Battery Cable


Cleaning Terminal Clamps

  • If corrosion has built up around the terminals or on the battery, it should be cleaned. after cleaning, rinse the battery and cable connections with clean water. dry the components with a clean rag or low pressure compressed air.
  • Once the connectors have been removed, open the connector using a connector-spreading tool. Neutralize any corrosion by dipping it in a baking soda or ammonia solution.
  • Use a terminal cleaner brush to clean the battery cables.
  • Felt washers treated with corrosion-resistant compound can be installed over the terminals before reinstalling the cable connectors.
A protective pad prevents corrosion of the cable clamp and terminal.

Replacing Terminal Clamp

When a terminal clamp becomes corroded beyond repair, it can be replaced.

  • After the old clamp is cut off and the insulation is removed from the end of the cable, a new clamp can be soldered to the old cable.
Battery cable repair. Soldering a terminal on a cable. Courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
  • When the lug on the other end of a cable is replaced, it can be crimped on.
Battery cable repair. A new battery cable lug can be crimped to the cable. Courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
  • One popular type of repair for worn cable ends is a bolt-on type terminal clamp.
An emergency repair battery cable is subject to corrosion. Courtesy of Cooper Automotive/Balden.

These are handy but are not recommended by manufacturers, who call them emergency repair battery terminal clamps. New replacement battery cables are available and should be installed as soon as possible after the emergency repair. They are better than bolt-on terminal clamps because their terminations are more thoroughly crimped or soldered to the cable.

  • Before either type of terminal clamp is used, the end of the cable must be bright and clean.
  • Use a sharp knife to strip back about 1/2" of insulation from the end of the cable.
  • If a bolt-on type clamp is used, be sure it is sufficiently tightened to the cable so that it cannot come loose.

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