The car battery is an essential component of your car. Without it, your car wouldn’t function. This is why you must regularly check and maintain the battery.
The terminal is one component of the battery that you need to maintain because it serves as the distribution point of electricity. With time, corrosion starts to form on it due to the acid fumes produced by the battery. This eventually results in a complete loss of electrical power.
You can avoid this by checking the terminals from time to time. Our guide explains everything you need to know about the car battery’s terminal maintenance and how to replace its clamps.
When Should You Replace the Battery Terminals?
The lifespan of a terminal varies. It depends on the amount of electricity generated by the battery and passed through the terminal. Car batteries are designed specifically for cars, therefore, are long-lasting. You can expect the terminal to function smoothly for 50,000 to 60,000 miles, even more, if you take proper care of it.
You should check the terminal once every one or two months for new batteries, and every other week for old ones. Look out for corrosion, a green and white powder-like substance, forming on it.
It would be best if you cleaned the corrosion off when you see it start to form. It builds up with time, impacting the terminal’s functionality.
Which Type of Battery Terminal Clamp Should You Use?
Now that we have covered the importance of the terminal let’s discuss the clamps. The clamps attach to the terminal, picking up and transferring the electricity produced by the battery. It serves as a channel that takes the electricity and transfers it through to the car, with a cable help.
It would help if you made sure that the clamp fastens tight and doesn’t corrode easily. If you are in the market for new terminal clamps, you should consider the following:
Fastronix Military Spec Battery Terminal
This terminal comes with clamps that form a tight connection with the battery post. It is made out of lead alloys, which ensures longevity and resistance again corrosion. The terminal is commonly used for race and off-road vehicles, so you know it gets the job done.
You should read the terminal specifications and make sure that its clamps are suitable for your car batteries since it isn’t compatible with all types of batteries.
Cllena Military Style Battery Terminal
This terminal kit comes with tightening screws on the clamp, making sure it stays in place once fitted. The terminal is made out of conductive alloy steel, which fights rust and corrosion.
You commonly find this terminal used in all types of passenger cars, from sedans to SUVs.
Stock up on the right type of Battery Terminal Clamp you shoud use at Amazon:
Cllena Military Battery Terminal
How to Replace Your Car Battery’s Terminal Clamps
Before you can start the replacement process, you need the following tools:
- A ratchet
- A wire cutter
- A knife or wire strippers
- Sockets for your new terminal clamps
- The new clamps
The Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Start by making sure your car is powered off.
Step 2: Loosen the bolts on the battery clamps and disconnect them from the battery. Make sure you do one clamp at a time; doing both simultaneously could result in the battery shocking you.
Step 3: You now have to cut the clamps from the wire. Use the wire cutter to snip it off. If the clamp is screwed onto the wire, unscrew it to remove it.
If you decide to cut the wire, make sure not to take too much off; just cut it at the point where the clamp ends, and the wire begins. Keep the positive and negative wire apart and remember which, so there is no confusion when putting the wire back onto the battery.
Step 4: Remove the rubber, insulation, the part around the top end of the wire. This will expose the wire to connect to the clamp, so it can serve its purpose to receive and transport the electricity produced by the battery.
To determine how much insulation you need to cut, place the clamp on the wire. Be extra careful when cutting the insulation. You don’t want to snip off the wires along with it.
Step 5: Now, take the sandpaper and clean up the top exposed part of the wire. This removes any tarnish from it.
Step 6: Take the wire and insert it into the new clamps. Once it is in, tighten the bolts, so the clamp is securely attached.
Step 7: Once again, take the sandpaper and scrub up the battery terminal. This ensures you have a good connection when you attach the clamp to it.
Step 8: Finally, put the clamps on to the terminal, one clamp at a time. Tighten the screw on the clamp to securely keep it in place.
The clamp replacement process is really simple, and you don’t need any mechanical knowledge to do it. The process should take you between 5-10 minutes, depending on how good you are with the tools. Be sure to wear gloves and take all safety measures to ensure you don’t shock or cut yourself.
How To Maintain Battery Terminal
Many car owners ignore the battery and its terminal, which results in the battery eventually giving problems. Here are some tips to help make sure you can keep your battery in shape for years.
- You should clean your battery terminal from time to time. Especially if you notice any corrosion starting to form on it.
- To clean the terminal, you can use a mix of baking soda and water. Disconnect the clamps and wires from the terminal, and with a toothbrush, scrub the terminal clean using the mixture.
- After cleaning or before attaching a new terminal clamp, you can rub a petroleum jelly layer on the terminals. The substance lubricates the terminal, prevents corrosion, and improves the strength of the connection.
FAQs Related to Battery Terminal Replacement
How much does it cost to have the battery terminal replaced?
The cost of battery terminal replacement varies and depends on the following:
- Will you make the replacement on your own or have an auto mechanic do it?
The cost is going to go up if you have a mechanic do the work. They will charge extra for their services, starting at around $100. The cost varies depending on the battery.
- The terminal you end up buying.
The price of a terminal varies depending on its material and what is included. You can expect to spend anywhere between $15 – 30 for quality terminals.
You can save up a lot if you follow our guide and decide to do the replacement yourself.
How long does it take to replace the battery terminals?
As we stated before, the process should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It isn’t very complicated, and anyone can do it.
Can I use coke to clean battery terminals?
Yes, you can use coke instead of the baking soda and water mixture to clean corrosion from battery terminals. The contents in a coke do not react to the acid present in the battery, so it is safe to use it for this purpose.
How do I know if my car’s battery terminals are loose?
You can inspect the terminals with your car turned off to see if they quickly move around when you try to move them. Test one terminal at a time by grabbing the wire and wiggling it a little to see if the clamps move or not. If they move, it means your terminals are loose.
As a car owner, it is on you to ensure that the battery is in shape. You should check the terminals every 6-8 months to make sure that it is tight and there is no corrosion formation. After all, the last thing you want is to face any battery problem when you are out on the road.
Read more about How to Reconnect a Car Battery After Replacing Battery Terminals