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Failing Battery Terminal Ends: Can You Fix It?

how to know if car battery is bad

Car owners don’t usually mind their car battery and its terminals unless they begin experiencing starting issues. One of the problems that can cause this is failing battery terminal ends. The battery terminal end is an important car component since it connects the entire electrical system to your car battery, through the battery cables. You will know if you have failing battery terminal ends when you experience issues such as difficulty starting your car, visible corrosion on your car battery, and electrical power loss or reduction.

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Can you fix failing battery terminal ends? When you check your failing battery terminal ends and notice that they are worn or broken, you will have to replace them. It can be done by cutting the ends of the battery cables as close to the connecting point as possible by using a wire cutter. If you don’t want to cut them or if the battery cable insulation has become damaged, you can just replace the entire battery cable. Replacing the failing battery terminal ends with new ones will usually cost somewhere between $80 and $150, depending on the mechanic or shop, and your car’s make and model.



Failing Battery Terminal Ends: What is a Battery Terminal End?



Electrical problems in your car can be a hassle since it means that there is no way your car is going anywhere. These problems are usually caused by the car battery, but there are instances where the problem is caused by a faulty alternator, fuses, starter, wires, or connections. But other possible causes of these electrical problems are failing battery terminal ends.


But what is a battery terminal end? As mentioned earlier, a battery terminal end is an important car component that plays an important role in connecting the electrical system of the entire car to the battery through the battery cables. The battery terminal ends are made to be sturdy and durable. It is usually made of heavy-duty, highly conductive metal with low electrical resistance such as lead.


So basically, the battery terminal end is the connection point between your car’s entire electrical system and your car battery. Should any problems with the battery terminal ends occur, the entire electrical system of your car may suffer. Experts are recommending that the moment you notice signs of falling battery terminal ends, you need to have it checked immediately and have the problem corrected.



Failing Battery Terminal Ends: What Happens When Battery Terminals are Bad?




Since the battery terminal ends are responsible for connecting the entire electrical system of a car to the car battery via the battery cables, when they go bad, the car’s electrical system can suffer and experience some issues. You will know if your car has failing battery terminal ends when you experience any of the following symptoms.


  • Difficulty starting the car.


When it seems that it is very difficult to start your car, then it can be an indication that you have failing battery terminal ends. You may notice that when you turn your car key in the ignition or when you push the ignition button, you only hear a long crank or maybe not hear anything at all and the car won’t start.


You can try to open your car’s hood up and inspect the battery terminals. You need to look for any signs of corrosion on the electrical contacts connecting to the car battery. This problem can also be caused by a loose battery terminal, making your car stall and this is an obvious sign that you have some electrical issues.


If you notice that your car tends to start sluggish but the outside temperature is not too low, then the problem is not to be blamed on extreme cold, but to your battery terminal. The difficulty in starting your car is due to its battery not providing enough electrical power to start your engine.


As you checked your battery terminals and you found any signs of corrosion, then it is what’s causing the problem. Corrosion developing along the battery terminals can interfere with the connection, making it difficult for you to start your car. You may also experience other issues such as rapid clicking when you turn your keys, or slow cranking.


  • The electrical power reduction or loss.


Another symptom of failing battery terminal ends is an obvious reduction or loss of the car’s electrical power. You may notice that the lights of your car may flicker or fade all of a sudden. You may also notice that your audio or navigation system slows down, or your dashboard becomes dim.


Under normal conditions, all properly working electrical systems of the car should have headlights that are shining brightly. The other electrical systems such as the dashboard, audio systems, and the navigation system should also work properly and smoothly. This goes to show that when you experience sudden loss or reduced electrical power, you may have failing battery terminal ends.


This problem and other electrical issues can be caused by a severely corroded terminal or by a severely damaged terminal. This can happen when the battery terminal can no longer make a good electrical contact and this may also lead to a total loss of power. If the terminals are severely corroded, a battery terminal end replacement will not suffice. You will have to replace the entire battery terminal.


  • Corrosion on the battery.


If you are having electrical system problems on your car, you can visually inspect your car battery as well as its terminals and terminal ends. If you spot that your car battery has corroded, then it is most likely that your battery terminal ends will have issues as well.


Corrosion can occur when the battery terminals are in direct contact with the car battery and they have been exposed to the acidic fumes from the battery acid. This should not be the case since corrosion has a negative impact on the car battery terminal’s ability to conduct power. In severe cases, it can also block the flow of the electricity completely.


It is for this reason why the experts are recommending that car owners should inspect their car battery terminals on a regular basis and check for any signs of corrosion, or when they experience starting issues on their cars. If your car battery and its terminals are corroded, you will usually see blue or white powder deposited on any areas on the car battery terminals or along the battery cables. If you spot these blue or white powder deposits, have your car checked and repaired right away to prevent any further damage.



Failing Battery Terminal Ends: How Do You Fix a Battery Cable End?



You now know the symptoms of failing battery terminal ends. When you experience any of those symptoms, such as turning the ignition switch and car won’t start or a loss or reduction of electrical power, your next question would probably be, how do you fix a battery cable end?


So how do you fix failing battery ends? You can fix the problems by doing the following steps.


  • Find your car battery.


When you experience or notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should inspect your car battery right away. To do this, you need to find your car battery and investigate. Open the hood since your battery can usually be found there, but if not, it could be found in the trunk or under your rear seat.


Once you have located your vehicle’s battery, check the battery terminal ends that meet the battery posts. Many battery terminal ends have covers so you will have to lift their covers and check for any signs of corrosion. If you see signs of corrosion, then it could be the reason why you have troubles starting your car and why it has weak lights and other electrical problems.


  • Disconnect the car battery.


Next step is to disconnect your car battery. You can do this by loosening the clamps that put the failing battery terminal ends in place. Make sure that you start with the negative clamp first and then the positive clamp after. Do not touch other metal parts while you are disconnecting the battery terminal ends to avoid shorting out the car battery.


  • Clean the battery posts and battery terminal ends if corrosion is present.


If the symptoms of failing battery terminal ends are caused by corrosions in areas where the terminal ends meet the battery posts, then cleaning it thoroughly might be able to help get rid of the issue. You can clean these components by choosing a good cleaning agent and applying it to them. Once done, you can then rinse and wipe the connection points until they are all dry before you reconnect them to put them back in place.


  • Inspect the battery cables.


After cleaning your battery posts and battery terminal ends from corrosion and you still experience starting problems or electrical issues, you may have to replace your failing battery terminal ends or the entire cable itself. You should inspect your cables and look closely for any signs of wear and if needed, replace the parts.


  • Replace the failing battery terminal ends.


If you have inspected your battery terminal ends and you notice that they seem to be worn or broken, you will have to replace them. To replace the failing battery terminal ends, you will have to cut or separate the ends of the cables by using a wire cutter.If possible, when you cut them, make sure that each cut is close to the connecting points.


After that, strip away approximately one inch of cable insulation so you can have access to the wires. You can do this step by using a utility knife. If you spot corrosion on the wire’s ends, use the said utility knife or a sandpaper to get rid of the build up, and then wipe them away with a clean rag.


Once done and everything is clean, you can then replace the failing battery terminal ends with the new ones. To do this, you just have to stick the cable into the new battery terminal end until it can no longer go further. Then tighten and secure both nuts and with your one hand firmly holding onto one terminal end, tug on the cable using your other hand to make sure that the connection is tight and secure. Once done with the first one, repeat this step with the other cable and connector.


To connect the battery terminal ends, you need to place the positive terminal first and then the negative terminal after. You will then have to secure them in place and then snap each of the battery terminal’s covers.


Another way to fix failing battery terminal ends is by replacing the entire battery cable. You can do this option when you notice that your cable insulation has been damaged, or when you have cut the battery cables’ ends too short, making it not able to reach the battery terminals.


  • Test and check if everything is working properly.


After everything has been put back in place, you can check if the previous issues and symptoms of failing battery terminal ends have been corrected. To confirm if the cleaning or the replacing of the battery terminal ends is a success, turn on your engine, turn on the lights, and adjust the audio or navigation system. If everything is working properly and smoothly, then it’s a success.


However, if you still experience electrical or starting issues, then maybe the problem lies on the car battery itself. You will have to test your car battery by using a multimeter in order to determine the strength of your battery. You should get a reading of 12.4 volts or higher to determine that your battery is working fine. If you get a lower reading, then it can mean that your battery needs to be replaced.




If you have failing battery terminal ends, you need to have them cleaned or replaced immediately. It is important that you have a good working battery terminal ends since they function as the connection point between the electrical system of your car and the battery.


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