A dead battery can really throw a wrench in your plans, especially if you’re out of town or far away from home. When it comes to good battery care, the cables play an important role in ensuring proper vehicle operation. To maintain a healthy battery, you need to understand how these cables work and what can happen if they rust or corrode. Read on to discover some facts and tips about proper battery cable care and maintenance.
Caring for Your Cables
Most drivers don’t ever think about their battery cables, so it’s not uncommon that lack of maintenance can lead to serious problems later. Without good maintenance, your battery cables will corrode, causing a bad connection and a non-starting engine. When the cables are corroded, the power to other electrical components like your starter, fuse block, and alternator are impeded. You can easily check on the cables by opening the hood and looking for a white or blue-colored powdery substance. This substance indicates that there is dried battery acid left on the cables. If it sits too long, the terminals will corrode and disintegrate the cables themselves. You can prevent this from happening with regular cleanings.
Repairing Battery Cables
Depending on the level of damage, you may not be able to repair the battery cables at all. If that’s the case, you will need to replace them completely. Sometimes, your mechanic may be able to cut off the corroded part of the cables and install a brand-new terminal end. This process will get rid of the need to replace the entire cable assembly and can save you a bit of time and money. If you routinely clean your cables, they’ll last a lot longer and you won’t need to worry about repairs. Simply mix water and baking soda to neutralize the acid, and gently scrub the contacts using a wire brush or toothbrush.
Are Your Cables Failing?
There are a few tell-tale signs that could indicate car battery cable failure. Aside from your vehicle refusing to start, you might notice a strange clicking sound whenever you turn on the ignition. Other components of your electrical system like the radio or the horn might start to fail. If that happens, you should schedule an inspection as soon as possible to verify it’s the battery and not something more serious like the alternator. Fixing the issue as soon as you can could save you a lot of headaches later on.