How to Repair a Car Battery Connectorby Michael Rippetoe
The connection of the battery cables in a car are essential to the proper operation of the vehicle. If the connectors become damaged or corroded, the connection may be lost with the battery. When the connection is lost, the vehicle may not start or the battery can die because it cannot receive a charge from the alternator. Either way, the proper cleaning and maintenance of a battery is necessary. However, when the connector becomes a problem, fixing it is something that can be done by a regular vehicle owner with little knowledge of automobiles.
Mix 5 tsp. baking soda with 1/2 cup warm water. This solution will be used to clean the battery terminals.
Pour the baking soda and water solution over the terminals of the battery. When the solution stops bubbling, any acidic corrosion on the terminals is neutralized.
Scrub the terminals clean on the battery and cables with the wire brush. This will help to ensure a proper connection for the new cable end.
Remove the broken connector from the battery. This can be done with the pliers or socket wrench depending on the style of connector.
Cut the broken end off the battery cable with the wire cutters. Some cables will be very thick and require large wire cutters to remove. Before cutting the cable, make sure there is enough cable to reach the terminal after the cable is cut.
Cut the sheathing away from the cable end to expose 1/2 inch of copper wire. This is done with the razor knife and pliers. Cut around the cable with the razor knife to score the sheathing and then pull the sheathing off the cable with the pliers.
Place the bare end of the cable in the clamp end of the new battery cable end. This is the end with the two bolts to tighten the plates around the cable.
Tighten the two bolts on the cable end. This will cause the plates to bend around the wire, giving a tight proper connection between the cable and the end. Make sure to use the proper socket for the bolts.
Attach the new end to the battery.
- Some battery cables will need total replacement instead of just the end.
- Gluing a penny to the top of the battery, in between the battery terminals, will limit the amount of corrosive buildup on the battery terminals.
Things You'll Need
- Warm water
- Baking soda
- Wire brush
- Wire cutters
- Razor knife
- Battery cable end--the type with bolts to connect the end to the cable
- Socket wrench set
- Some battery cables may be too short to cut and put new ends on--these will have to be replaced.
- Make sure the cable is long enough to cut before cutting.
- Larger cables will require a larger wire cutter, or in some cases a hacksaw or bolt cutters.
Michael Rippetoe has been writing for 15 years, and has recently decided to make it his career. He has been a journeyman carpenter, ASE Master Mechanic, certified irrigation professional and currently writes for this site, designs websites, and does professional photography. Rippetoe's articles appear on eHow, Garden Guides, AnswerBag and others.