How to Check Your Battery Cables

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Battery cables need to be checked for corrosion regularly. Check your battery cables with the advice of an automotive expert in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi there. Jody DeVere with AskPatty.com, automotive advice for women. I'm here today at one of my certified female-friendly locations, Pawnee Hills Hyundai, to learn about why it's important to clean and check your battery cables. Your battery cables, if they become corroded, can actually cause a power loss in your vehicle, and keeping them clean and tightened properly can also maintain the life of your battery a little bit longer... squeeze a little bit of life out. So, the first thing you want to do when working with batteries is put your safety goggles on. Working around batteries requires a few extra safety precautions, and you're also going to want to wear gloves. I'm here today with Javier, and he's going to help us inspect and clean our battery cables. First, we want to check for looseness on the cables by giving them a little twist to see... always want to have the cables tightened properly. We're also going to look for corrosion, and we definitely can see signs of corrosion on this battery, and so we're going to remove first the negative cable, then the positive, in that order, so that we can prepare to clean our cables and also the terminals on the battery block, to remove the corrosion. So now, we're going to proceed to actually clean the cables and the terminals with a wire brush. We're going to brush off all of that corrosion and get it all off. Wipe it down. Now, we're going to use our terminal cleaning tool to make sure we get all the corrosion off, and there's also a little brush inside that we could do a little more cleaning on our cable and clamp as well. We want to get it as clean as possible and wipe it down. The final process for cleaning is that we're going to pour very hot water over our clamps and our terminal; this is the best method to get the last residue of corrosion off. We're going to wipe that off and let it dry for a few minutes. The next step: we want to pull up the cables, the battery cables, and take a good look at them. What we're checking for is fraying or splitting, and if you find any just take a piece of electrical tape and wrap it up, just like that. The next step to complete this is we're going to replace our cables... positive first, then the negative cable. Make sure not to overtighten. Overtightening is actually dangerous for your battery. Just needs to be snug. So, we're going to replace the cables and then we're actually going to use a spray coating to protect them from additional corrosion. It's a really good idea to use some of this spray and just spray it right on and let it dry. This protects your terminals and your cables from further corrosion. Once it's dry, you can go ahead and put the rest of the assembly back together, tighten up the cover for your battery, and you're ready to go. Jody DeVere here, again, just to wrap it up about the importance of checking and keeping your battery cables and terminals corrosion-free. First of all, it'll help you squeeze a little bit of more life out of battery and that'll save you some money. But all batteries do wear out, and just be aware that most batteries need to be replaced after three to five years, so be sure if you're experiencing a lot of power loss to have your battery tested or just get a replacement battery. Doing these steps will actually keep you smart and car savvy.

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