Do you find it hard to remove your crimped car battery terminals? Well, this means that the crimping was done well.
While this means the connections are securely tightened, you can still remove them without damaging them. All you need to do is follow this tutorial on how to remove the crimped battery terminal without much fuss.
Table of Contents
- General – Gloves, eye protection
- Option 1 – Wire cutters
- Option 2 – Screwdriver
- Option 3 – 2 adjustable wrenches (and another person to help you)
- Option 4 – Rubber gloves, water
- Option 5 – WD 40
- Eye protection
- If terminals are corroded – wire brush, baking soda and water solution OR terminal spray cleaner, anti-corrosive spray, paper towels
- Connector gauge
- cable gauge
- Sharp cable cutters
- Cable stripper
- Heat shrink tubing
- Crimping tool
- Heat gun
How to Remove Crimped Car Battery Terminals
Here’s how to remove your crimped battery terminals:
Step 1. Turn the Car Off
Since you are going to be removing components, you must turn the car off. Not only will this keep you safe – this will prevent damage as well. Remember: a car battery with little charge can break down when its crimped terminals are removed.
Likewise, you should remember to remove all the fuses connected to the battery. That way, you don’t end up running electrical components as you try to remove the crimped terminal.
Step 2. Inspect the Car Battery
It’s also prudent to inspect both battery terminals. You should check for cracks or damages that can prevent you from doing this project safely.
For example, if the metal part around the cable end is showing, then you should avoid the wire cutter method. Instead, you should proceed with the other options.
Step 3. Removed the Crimped Terminal
There are 5 ways you can try when removing a crimped battery terminal:
- Option 1: With Wire Cutters
If you can’t pull a crimped terminal from its starter or alternator cable, then the best course is to use wire cutters.
If the terminal appears structurally sound, then you can go ahead and cut the terminal with the wire cutter.
- Option 2: With a Screwdriver
If you don’t like the idea of cutting cables, then you can always use a screwdriver to disconnect the terminal.
According to this video, all you need to do is pry the terminal with a screwdriver until it gets loose. As you do so, make sure to tug/pull the connection until you’re able to remove it.
This procedure will take some time, so be patient!
- Option 3: With an Adjustable Wrench
Using an adjustable wrench is a two-man task. And, once you’ve got your tool and comrade ready, you can proceed with the steps below.
- Use the wrench to hold the cable at your end.
- Place another wrench against the first wrench to tighten them up.
- Ask your colleague to turn the wrench’s handle. As for your part, you need to hold it tight.
- The crimping should turn loose after a few minutes. Once this occurs, you can remove the terminal without much difficulty.
- Option 4: With a Rubber Solution
If your wire cutter or adjustable wrench doesn’t work – or if the battery posts are longer – then you can use rubber gloves. I mean, you can use the insides of it to make a solution.
To do this, you need to:
- Add some water inside to create a liquid called glove juice.
- Apply this solution to the crimped terminal.
- Slowly pull the connection gently and firmly to stretch it. With the right force, the battery terminal should pop out immediately.
- Option 5: With WD-40
WD-40 is a penetrating oil that functions as a lubricant, moisture displacer, and rust preventer. And, given its many uses, WD-40 can help you remove a crimped terminal as well.
Using WD-40 is similar to that glove juice. You have to:
- Apply WD-40 on the crimped terminal.
- Pull the connection gently and firmly. With the right amount of stretch, you should be able to remove the terminal after a few pulls.
Pro tip: This method – as well as the rubber solution option – should only be done if there is no corrosion around the battery terminal.
How to Replace Battery Terminals
Now I bet that you are looking to remove your crimped terminal because you want to replace it. The best way to proceed is to follow these steps:
Step 1. Clean the Terminals
If there is minor corrosion on the cable ends, then use a wire brush to neutralize the battery acid. You can apply a baking soda and water cleaning solution or a terminal spray cleaner on the affected areas. Dry the cleaned terminals with a paper towel.
Pro tip: Make sure to coat the terminals with anti-corrosion spray.
Step 2. Identify the Right Connector and Cable Gauges
Both gauges are stamped or imprinted which means you’ll have an easy time identifying which is which.
As you see, red connectors fit gauges 16 to 22. Blue is for 14 to 16 gauges, while yellow is for 10 to 12 gauges.
Step 3. Cut the Cable
Use a sharp material to cut the table. Make sure the end is flush as you do so.
Step 4. Strip the Cable
Do this in a way that you get the right length (ideally 1 inch.)
Avoid stripping the cable too short for the crimp won’t get to hold well. Similarly, don’t strip the cable too long for you’ll expose much of it. This ‘bare’ area will end up corroding in the long run.
Step 5. Place Heat Shrink Tubing
Heat shrink tubing will help prevent corrosion and provide strain relief at the same time. Additionally, this rubber insulation can help you identify the negative battery terminal from the positive terminal.
To use this, slide the tubing into the cable.
Step 6. Insert the Cable Strands Into the Barrel
Make sure that all the strands are inside to ensure a stronger crimp. Even if some of them are damaged, their sheer amount wouldn’t affect the required crimp density.
Step 7. Crimp the Cable
Set the crimping tool so that its dies match the connector and the cable. Place the connector in the die and fully crimp it.
You know you’ve done a full crimp if your tool has closed or cycled. Remember: you have to make sure that this happens for an incomplete crimp will not hold the copper cable in place.
When inspecting the crimp, it should appear swaged or cold-formed. There shouldn’t be much space inside the crimp. If there is, then it means the cables are lacking.
The connector, on the other hand, should not be too deformed.
Pro tip: Although the crimp may appear loose, it’s actually okay. A sharp-edge crimp is not advisable for its edges may end up cutting through the wires.
Step 8. Seal the Heat Shrink Cable
Move the heat-shrink material over the barrel and use a heat gun to apply quick heat to it. This should seal the tubing into place.
Step 9. Test the Crimp
Try to pull the connector to see if the crimp is indeed secure.
A crimp is considered defective if:
- The crimps are soft or missing
- The strands or ears are absent
- Some wires or terminals are missing
- Debris is caught in the terminal
- The wire gauge is incompatible
- Placement is incorrect
Step 10. Connect the Cable to the Battery
Once you have crimped the terminals, you can reconnect them to their proper components. Turn your car on to see if you’ve attached the connections correctly.
What are the Advantages of Crimping?
Crimping, when done correctly, will create a pressure that causes the metals to flow. This helps weld the connector and the wire, thus making the terminal tight and less prone to failure.
Crimping also makes the terminal environmentally resistant, this will protect the battery terminal connectors from corrosion over time.
Crimping is also faster to do, which is perfect if you’re a beginner. All you need to do is use a crimping tool – and that’s it!
Which is Better – Crimping or Soldering a Battery Cable?
Crimping is deemed better than soldering, which is the process of using heated metal to join the battery terminals. That’s because this metal will degrade and damage the connection over time.
Crimping is easier too. There’s no need for a heated soldering material, as all you need is a crimping tool to secure the battery terminal.
Technically, crimped connections are more robust. There is no wicking, and there is no alloy is used. This metal, after all, is necessary for soldering wires.
Health-wise, crimping is considered superior to soldering. It doesn’t require toxic materials, high heat, and aggressive cleaning practices.
To remove a crimped battery terminal, you may use a:
- Wire cutter
- Adjustable wrench
- Rubber gloves solution
Before using these materials, however, you will need to turn off your car and inspect the battery for signs of damage. That way, you can prevent any untoward accidents as you try to remove the connections.
As you see, you can remove a crimped battery terminal like a pro. But if you need more help in the process, feel free to ask your questions below.