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How to Repair a Battery Cable

by Justin Cupler

A bad battery cable can make you think that your vehicle has serious problems. A faulty cable can make it difficult for you to start your vehicle, cause your car to run poorly or stall in the middle of a long trip. A battery cable can break or become corroded,or the terminal end can go bad. You should not attempt to repair a broken or corroded battery cable, although you can repair the terminal end of the cable. It's relatively easy to replace the cable or repair the terminal end.

Replacing Positive Cables

Step 1

Remove the negative and positive cables from the battery using a wrench.

Step 2

Trace the positive cable back to where it meets the fuse block.

Step 3

Remove the nut that holds the positive cable to the fuse block. Pull the cable off the fuse block.

Step 4

Place a new positive cable on the fuse block. Tighten it down snugly.

Step 5

Attach the cable to the battery by sliding it over the positive terminal.

Tighten the positive terminal with a wrench until snug. Reattach the negative terminal and tighten it.

Replacing Negative Cables

Step 1

Remove the negative cable from the battery using a wrench to loosen the nut. Pull the cable off.

Step 2

Trace the negative cable to where it connects to the body of your vehicle.

Step 3

Loosen the ground nut using a ratchet and a socket. Remove the ground wire and inspect the body ground to make sure it's clean.

Step 4

Put the new ground cable on to the body ground and tighten the nut until it is snug.

Step 5

Run the new cable the same way as the old one. Reattach all cable holders as well.

Place the new negative cable on the negative terminal of the battery. Tighten down the terminal end of the cable using a wrench. Start the vehicle to verify a good connection.

Repairing Terminal Ends

Step 1

Detach the terminal from the battery by loosening the nut. Lift the terminal off the battery.

Step 2

Cut off the terminal end with wire cutters. Make sure you cut the cable flush with the bad terminal end.

Step 3

Strip about 1/2 an inch of the battery cable with the wire stripper. Place the cable under the hold-down tab of the new terminal end. Tighten the hold-down tab on the terminal until the battery cable is securely in the terminal end.

Reattach the new terminal on the battery. Tighten the terminal snugly.


  • Do not attempt to splice in wire on a battery cable. Always replace the entire cable.

Items you will need

  • Wire cutters
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical tape
  • Ratchet
  • Socket
  • Combination wrench set
  • Positive battery cable
  • Negative battery cable
  • Universal terminal end

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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Photo Credits

  • dead battery image by Katrina Miller from