How to Remove a Side Post Battery Terminal

by Jody L. Campbell
dead battery image by Katrina Miller from

Side post battery terminals are commonly used in GM vehicles. However, this is not to say that a top post battery and terminals cannot be converted on almost any vehicle. To remove the side post battery terminal is just as easy (if not easier) than removing the top post battery terminal clamp. Side post battery terminals employ a bolt-type terminal that secures the respective battery cable to the battery.

Step 1

Open the hood to the vehicle.

Step 2

Put on the safety goggles.

Step 3

Place a suitable sized box-end wrench or a ratchet and socket on the hex-head of the (black-wired) negative side post battery terminal (removing the negative terminal post first will minimize the occurrence of sparks flying from the battery terminal, which could result in igniting flammable hydrogen gases emitting from the battery vents). Many GMs use an 8mm or 5/16-inch wrench (although aftermarket or converted side posts terminals may take a much larger wrench or socket). Also some side post batteries, but not all, restrict using a ratchet and socket due to limited room between the terminal post and other engine components.

Step 4

Turn the wrench (or ratchet and socket) counterclockwise. Keep in mind that if the battery terminals are facing the engine compartment, the terminal bolt will require being loosened to the right (clockwise) in order to remove.

Isolate the battery terminal bolt from the battery so it does not come back into contact with the battery post while removing the positive (red-wired) battery terminal side post bolt in the same fashion. Some GM vehicles come equipped with a plastic cover for the positive battery terminal post to help prevent corrosion. If equipped, unsnap the cover by hand first.


  • If replacing or reinstalling the battery terminal clamps to the side posts of the battery, remember to install the positive (red-wired) side post terminal first and the negative (black-wired) side post terminal last (again, to minimize the chance of sparks). Some modern vehicles use a computer saver device plugged into the cigarette lighter or power saver in order to store the computer, theft deterrent radio code or factory installed car alarm system prior to removing battery terminals. Otherwise, radios or ignition systems will not work properly upon reconnecting the battery terminals.

Items you will need

  • Safety goggles
  • Box-end wrench set or ratchet and socket set

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