HomeTips & GuidesNegative Battery Cable: The Difference Between The Negative and Positive Battery Cable

Negative Battery Cable: The Difference Between The Negative and Positive Battery Cable

About Negative Battery Cable, You will likely experience engine troubles if the ground connection is improper. Either your engine will take time to start or completely fail. 

Another sign of poor grounding is your positive battery cable will carry heavy loads cousin git to overheat. 

If you notice any of these problems, you must perform a negative battery cable inspection between the chassis and engine. 

The article below will help you better understand negative battery cables.

Why Does Battery Cable Polarity Matter?

Car batteries provide the initial power to your starter and other accessories. 

Power from your battery is distributed to your electrical system via negative and positive power cables. 

If you properly connect, protect (against corrosion), and lubricate (using the relevant greases) them, you further increase your battery’s lifespan and enhance its performance.

Connecting the negative (black) cable to the positive terminal and the positive (red) to the negative terminal results in reverse polarity. 

This could damage delicate electronic components like your starter motor, engine control module, and alternator. 

Differ a Negative Battery Cable From a Positive Battery Cable

As previously mentioned, connecting your cables in reverse polarity could cause damage to your electrical system and, in extreme scenarios, even explode your battery. 

Hence, understanding the difference between a positive and negative battery cable is important.

Positive Battery Cable

The positive cable connects the battery’s terminal to the starter motor and electrical system.

Colors of Positive Battery Terminal and Positive Cable

The positive battery cable is normally red in color or another (just not the same as the negative), with a red marking indicating a positive charge. 

Often, red represents wires that convey power to electrical systems, regardless of whether it’s a 220 V domestic supply or 12/24 V electrical system in automotive circuits. 

Construction of Positive Battery Terminal and Positive Cable

Batteries tend to send high volts of power to your starter motor during self-start. Therefore, high volts of current are sent through the power cables

The positive cable is made of a high gauge wire to withstand the high current and maintain the required current flow. 

Also, it has thick, twisted silver or copper strands and robust sheathing.

 It remains the only component connected directly to the battery without the assistance of a safety device. 

Therefore, the cable depends greatly on its material and construction to protect it from damage. 

If the cable’s insulation punctures (also referred to as hot wire), it might cause a spark, burn your car’s electrical wiring, fire, dead battery, or short circuit.

Negative Battery Cable

The negative cable, often called the ground cable or ground wire, connects the battery’s negative terminal to the chassis and engine on common ground,  providing a path back for current from the electrical system.

Colors of Negative Battery Terminal and Negative Cable

Normally, the negative cable is black, or another color (just not the same as the positive) with a black mark to signify it conveys a negative charge.

Construction of Negative Battery Terminal and Negative Cable

Negative battery terminals don’t have a standard size. The size depends entirely on the battery size, brand, and engine capacity. 

Most people differentiate the positive and negative terminal by size because the positive terminal is bigger. 

On the other hand, with the cable, it could be confusing as the negative cable is slightly shorter, but both cables are almost the same size. 

The negative cable is shorter since it doesn’t travel long and connects to a metal floor near the battery. 

When it Comes to Jumper Cables For Jump Starters

When your car battery fails to respond to your car’s power requirements, you’ll need to perform a jump to generate the necessary power to start your engine. 

Also, you’ll need another car with a working battery to jump-start a dead battery. 

  • First, you’ll need to park both cars close to each other according to how long your jumper cables are. 
  • Next, connect one of the positive (red) clamps to the positive terminal of the working battery. 
  • Then, connect the opposite positive (red) clamp to the positive battery terminal of the dead battery. 
  • Next, connect one negative (black) clamp to the working battery’s negative terminal. 
  • Proceed to connect the opposite negative (black) clamp to the ground on the car with a dead battery, preferably an unpainted metal on the engine or bolt.
  • Now, turn on the car with the working battery to jump-start the dead battery. 
  • Give the dead battery a few minutes to recharge before starting it.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to remove the jumper cables in reverse order.

Remember, there’s no segregation principle regarding jumper cables for negative and positive battery terminals. 

Most people follow the conventional black for negative and red for positive method. 

However, when the jump starts, you can choose not to use the conventional method if the wires are shorter than required.

 However, it would be best if you were very cautious when attempting to connect the negative (black) cable to the positive battery terminal of a working battery. 

To avoid all the risks, use the conventional connection method. If you get a heavy spark once you create the connection, removing the clamps and confirming you made the right connections is best. 

If your engine doesn’t crank even after properly connecting the cables, check the clamps, as they could be loose.

Caption: Jumper Cables

Caption: Jumper Cables


Although it’s not common to find that your battery cables are damaged, it’s not impossible. 

They could malfunction for several reasons, such as broken strains, corrosion accumulation, or damaged insulation cover.

If you plan to replace your battery cables, ensure you get the right size and gauge. Buying the wrong cable will cause you a lot of problems. 

You’ll experience high voltage drops and decreased performance, and your car often fails to start. For all your battery cable needs, feel free to contact Cloom Tech.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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