How to Replace Battery Cables in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Make a note of your presets or attach an auxiliary battery to the car when changing your battery cables. Otherwise, you'll need to reset your clock and reprogram your radio presets after attaching the new battery cables. New battery cables will keep your car starting properly, so you should check them as part of a routine inspection and replace them when they appear worn.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Nissan Altima

Lift the hood and find the battery, which is conveniently located behind the driver's side headlight on the Nissan Altima.

Loosen the bolt on the negative battery cable with the minus sign using a box wrench or cable-clamp pliers. Carefully twist the cable end off the post, tapping it gently with a small hammer if it sticks. Take care not to damage the battery during the process and then repeat the process on the positive cable.

Follow the negative cable to where it's grounded to the front of the frame. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the front of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Clean the battery posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first by reversing the process in step 3. Reattach the negative cable last and start the car to ensure the connections are secure on your Nissan Altima.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Hammer

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Pontiac Grand Prix

Loosen the bolt on the negative battery cable with the minus sign first, using a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Carefully twist the cable end off the post, tapping it gently with a small hammer if it sticks. Repeat the process on the positive cable.

Follow the negative cable to where it's connected to the front frame, next to the headlight assembly. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the driver front side of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Clean the battery posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first by reversing the process in Step 2. Put the negative cable on last and start the car to ensure the connections are secure on your Pontiac Grand Prix.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Hammer

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Toyota Corolla

Find the top-post battery on the driver's side just behind the headlight on the Toyota Corolla.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Wriggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Take off both cables from the battery, even if you're replacing only one.

Follow the negative cable to where it's grounded on the front of the frame beside the headlight assembly. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the driver's side of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Clean the posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner. Wipe off any residual dust with a clean, dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Reattach the negative cable last and start the car to ensure the connections are working on your Toyota Corolla.

Items you will need

  • Box wrench or cable clamp pliers

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Clean cloth

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Jeep Grand Cherokee

Put gloves on and find the top-post battery on the passenger side of the SUV. Use a stool to reach it if you can't work comfortably standing on the ground, because it's pretty high on a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Wiggle the cable end off the post and tap it gently with a small hammer if it won't budge. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Remove both cables from the battery, even if you're replacing only one.

Follow the black negative cable to where it's grounded on the body of the Jeep Grand Cherokee near the wheel well. Remove the end of the cable with a wrench. Track the red positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the front passenger side of the engine and remove it with a wrench.

Clean the posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner. Wipe off any residual dust with a clean, dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Put the negative cable on last and start the SUV to ensure the connections are working on your Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Hammer

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Chevy Impala

Locate the Chevy Impala's battery on the passenger side in a tight spot up against the interior wall. Wear gloves before handling the battery to protect your skin from any battery acid that might be on it.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Wiggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable.

Remove the black brace that keeps the battery in place. The battery will become loose when you unscrew this holder, so be prepared to hold onto it.

Undo the air hose that's directly behind the battery. Lay the cables to the side so they don't touch anything while you remove the battery. It's a tight fit, so you may have to work with it for a bit.

Clean the battery terminal posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner and wipe them clean with a dry cloth before putting the battery back in the car.

Follow the negative cable to where it's connected to the Chevy Impala's body on the inside wall. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the side of the engine. Remove it with the wrench.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 6, and then attach the negative cable to its grounding position. Always take off the negative cable first and reattach it last to avoid producing sparks in the engine compartment that could ignite trapped fuel fumes.

Put the battery back in its holder and replace the cables on the posts, putting the positive side on first. Reattach the holder and start the Chevy Impala to ensure that the connections are working.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Hyundai Sonata

Locate the battery under the hood about halfway between the front bumper and the inside wall. It has a flat cover on it that must be popped off to get to the battery. The Hyundai Sonata battery has top posts on it.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Wiggle the cable end off the post and tap it gently with a small hammer, if it won't come off. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Remove both cables from the battery, even if you're replacing only one.

Follow the black negative cable to where it's grounded low on the frame under the battery. Remove the end of the cable with a wrench. Track the red positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the front driver side of the engine and remove it with a wrench.

Clean the posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner and wipe them clean with a dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Put the negative cable on last and start the car to ensure that the connections are working on your Hyundai Sonata.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Hammer

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Toyota Tacoma

Locate the top-post battery on the driver's side, just behind the headlight on the Toyota Tacoma. Use a step stool to get in a good position to replace the cables if it's too high to reach comfortably.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Wriggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Disconnect both battery cables, even if you're only replacing one of them.

Follow the negative cable to where it's grounded on the front of the frame beside the headlight assembly. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the driver's side of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Clean the posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner. Wipe off residual dust or cleaner with a clean, dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Reattach the negative cable last and start the truck to ensure the connections are working on your Toyota Tacoma.

Items you will need

  • Box wrench or cable clamp pliers

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Clean rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Honda CR-V

Look for the top-post battery on the driver's side of the Honda CR-V, just behind the slanted headlight box.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Tap it gently with a small hammer if it doesn't want to come off and then wiggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Remove both battery cables, even if you're only replacing one of them.

Follow the black negative cable to where it's grounded on the front part of the frame next to the headlight on the Honda CR-V. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the red positive cable to its connection on the starter solenoid on the front driver side of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Clean the posts with a small wire brush or cable cleaner and wipe them clean with a dry cloth.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Connect the negative cable last and start the car to ensure that the connections are working on your Honda CR-V.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Hammer

  • Wire brush or cable cleaner

  • Dry rag

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in an F150

Pop the hood. Unbolt the negative battery terminal from the battery using an open-end wrench.Pull the cable out of the way.

Follow the factory battery cable down to the frame of the vehicle, where it connects via a bolt. This may be bolted in a few different places. Unbolt the factory cable using the open-end wrench set, and then bolt the replacement cable in place. Run the replacement cable up to the battery, but do not connect it yet.

Unbolt the factory positive battery cable from the battery using the open-end wrench set. Follow the cable to find out what other else it's bolted to, which includes the fuse block, alternator and starter.

Lay out the replacement positive battery cable in the same pattern as the original cable, and replace each line, one at a time, using the open-end wrench set. So disconnect the starter connection using an open-end wrench, then bolt on the replacement cable. By doing this one at a time, you won't get the lines confused and crossed, and you can keep everything correct.

Secure the replacement battery cables to the positive terminal first, then the negative terminal, using the open-end wrench set. Pull out all of the factory cables and dispose of them.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Factory replacement positive and negative battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Ford Explorer

Put on gloves, so you don't get acid on your skin before touching the battery. If you don't have or don't want to wear gloves, keep your hands away from your face, especially your eyes, and wash them thoroughly as soon as you're finished.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Carefully wriggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Always take off both battery cables, even if you're replacing only one of them.

Follow the negative cable to where it's grounded on the front frame of the Ford Explorer. Remove the end of the cable with a wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the front of the engine and remove it with a wrench.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Put the negative cable on last and start the SUV to ensure that the connections are working on the Ford Explorer.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Battery cables

 How to Replace Battery Cables in a Ford Focus

Locate the battery on the driver's side close to the inside wall on the Ford Focus. You shouldn't have to remove the bar that holds in the battery, since the top posts are easy to reach.

Loosen the bolt on the black negative battery cable first with a box wrench or cable clamp pliers. Carefully wiggle the cable end off the post. Repeat the process on the red positive cable. Remove both cables from the battery, even if you're replacing only one of them.

Follow the negative cable to where it's grounded to the wheel well. Remove the end of the cable with the wrench. Track the positive cable to its connection on the driver's side of the engine and remove it with the wrench.

Attach the new positive cable first, reversing the process in Step 3. Install the negative cable last and start the car to ensure that the connections are working on your Ford Focus.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Box wrench or cable pliers

  • Battery cables

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.