Side battery terminals are a fad that came and went--almost. Some car manufacturers are still installing them, but most have gone back to the post terminals on the top of the battery. Side terminals are hard to manipulate and the bolts that hold them on are tiny with threads that are easily stripped. You can convert your side terminals to post terminals, so follow the steps below and your side terminal blues will be over.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Terminal post converters
- Terminal clamp-on ends
- Goggles, safety glasses or face shield
- Electrical pliers/strippers
- Battery terminal protector spray
Obtain post terminal converters at your local auto parts store or by ordering them over the Internet. You will also need some new ends for the cables that attach to the battery posts.
Gather tools and personal protective equipment. Please note safety warnings below and follow them carefully.
Unhook the black negative cable from the side terminal with the engine off.
Disconnect the red positive cable from the battery.
Use electrical wire cutters to cut the old side terminal ends off both cables and strip the plastic insulation back about 1/2-inch on each.
Affix new ends on the cables that will enable you to convert them to a terminal post. Some ends will require soldering, but clamp on terminals are easier to use, you just have to ensure you clamp them tightly.
Replace both side terminal battery bolts with a post converter. You can get a small plug type or larger ones that extend above the top of the battery for ease of use.
Clamp the new terminal end on the red cable onto the larger positive post and attach the black cable to the smaller negative post, taking care not to touch your tools from one post to the other. If you do, there will be a spark that could cause the battery to explode, so be careful.
Tighten the terminals snugly and spray with a compound that retards corrosion.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear goggles or safety glasses with splash guards or a full face shield when working around batteries.
- Work outside or in adequately ventilated areas and don't smoke. Keep all sources of ignition away.
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