Battery Terminal Replacement: The Ultimate How To

We have all gone through the unfortunate experience of discovering that the battery in our car is dead. It is inevitable to avoid having to replace your car battery throughout the lifetime of your vehicle. For the majority of car owners, after failing to jump start their dead battery, they assume the only option left for them is to purchase and install a new battery. Although it is common for batteries to fail due to age, around every 2-5 years on average, you might want to consider checking your battery connections first before spending hundreds on a replacement. 


A vehicle that has faulty battery cables can damage other electrical components of your vehicle. It is best to identify and resolve the root cause of the problem as soon as possible to avoid additional vehicle downtime and additional costs in the future. 


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the condition of your car’s battery, call AG Automotive and schedule an appointment with our team of expert automotive technicians today!


Why is a car battery important?


A car’s battery is an integral component and has various responsibilities that are vital to a vehicle’s operation. Two copper wire cables coated in red and black rubber coating are connected to the battery’s extruding terminals. The red cable is the positive connection and is attached to the alternator, which powers the ECU (engine control module), ignition, lights and various other electrical components. The black cable is the negative connection and is attached to the body of the car for grounding. Without good working battery cables, your vehicle can not be operated. 


How to identify a faulty battery connection vs a dead battery that needs replacement: 

Faulty battery connection:

  • Your car’s interior lighting dims
  • Your engine is slow to crank
  • Your engine stalls if it isn’t moving
  • Corrosion is built up around the terminals
  • Positive/negative wires show wear & tear or exposed wiring 


Dead battery that needs replacement:

  • Your battery is older than 4+ years
  • Hear a clicking noise while turning the key but the engine won’t start
  • If your car dies after a successful jump
  • Battery dies a few days after a successful jump
  • The battery smells odd

What components of a car battery are most likely to fail?


  • The cables:


Both of the positive and negative battery cables work in tandem to create a complete circuit that links the battery to the various electrical components within your vehicle and provide them with the adequate amount of electricity needed to function. If either one of the two wires fails, the circuit will break and can no longer provide electricity to your vehicle. When this happens, it may seem like your battery is dead even if it is brand new and fully charged. 


How do you know if it’s the cable that’s causing the problem? You can easily inspect the cables and identify the signs of wear and tear. Here are a few things you should look for before dropping a couple hundred on a new battery and maintenance costs:


Common wear and tear:

  • Visible damage to the cables- breaks, cracks, holes, burn or scorch marks
  • The cables feel brittle 
  • Cables have exposed wires- copper 
  • Loose connection between the cables and terminals


  • Lead terminals:


The battery itself resides within the hard-plastic box. The only way to tap into and access that energy is through the positive and negative lead terminals. Located on opposite sides of the battery, these two gumdrop-shaped silver pegs allow us to access the energy created by the chemical reactions occurring within the cells of the battery. The terminals provide a way for us to tap into the energy stored within the cells while providing the sensitive chemicals and metal plates inside the cells a form of protection from the harsh outside elements. The red and black cables running from the terminals to the . Without the terminals, you basically have a 40lb paper weight with a fully functional battery on the inside.


The terminal ends are clamps that hold the ends of the battery cables in place on the terminal leads. They can deteriorate over time and break the circuit between the positive & negative terminals and the alternator. If they appear to have  been worn down or broken, you will need to replace them. 


One of the most common problems people see over the lifetime of their battery is the build up of corrosion around the battery terminals and ends. Corrosion typically takes on the appearance of powder or flakes and is white/green in color. Corrosion is the result of the chemical reactions that take place within the cells to create the positive charge that powers your vehicle’s various electrical components. During that process, hydrogen gas is released from the battery acid. When the hydrogen gas comes into contact with the metal terminals, another chemical reaction takes place, which creates the layers of corrosion. The problems start when there is so much corrosion built-up that the particles get in between the terminal ends and the terminals. In turn, limiting the efficiency at which electricity can flow through the terminals and to the alternator- causing a notable decrease in power output from the battery. 


Luckily for the vehicle owner, they can potentially save themselves hundreds of dollars by cleaning up the corrosion instead of purchasing a brand new battery if the corrosion isn’t too severe. It is important to note that wiping away the corrosion is a temporary solution to solving your battery problems. The formation of corrosion is a common occurrence, but is typically an indication that it is time to replace your battery. But you should be able to extend the lifespan of your battery by periodically checking and cleaning the corrosion to make sure the corrosion doesn’t eat away your terminals. 


Schedule a battery connection or replacement service with our expert mechanics at AG Automotive today!


If you have noticed that your battery is 4+ years old and keeps dying after a couple days, Ag Automotive will have you back on the road in no time after we identify that your vehicle needs a battery connection or replacement service. Our expert technicians have the tools and knowledge to fix faulty battery connections and replace your car’s battery quickly and efficiently if needed.


We want the job to be done right the first time, so we ensure your battery is working properly and exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications after our service is complete. We offer our customers a full service inspection and service of their battery connections and replacement batteries so they can get back out on the road and drive with confidence knowing their vehicle was serviced by the best. 


We offer our customers a full-service battery connection or replacement service which includes:


  1. Install memory saver before removing battery connections and check radio station presets
  2. Clean and service all battery connections
  3. Clean top of battery(s)
  4. Check battery fluid level (If applicable)
  5. Check and re-torque battery hold downs
  6. Check battery(s) surface charge and load test battery/s (Individually)
  7. Replace battery bolts & nuts as needed
  8. Apply battery coat to seal connections
  9. Start and run vehicle 
  10. Check for proper time on clock & radio presets
  11. Quality Check
Don’t Second-Guess the Condition of Your Vehicle

Many auto owners struggle to know if the right work was done the right way on their car. As a courtesy, we provide digital vehicle inspections and photos so you can quickly and easily see what our experienced, professional technicians are seeing. Overall, we go the extra mile to help you make informed decisions on the repair and maintenance plan of your vehicle, so you can drive with confidence every time you get behind the wheel.