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How to Know Which Is Positive and Negative on Car Battery? 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

Car batteries are an integral part of your vehicle. They ensure that your car runs smoothly without breaking down and if it does, knowledge of the car batteries and how they function can help you come out of a tricky situation with minimum help.

Even if you are not an expert, car batteries are color coded which eases their identification.

The color red is the positive terminal while the color black is the negative terminal when it comes to car batteries. Most batteries will also have + and - signs on the batteries to make identification even easier.

How to Tell Which Is Positive and Negative on Car Battery

In a car battery, the negative terminal is coded black and is connected to the minus sign of the battery. The positive terminal, on the other hand, is coded red and is connected to the plus sign of the battery.

Sometimes, there may be a plastic cover over the terminals, but those are also color coded for ease of identification. In any case, you should look out for a synergy between the color code and the positive and negative signs.

This way there would be no doubt that you have identified the terminals correctly.

How to Jumpstart a Car?

Good knowledge of the battery terminals goes a long way in helping you start a car battery. Before doing this, ensure you are safe throughout the process and you have the right jumper cables, which are not expensive or difficult to procure.

Starting a car is a simple procedure and let no one tell you otherwise. All you need to do is to first connect the positive cable, followed by connecting the negative cable to the battery and the engine.

  • Here are the steps you can follow:
  • Move the car close to the booster cables.
  • The jumper cables should be set in 1, 2, 3, 4 sequence.
  • Turn the donor car on and let it roar.
  • Finally, start the car with cables attached.

Keep the engine running and start removing the jumpers in reverse sequence.

How to Hook up Jumper Cables?

Hooked-up battery cables can lead to a number of issues such as cranking up of the engine, no power and the failure to kickstart the car. This is a common problem and happens to the best of people at all times. However, it is also easy to fix and put back in order.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First and foremost put your safety gear on. Protect your hands and eyes in particular.
  2. Attach the positive terminal of the jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Now attach the other end of the positive terminal to the positive terminal of the good battery.
  3. Repeat the same process for the negative terminal by connecting it to the negative terminal of the dead and the good battery simultaneously.
  4. Check if the connections are stable.
  5. Start the car with a good battery and let the engine speed up and let it be for some time.
  6. Now jumpstart the car with the dead battery.
  7. Once the engine is functional, disconnect the negative jumper connected to the ground and also remove the positive and negative cables from the good battery.
  8. Now remove the positive cable from the car.

Keep the engine running to allow the battery time to charge.

How to Maintain Your Car Battery?

Now that you know a bit more about the battery terminals and also how to start a car and unhook jumper cables, it is also worthwhile to know how to ensure that the battery remains functional for a long time.

A few tips and dedication can truly go a long way.

Switch the Battery on Regularly

Your car’s battery may lose its sheen if it is not functional for a long period of time. It is therefore recommended that you take your car for a ride at least once a week to ensure that the engine doesn’t get cranked. If the battery goes out of charge, you would have to jump-start it.

Keep the Battery Clean

This is a simple tip but one that goes a long way in maintaining your car’s battery life. If dirt assembles on the battery, it can drain it out completely without you even realizing it. Dirt has been known to cause short-circuiting.

Lastly, too much dirt can aid the corrosion of the battery terminals. Hence, make sure you use a brush to keep the battery terminals clean and dirt-free.

Keep the Battery Insulated

Insulated covers provide great protection to your car’s batteries. Therefore, you must ensure to keep your battery terminals wrapped under an insulation cover. In the long run, these are going to serve you well. Besides, the insulation covers can also be color-coded and will not impede identifying the battery terminals.

If Possible, Check the Heat Exposure of Your Battery

The shelf life of the battery is drastically compromised if the car is exposed to heat for prolonged periods. This is the reason it is always recommended to park your car in the shade or a garage as much as possible.

Sometimes, without you even realizing the damage done in the summer months will be carried forth in the winters leading to problems with your car’s battery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Know Which Side of a Battery Is Positive?

It is not difficult to ascertain which side of a car battery is positive. In most cases, it is already stamped on the case. So, the positive side of the battery will have a ‘+’ sign in almost all cases. It is also connected to the red side of the case to make matters clearer for you.

How Do You Tell Positive and Negative Terminals?

Telling positive and negative battery terminals is not complicated. The first point of identification is the signs ‘+’ and ‘-’ stamped on the case of the battery terminals. Besides, the ‘+’ or the positive terminal will also be colored red whereas the ‘-’ or the negative terminal is also color-coded black.

Which Part Of the Symbol of Battery Shows Positive and Negative Terminals?

The symbol of the battery that shows positive and negative terminals are as follows:

The thin, long line is the positive terminal of the battery.

The short, thick line is representative of the negative terminal of the battery.

How Do You Know Which Side of a Car Battery Is Positive?

Every car’s battery has a couple of metal terminals. The same goes for the jumper cable set with one terminal marked positive and the other negative. The positive terminal is the one that is coded red and is in most cases connected to the positive clip of the jumper cable. It can be marked as POS or ‘+’ and is also usually bigger than the negative terminal.

Is the Positive Terminal Always on the Left?

Mostly positive terminals are on the left but this is always not the case. It can vary depending on the place of manufacturing of the car. This is why instead of looking for right or left, one must identify the positive terminal by looking for the ‘+’ sign and the color red. This would be a surer and more thorough manner of identifying the positive terminal.

How Do You Know Which Is Positive and Which Is Negative?

The difference between the positive and negative terminals can be ascertained in two ways. Firstly, the positive terminal will be coded red and have a + sign displayed. The negative terminal will have - sign stamped on it and will be usually black in color. Sometimes, the negative terminal can be smaller than the positive one but that's not always the case.

The Final Word

Understanding the world of battery terminals is not as complex and daunting as it seems from a distance. It is quite straightforward with the positive battery being represented by the color red and the ‘+’ sign and the negative terminal being represented by the color black and the ‘-’ sign in most cars.

Knowledge of these variations and how batteries work can make a huge difference in taking you out of trouble in case your car breaks down en route somewhere!

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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