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Bad Battery Terminals-Can Impact the cars starting performance!

bad battery terminals

Bad Battery Terminals

Yes it certainly can affect starting.

I can always remember when I was an apprentice mechanic. One day my pals and I wanted to go and visit girlfriend. She was on holiday in a Yorkshire resort . I love my Yorkshire and so I asked my dad if I could borrow his Vauxhall Victor car.

So, this was one of my first girlfriends and I am afraid it did not last very long. Dad let me borrow his car and two friends and I set off to the caravan site in Filey. Filey is a pretty seaside town close by to Scarborough. Scarborough was made famous by “Simon and Garfunkel’s” version of the song “Scarborough Fare”

bad battery terminals
bad battery terminals

Vauxhall battery was playing up a bit

Dad filled the car up for me. So, on setting off he left me a note to say that the battery was playing up a bit. However it should be fine for our trip to the coast.

Dads car had a radio fitted but it very rarely picked up any radio stations (that’s how things were in the 60,s and 70,s ) . I was living in the age of the “pirate radio stations” playing non stop pop music from ships moored of the East coast. Consequently, this would allow us to pick up these stations as we approached the coast.

In the 1970,s the only route to Scarborough would take us through York. This would mean stop start traffic for a good hour at least. Eventually dads Vauxhall Victor would come to a stop. hence, when I turned the key there was nothing there.

Fortunately, there was a small garage within pushing distance of where we stopped.

Explaining to the owner/mechanic that we had no money I begged him for some help as we were well and truly stuck. As an apprentice mechanic I felt ashamed that I never even lifted the bonnet (hood) to have a look for myself.

Luckily the guy spotted the problem straight away. So, one of the battery terminals was well worn away. Thank Goodness I thought! Because I knew that we could not afford a new battery in the middle of York.

The mechanic could hear what we were saying and joked that it would be £10 to repair the car. This was a fortune in the 1970’s ! However he could not keep a straight face and the incident concluded with him fitting us a second hand battery terminal for free ! What a kind guy.

Car started and we were on our way

I never admitted that I was an apprentice mechanic. Thus, I would have felt silly that I did not diagnose the problem. My mates and I finally got to Filey only to find the girls fooling about with some other boys from the caravan site.

We ended up in Scarborough and I did not talk to her again. Finally dad was pleased that the battery problem was now fixed and another adventure came to and end.

Of course a corroded battery terminal can become less affective.

Especially if the bad battery terminals is also contaminated by a coating of dirt and acid oxidation. Consequently, this will cause an electrical resistance on that particular terminal connection.

Fundamentally, battery terminals should be kept clean and dirt free. So, a badly worn terminal would affect the amount of amps that your battery should deliver to the starter motor. Starting will inevitably become more difficult as the ineffective terminal will hinder the cranking power needed to start the car.

So, a loose terminal will eventually start to build up a layer of crystalized acid and become very dirty causing a resistance in the cranking required to start your vehicle.

bad battery terminals

What is Resistance?

So when starting your car then the starter has to draw a large current from the battery. Of course this is the largest amount of electrical load to be placed on to your cars lead acid battery. Consequently, the terminals must be in tip-top condition to facilitate this.

Acid corrosion will form on the battery posts and create bad battery terminals and connections. So, creating a resistance of the current flow when starting your car. Resistance builds up heat, reducing the voltage amount that’s required for your starter motor to work correctly. Another point is that the battery requires constant charging to operate at full power. Dirty bad battery terminals hinder the charging effect.

This is why, periodically, you need to remove the battery cable clamps and clean both the clamps and the bad battery terminals together. So, finally I do think that this information is pretty basic stuff! However you would be surprised at the number of cars that are presented to us for servicing that do have well corroded battery terminals. Acid corrosion can easily be removed successfully. For the purpose of cleaning you can use warm water or a good result comes from using Coca-Cola.

eric roberts
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