Global Statistics

All countries
Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am
All countries
Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am
All countries
Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am

Should You Connect Positive Or Negative First When Connecting a Battery?

When replacing or changing out a battery, one of the first questions that may come to mind is which wire goes where. While this might sound simple enough, sometimes this process can become confusing and time consuming.

Car batteries consist of two terminals; the positive and the negative terminal. For maximum safety, they should always be connected in their proper order or you could end up damaging either your battery or electrical system.


When connecting batteries or jumper cables, it’s essential to identify which terminal is positive and which negative. An incorrect connection could damage both your battery and electrical system in your car, potentially triggering a short circuit and an explosion.

Car batteries come equipped with color codes that make identifying positive and negative terminals easy, with red marking the positive terminal and black for negative terminals. You’ll likely find these symbols printed either directly onto the casing of the battery, or printed onto its cover lid.

Apart from color, you can also use a voltage meter to establish the polarity of a battery. Here, the positive side will have more blue charges than negative charges on its positive side.

However, without markings or a volt-ohm meter it can be challenging to differentiate the positive and negative terminals on a battery. Even so, you can still identify which terminal is positive by looking at its size and shape.

One way of identifying the positive terminal of a battery is its size – it will usually be larger than its negative terminal – as well as looking at its wires which will usually be colored red for positive batteries and black for negative ones.

Most batteries come labeled, with the positive terminal identified by a plus sign and the negative one by a minus sign. They may also feature red wiring or caps or rings surrounding them; this may or may not always be visible.

There are various other methods for distinguishing positive and negative terminals on a battery, however. A flashlight may also come in handy to locate their differences.

Automakers have taken great strides to make distinguishing between positive and negative terminals on a car battery easy for consumers, since many can easily become confused when trying to connect jumper cables or batteries in their vehicles and accidentally connect the wrong cables – this may even blow the main fuse and leave you stranded! Thankfully, this issue is rare and you should be able to figure out which terminals are positive and negative by reading instructions or consulting your manual in your car.


When connecting a new battery to your car, it is essential that it be done so in the correct order. Failing to do so could damage its electrical system and shorten battery life drastically – particularly dangerous if installing high voltage or amperage batteries.

Car batteries feature two terminals – positive and negative. Each terminal features its own nut or bolt to connect it with the battery post; positive terminals are indicated with an “+”, while negative ones display “-“.

These terminals are essential in your car for storing electricity. They power the engine and other essential systems while also playing an integral part in its safety: many safety features rely on battery functioning properly to operate effectively.

When connecting a battery, it is always advisable to connect its positive terminal first, and then its negative terminal afterwards. This is because your vehicle’s frame connects directly with its negative terminal; connecting it before its positive counterpart risks creating a short circuit between your wrench and battery post which could spark or arc during use, possibly leading to sparks or even explosions.

Short circuits can be both dangerous and damaging to batteries or electrical components you are connecting, which is why it is advisable to adhere to manufacturer’s instructions or standard electrical safety practices in order to protect both yourself and those around you when working with batteries.

Another advantage to connecting a new battery positively first is making it easier to reach the negative terminal; this is particularly applicable in newer vehicles where battery locations may be congested.

If you’re having difficulty connecting your battery, a quick way to find out which terminal goes first can be to look at which terminal has red or black covers on its terminals – red usually represents positive, while black usually stands for negative terminals.


When connecting a battery, it’s best to start at its positive terminal, typically red and marked by a plus sign (+). Conversely, its negative terminal should be black with an accompanying minus sign (-). Connecting negative first is actually safer as this prevents an electrical short. Otherwise if an accident happens and someone touches one of the red terminals accidentally with their wrench it could short out your battery leading to costly repair bills!

If you want to clean the terminals of your battery, a mix of baking soda and water may help. Simply apply a light coating of this mixture onto each terminal before using an old toothbrush or steel wire brush to scrub them clean with an old toothbrush – for best results use a quality brush which can withstand corrosion – to scour each terminal clean before applying dielectric grease on each terminal for improved connections and to protect from future damage.


When connecting a battery to another car or jump starter, red cable should always go first. That is because positive terminal of the battery may be covered with red plastic protective cover to avoid accidentally shorting both terminals together and shorting out. Therefore it’s essential that you establish which terminals are positive and negative before working with jumper cables or jump starters.

The positive terminal of a battery is marked with a red “+” symbol; while its negative terminal, usually black in color and marked “-“, will usually feature red or black plastic covers over its negative terminal. Should one appear, it would be wise to investigate further before proceeding further with your task.

As part of your battery connection plan, it is also important to keep in mind that the car’s chassis is grounded – this means touching the negative battery terminal (which connects directly with your feet via legs) won’t do any damage; however red is widely known as an indication of danger; its color signifies cables or wires with higher voltage than usual.

As part of using jumper cables safely, it’s also essential that the red cable be connected to the positive battery terminal to avoid short circuiting which could be extremely hazardous. If in doubt, check your jumper cables’ or jump starter’s instructions and follow them accordingly.

Hot Topics

Related Articles