Are Battery Terminal Covers Necessary? (Do This!)

Anytime I visit my car expert for battery terminal cleaning or repair, they must install battery terminal covers. This is the case for even people wanting to buy batteries from them. In fact, the guys insist on having terminal covers installed on every battery.

While the terminal caps are not absolutely necessary, they help reduce the maintenance needed for cleaning terminals. They can also prevent damage to your battery caused by corrosion from acid.

This article looks into battery terminal covers and why they’re necessary. Here’s an article outline of what it’ll cover:

  • What are battery terminal covers?
  • Are battery terminal covers necessary?
  • Which battery terminal cover sizes and colors are available?
  • What do I do if I have no battery terminal covers?
  • Which battery terminal should I cover?

Read on to the end for a complete understanding of how these components can be helpful to your vehicle.

Car Battery Terminals One Covered And One Open Connected
Are Battery Terminal Covers Necessary? (Do This!) 2

What Are Battery Terminal Covers?

Battery covers are safety components designed to shield the battery terminal from oil, water, dust, and other contaminants. Besides protecting the terminals from corrosion, battery terminal caps prevent electric shock and minimize the dangers of short circuits.

Usually, the covers are placed on top of the battery terminal connector, protecting the battery connection. They’re made from PVC materials, including rubber and plastic, poor electrical conductors.

It’s worth noting that in the absence of battery terminal covers, the chances of a short circuit in the battery are quite high. You don’t want this to happen. It not only destroys a battery’s ability to charge but also to store charge. Subsequently, this reduces the battery’s lifespan.

So, Are Battery Terminal Covers Necessary?

It’s not a must for your battery to have terminal covers. However, the caps go a long way in protecting your battery and all the electrical accessories you connect to it. In fact, most battery terminal covers are highly effective at protecting your car battery.

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Here’s how battery terminal covers help protect batteries, increasing their efficiency and  lifespan:

1. Protects the Battery Terminals Against Corrosion

Moisture, dust, oil, and other debris may cause accelerated corrosion to your battery terminals. This is where PVC battery terminal covers come in. They prevent these components from reaching the terminals, subsequently preventing corrosion.

A corroded terminal typically interferes with the smooth electric current flow, lowering your battery’s efficiency. It also slows down the battery’s ability to charge and store charge. Such a battery has a short lifespan.

2. Prevents Short Circuit

Exposed battery terminals are likely to experience a short circuit. This occurs if a conductor connects the negative battery terminal with the positive terminal. If this connection occurs, the terminals will spark, splattering sparks all over.

Short circuits are known to increase a battery’s internal resistance. In turn, there’s heat build-up within the battery, which increases its internal temperature.

If your battery cannot dissipate this heat, there will be a thermal runaway. Ultimately, your battery will melt. Notably, this may start a fire, causing the battery to explode. You wouldn’t want to risk this because of a simple battery terminal cover. Always have it put on.

3. Prevents the Battery Terminals Getting Damaged

Battery terminal covers protect your battery terminals from damage, especially when something falls on your battery accidentally. Remember, damaged battery terminals mean your battery cannot charge anymore.

4. It’s A Safety Measure

PVC battery terminal covers usually ensure no accidental contact with the terminals. This way, electrical shocks or short circuits are less likely to occur. Therefore, installing battery terminal caps is a necessary safety measure.

5. Improves Aesthetics

I’m the guy who prefers a clean-looking car rather than one covered n dirt. I believe this is the case for most people. Leaving your batteries unattended for a long time is one way of making your car appear dirty.

Fortunately, battery terminal caps prevent dirt accumulation on your battery terminals.

Which Battery Terminal Cover Sizes and Colors Are Available?

Battery terminal caps are available in different sizes and shapes. The ideal one will depend on the connectors your battery uses.

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The covers feature color coding for ease of identification. Positive terminal covers are red, while black is for the negative terminal.

Of importance to note is that you should buy battery terminal covers that fit your terminal size. The cap should cover the battery terminal fully. On the other hand, don’t install one that’s too large for your terminal. The idea is to have a battery terminal cap that’s well-fitting.

There Are no Battery Terminal Covers Available

If no battery terminal caps are available, don’t worry. As you look for some to replace or install on your battery terminals, you can improvise in the meantime to prevent the battery from short circuit. You wouldn’t want the negatively charged hood coming into contact with the exposed positive battery terminal.

It’s recommendable to put a material that’s a poor electricity conductor on top of your battery. The ideal material is PVC-based material. This will prevent short circuits, causing further damage to your car’s electronic components.

Avoid other materials that may change their properties upon interacting with electricity. Another reason for using PVC is because it’s corrosion-resistant. Furthermore, the electrical current at the battery terminals doesn’t affect PVC-based material.ch Battery Terminal Should I Cover?

Covering the positive terminal of your car battery is necessary to prevent a short circuit. This is because the hood cover is negatively-charged. So, if it comes into contact with the battery’s positive terminal, a short circuit will undoubtedly occur.

It’s advisable to cover all your battery terminals with terminal covers. This shields them from moisture, oil, dust, and any other contaminant that may reduce or reduce the effectiveness of your battery.

Before installing the battery terminal caps, ensure you clean the terminals to remove any corrosion. Also, apply a thin petroleum jerry layer or anti-corrosion spray on the terminals to keep moisture away. That way, nothing will be left to corrode your battery terminals.

Sources:

  1. https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/battery-basics.html 
  2. https://www.pdhonline.com/courses/e204/e204content.pdf   
  3. https://www.ausetute.com.au/acidrain.html 
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167273800005981#:~:text=Polyvinyl%20chloride%20%28PVC%29%20has%20electrical%20conductivity%20of%20%E2%88%BC10,LiCF%203%20SO%203%20%3A35%20wt%25%20LiBF%204
  5. Are battery terminal protectors necessary? (treehozz.com)
  6. Requirements for Battery Terminal Covers (itstillruns.com)