Car batteries have positive posts and negative posts. Typically, you’d see a (+VE) mark on the positive terminal and a (-VE) mark on the negative terminal. But for some reason, you may not see these markings on a battery, which would make it difficult for you to identify the positive and negative posts on the battery.
Basically, if your car battery terminals (posts) are covered using a red and a black protective cover, the battery terminal covered in RED is the “Positive” terminal, while the one covered in BLACK is the “Negative” terminal.
But there are exceptions; in some cars, the protective cover is the same color on the negative and positive terminals; how would you deal with that?
This article will teach you how to tell positive and negative on a car battery!
Understanding Positive and Negative Terminals on Cars Batteries
Definitely, you need to know which battery post/terminal is the positive and negative one, respectively.
This is because, for example, you’re jump starting a car, if you connect the “Positive” jump start cable to the “Negative” terminals on the car(s), and then connect the “Negative” jump start cable to the “Positive” terminals on the car(s), you’d end up damaging a lot of components in both cars.
That said, knowing the positive and negative terminals on car batteries is important. The Positive terminal carries +12V and the Negative terminal carries -12V; any mistake in switching the current flow – such as connecting positive to negative or vice versa – may cause serious fire hazards, and also affect the electrical components in the car.
How To Tell Positive And Negative On a Car Battery
The positive terminal (also known as positive battery post) is usually marked with a “Plus” sign (+), or indicated with “+VE,” which means “Positive.” Similarly, the negative terminal is indicated with a “Minus” sign (+), or “-VE,” which means “Negative.”
Notwithstanding, in most cars, the battery terminals are closed with protective covers attached to the cables running from the alternator.
The protective covers are usually RED and Black; where the RED cover is used to protect the “Positive” terminal and the “Black” cover is used to protect the “Negative” terminal.
Actually, the protective cover is there to prevent accidental shorting or shock. In some cases, the cover may be the same color with a (+) marking on the one for Positive and a (-) marking on the one for Negative.
For pretty different reasons, the protective cover may go missing or pull out, leaving you to search out other clues to identifying the positive and negative terminals on your car’s battery. Luckily, some car batteries have the (+) and (-) mark stamped close to the Positive and Negative posts, respectively.
Read Also: How Much Do Car Batteries Weigh?
What If The Terminals are Not Marked?
When you look through and there is no sign of markings to indicate the positive and negative terminals on a car’s battery, you can use a multimeter to point them out – by measuring the voltage on each terminal.
Using the multimeter, connect the meter’s positive terminal (the red one) on the terminal you guess to be the battery’s positive terminal; put the meter’s negative lead on the other battery terminal.
If your guess was correct, the multimeter would read a positive number (e.g. 12.65V), but if your guess is wrong, it’d read a negative number (e.g. -12.65V).
So, this article explains how to tell positive and negative on a car battery. The terminals are either marked with a “Plus” and a “Minus” sign for the Positive and Negative posts, respectively.
In absence of any marking, use a voltmeter to point out the positive and negative on a car battery.