A dead or non-charging battery is a common problem in many Honda Accord models. The most common cause is a faulty or worn out positive battery cable that needs to be replaced. Replacing the positive battery cable on a Honda Accord is typically a simple repair that most car owners can complete in an hour or less. Drivers can restart their Accord with a few basic tools and the proper replacement cable.
What Causes The Battery Cable To Need Replacement?
Several issues can lead to the positive battery cable needing to be replaced in a Honda Accord:
- Wear and Tear
- Accidental Damage
- Electrical Shorts
Corrosion is one of the most common reasons for battery cable failure. Battery acid and moisture can cause corrosion over time on the cable ends and terminals. This leads to a poor connection and insufficient power flow to the starter and electrical system.
Wear and Tear
Normal use over tens or hundreds of thousands of miles can lead to fraying or cracks in the positive battery cable. Vibration, heat cycles, and bending of the cables slowly weaken them.
Cables can become damaged due to accidents, faulty installation, or improper maintenance. Cables that are kinked, cut, or have insulation damage may need early replacement.
Electrical issues like short circuits can burn through the cable insulation and copper conductors. Any sign of melting or burns indicates a damaged cable.
When To Replace The Positive Battery Cable?
Replacing the positive battery cable should be done as soon as any symptoms appear that point to a faulty cable:
If the starter churns slowly or the engine cranks over sluggishly, it may indicate high resistance in the starting circuit caused by a poor cable connection.
Headlights or interior lights that dim significantly when trying to start point to the battery cable not delivering enough current.
Any corrosion seen on the battery terminals or ends of the positive cable means replacement is needed. The corrosion only worsens over time.
Frayed or Melted Wires
Damaged insulation or conductors that are melting or falling apart also call for immediate cable replacement.
Preparing For Positive Battery Cable Replacement
Replacing the cable requires very few tools and parts. Here is what you will need:
- New replacement positive battery cable
- Assorted wrenches and sockets
- Terminal cleaning brush
- Replacement cable hardware if required
Before starting, locate the positive battery terminal. This is typically marked with a “+” sign or red cover. The positive cable runs from this terminal to the starter motor. Some Hondas have an additional positive cable running to the fuse box.
Check your Accord’s owner’s manual if you need help locating the positive terminal, cables, and starter.
Removing The Old Positive Battery Cable
With the right preparation complete, you can move on to removing the old cable:
Disconnect the Negative Cable
Always disconnect the negative battery cable first. This avoids short circuits during the repair. Loosen and remove the cable end from the negative terminal.
Loosen the Starter Cable
Use a wrench to loosen the nut holding the positive cable end to the starter motor. Slide it off the stud.
Loosen Chassis Bolts
Find where the positive cable attaches to the chassis or body. Remove the bolt or nut to detach it.
Loosen Terminal End
Finally, loosen the nut on the positive battery terminal clamp and slide the clamp off. You may need to use a wrench to loosen if corrosion is present.
Remove Old Cable
Check for any other retaining clips or ties. With everything detached, you can pull the old positive cable out.
Installing The New Honda Accord Positive Battery Cable
Installation of the replacement cable is the reverse of the removal steps:
Attach Terminal End
Slide the new cable terminal ring end over the positive battery post. Reinstall the terminal clamp and tighten the nut securely.
Reconnect Chassis End
Look for the body or chassis attachment point used by the old cable. Reinstall the replacement cable end in the same spot and reinstall any bolt or nut.
Connect Starter End
Locate the starter motor terminal used by the positive cable. Slide on the new cable’s ring terminal and tighten down the mounting nut thoroughly.
Reconnect Negative Cable
With the positive cable installed, reconnect the negative cable end to its battery terminal. Double check your connections.
Turn the ignition key to check for proper electrical operation before reinstalling any covers. The starter should crank at normal speed.
Troubleshooting Positive Cable Replacement Problems
While not typical, you may encounter some issues getting your Honda Accord running properly after the battery cable replacement. Here is how to troubleshoot the most common problems:
Loose battery or starter cable connections can cause high resistance and starting problems. Remove, clean and re-tighten all endpoints.
Wrong Cable Used
Using the incorrect replacement cable can lead to poor electrical flow. Verify you have the proper positive cable for your Accord’s engine.
A worn out or damaged battery may be the culprit, not the cable. Test the battery voltage and condition and replace it if needed.
Make sure bare cable wires or terminals are not touching any metal parts. This can cause shorts, blown fuses, and starting issues.
Starter Motor Failure
If the starter cranks slowly after cable replacement, the motor itself could be worn out or have mechanical problems. Test starter amp draw and rebuild or replace it if needed.
How Do You Replace A Positive Battery Terminal?
Remove the negative battery cable before replacing a positive battery terminal. Then, loosen and remove the nut that is holding the positive battery cable to the terminal with a wrench. Wiggle the cable away from the terminal with care. If the battery post is corroded, clean it. Reinstall the nut and tighten it securely after sliding the new terminal onto the post.
Connect the positive cable to the new terminal and tighten the nut completely. Finally, reconnect the negative battery cable. Before closing the battery, ensure that all electrical accessories are operational.
Can You Replace Battery Cables Yourself?
Yes, the average car owner can replace worn battery cables themselves rather than paying a mechanic. The procedure is fairly simple. Disconnect the negative terminal first, then replace the positive and negative cables one at a time. Before installing new cable ends, clean any corrosion from the battery terminals.
It is critical to select the correct cable size and length for your vehicle. Replace the cables in the same manner as the old ones. Be cautious not to overtighten connections. Before you finish, test the electronics. Prepare tools to pry stuck connectors apart. Overall, replacing cables yourself can save you money on labor costs.
How Do I Know If My Positive Battery Cable Is Bad?
Starting problems, dimming headlights when turning the engine, starter cranking slowly, terminal corrosion that is visible, insulation that is melting or cracking, or overheating wires are all indications that your positive battery cable needs to be replaced.
With a multimeter, you can check the cable resistance to see if it exceeds the recommended value. When the starter engages, voltage drop tests can also identify a bad positive cable by detecting excessive loss along its length. At 100k to 150k miles, some automakers advise preventative cable replacement.
How Long Does It Take To Replace A Positive Battery Cable?
The typical time frame for an at-home positive battery cable replacement is 30-60 minutes. With the right tools already gathered, the actual cable swap can take as little as 10-15 minutes. Removing the old cable’s connections takes a little time, especially if corrosion is present.
Installing the new cable, reconnecting terminals, and tidying up adds another 15 or so minutes. The most time-consuming part is proper preparation – locating the bad cable, buying the correct replacement, collecting tools, and safety precautions. Experience speeds up the job.
Does The Negative Cable Also Need To Be Replaced?
Usually not, unless it is also damaged. In most cases, only the positive cable fails. But inspect the negative cable as well just in case.
Where Can I Buy A Replacement Positive Cable?
Your Honda dealer stocks genuine OEM replacement cables to fit your Accord. Check online and local auto parts stores as well for aftermarket cables.
How Long Does The Battery Cable Replacement Take?
Plan on 30-60 minutes with basic mechanical skills. Just removing the old cable and installing the new one goes quickly. Gathering tools and supplies takes extra time.
Do I Need To Reset Anything After Replacing The Cable?
No computer resetting or programming is needed. But you may need to re-enter radio presets, clock time, and navigation favorites if the battery was disconnected.
What Happens If The Cable Replacement Does Not Solve The Problem?
If the starter still cranks slowly after a new positive cable is installed, the issues may lie with the battery itself or starter motor. Further electrical testing is needed.
Replacing a worn or damaged positive battery cable is an affordable repair that many Honda Accord owners can tackle themselves. Typical symptoms pointing to a bad cable include slow cranking, dimming lights, and difficulty starting the engine.
The process involves disconnecting the negative cable, removing the old positive cable, installing the new one, and reconnecting the negative terminal. With some basic tools, replacement cables costing around $20-50, and about an hour of time, a DIYer can often resolve starting issues caused by a faulty positive battery cable. Paying close attention to routing and cable ends helps ensure smooth starting after the repair is complete.