Your auto battery is at the heart of your vehicle’s electrical system. Without it, your car or truck won’t start. Even if the connections to your battery are loose, you may experience some significant issues. Of course, if you ever work on your vehicle, you may find yourself regularly disconnecting the battery for safety.
You can tighten battery cables with a wrench. Most vehicles are designed to use a 10-millimeter wrench on the bolts that hold the cables in place.
If you think they may be loose, locate the battery and visually inspect the battery. If it is dirty or corroded, you can wipe it off with a rag being careful to avoid touching both terminals at the same time.
Give each cable a gentle jiggle near the terminal. If they appear to be loose, you can tighten them one at a time. If there is any corrosion, you can disconnect the battery (starting with the negative terminal) and clear it off. However, it may be worth replacing the battery instead. You can easily order a new one from your favorite auto parts website or store using a VIN checker to find the right battery type and size.
What Problems Can a Loose Battery Connection Cause?
You may notice a variety of electrical issues if your battery is loose. The following are the most common symptoms:
- Trouble Starting: The most common issue is that your vehicle won’t start at all. You turn the key and nothing happens. Alternatively, the vehicle may have difficulty starting or start then stall.
- Low Voltage to Accessories: Various accessory systems on your vehicle are powered by the electrical system. This includes the heating and air conditioning, the headlights and the infotainment system.
- Heat: You likely won’t notice this without inspecting the battery; however, when the negative cable is connected poorly, it may experience extra resistance. This can generate heat at the terminal and along the cable.
As vehicles are increasingly managed by computers and other electronics, it is likely that a bad connection could cause a wide range of problems with your vehicle. Many vehicles will turn on a warning light indicating that there is a problem with the electrical system. Avoid driving if this light is on and address the problem promptly.
What Wires Are Connected To a Car Battery?
There are three major connections to your car battery. Two of them are the cables that connect the battery into the electrical system, the positive and negative cables. Additionally, there is a tie-down that holds the battery in place.
Like any electrical circuit, electricity is flowing through the positive and negative (aka ground) cables. If they aren’t connected well, there will be a bad connection to the vehicle’s electrical system, resulting in the above issues and more.
Work on Your Vehicle Today
Are you ready to work on your vehicle? One of your first tasks could be changing an old battery. Pick up the necessary items today such as wrenches and a replacement battery. You may also consider a battery charger just in case you let your battery die.