, as this will aid in the prevention of corrosion.

After the clamps and terminals are clean, reinstall the cables, negative cable lasts; DO NOT hammer the clamps onto battery posts. Tighten the clamps securely, but do not distort them. Give the clamps and terminals a thin external coating of grease after installation, to retard corrosion.

Check the cables at the same time that the terminals are cleaned. If the cable insulation is cracked or broken, or if the ends are frayed, the cable should be replaced with a new cable of the same length and gauge.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Loosen the battery cable retaining nut . . .

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. . . . then, disconnect the cable from the battery

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. A wire brush may be used to clean any corrosion or foreign material from the cable

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The wire brush can also be used to remove any corrosion or dirt from the battery terminal

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The battery terminal can also be cleaned using a solution of baking soda and water

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Before connecting the cables, it's a good idea to coat the terminals with a small amount of dielectric grease

Disconnecting The Cables

When working on any electrical component on the vehicle, it is always a good idea to disconnect the negative (-) battery cable. This will prevent potential damage to many sensitive electrical components such as the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), radio, alternator, etc.

Any time you disengage the battery cables, it is recommended that you disconnect the negative (-) battery cable first. This will prevent your accidentally grounding the positive (+) terminal to the body of the vehicle when disconnecting it, thereby preventing damage to the above mentioned components.

Before you disconnect the cable(s), first turn the ignition to the OFF position. This will prevent a draw on the battery that could cause arcing (electricity trying to ground itself to the body of a vehicle). It will also help prevent a spike (like a spark plug jumping the gap) when the cables are reconnected; and, of course, damaging some components such as the alternator diodes.

When the battery cable(s) are reconnected (negative cable last), be sure to check that your lights, windshield wipers and other electrically operated safety components are all working correctly. If your vehicle contains an Electronically Tuned Radio (ETR), don't forget to also reset your radio stations. Ditto for the clock.