Someone once said, “A battery is like a piggy bank. If you keep taking out, and putting nothing back, you soon will have nothing.” Our auto repair shop knows just what this saying means. We often see customers coming in with dead car batteries and frequently, it is related to corroded battery cables. As one of our recent videos shows, corrosion eats away at the battery cable parts until there is very little left.
Battery cable maintenance
Unfortunately, lack of maintenance on battery cables is common. Irregular maintenance leads to corroded battery cables and causes bad connections. This interferes with power to other electrical components, such as the starter, alternator and fuse block.
How to detect corroded battery cables
Open your car’s hood and you may find a white or bluish powdery substance on the battery and cables. This is dried battery acid. When left there, it will corrode the battery terminal ends and the cable itself. Clean and check the battery cables at regular intervals to prevent damage.
Battery cable repair
In many cases, you can’t repair battery cables. Instead, they must be replaced as an assembly. In some cases, however, a mechanic can cut the corroded part of the cable and install a terminal end. This eliminates the need for replacing the cable assembly. Battery cables may last longer if they are routinely cleaned. There are several methods for cleaning corroded battery cables and terminals. One way is to put baking soda and water on them to neutralize the acid, and then use a wire brush battery post cleaner to clean off the acid and the dirt.
Signs of battery cable failure
There are many signs that indicate it’s time for battery cable replacement. Beyond a vehicle not starting at all, there may be a clicking noise during the process. Or, some electrical components such as the horn or radio may not work. If this is the case, schedule an appointment at your trusted repair shop for battery service. Eliminating malfunctioning or corroded battery cables will save you a lot of trouble down the road.