Transferring the current from the battery to the starter and alternator is the job of the battery cables. Every time you try to start your car, the battery cables will have to deliver the power needed to fire off the engine. The cables are mounted to the battery. There is a positive cable and a negative cable. The positive cable usually runs to the starter, while the negative cable is mounted on the firewall of the vehicle.
Usually, a battery cable will last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. The battery cables that are on your car are used quite frequently. Due to this amount of use, it is easy for them to wear. Generally, when a battery cable is damaged, it will not be able to be repaired. Having the damaged cable replaced is the only way to ensure that the problems that you are experiencing are fixed. There are a number of different factors, such as corrosion, that can lead to a battery cable going bad.
Having the cable properly tested with a voltage meter is a surefire way to find out if it is in need of replacement. Without the cables working properly, it will nearly impossible to start your car when it is needed. In some cases, the problems with the battery cable can be fixed by cleaning off of the corrosion that is on them. The corrosion that forms on the cable can prohibit it from getting good contact with the battery posts. When repairs are needed to the battery cables on your care, you may notice signs like:
- The car will not start due to a bad connection
- The car will only make a clicking noise when you try to start it
- Various electrical components in the cab of the car are not working
- The cable has to be wiggled in order to make good connection with the battery
- There is visible damage to the cable
Having the cables inspected by a professional is the best way to ensure that the right repairs are done. Trying to operate a car with damaged battery cables can create a lot of instability that may lead to you not being able to drive the vehicle. With that being said, as soon as you notice any disturbance with your car starting, have an expert mechanic replace the battery cables.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Battery Cable Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.