5 Symptoms of a Bad Ground Strap and Tips to Replace

Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by themechanic

Do you ever wonder how the energy from your car battery is transferred to other components of your vehicle? Well, it is all thanks to the ground strap (also known as the ground cable, negative battery cable, or ground wire).

If you open the hood of your vehicle and check out the negative terminal of your car battery, you’ll see a heavy black wire is connected to it. The other end of that wire is connected to your vehicle’s chassis. Basically, the whole electrical system of your vehicle is dependent on this ground strap to be intact. If it were in bad condition, then it’ll cause a lot of electrical problems for the vehicle.

5 Symptoms of a Bad Ground Strap

Ground straps don’t generally go bad unless your vehicle is old, or someone messed with the wire incorrectly. Since every electrical current in your vehicle passes through the ground strap, just a little bit of damage to the strap can interrupt this entire flow of currents. The symptoms that arise from this can range from minor to severe. Most of the time, the symptoms will start out as minor. This will give you enough time to get your vehicle to the mechanic and replace the ground strap before the symptoms get worse. You can also replace the strap yourself by learning the steps featured at the bottom of this article.

Below are the 5 symptoms of a bad ground strap.

1) Lights Flicker – Flickering headlights and dashboard lights in the vehicle mean your electrical situation is compromised. This is what happens with a bad ground strap.

2) Voltage is Low – Use a digital multimeter and check the voltage of your car battery. If you have less than 11.5 volts, then your voltage is too low. This indicates that you have a bad ground strap.

3) Battery Doesn’t Charge – If you have a bad ground strap, then your battery will never be able to recharge. This will cause the battery to die.

4) Failure to Start Vehicle – With a dead battery, you’ll be unable to start your vehicle. If you’ve already experienced the other symptoms, then this problem can be attributed to a bad ground strap.

5) Damage Seen on Ground Strap ­– To verify the ground strap is the problem, open the hood of your vehicle and check the strap to see if it has damage. If it does, then you know that it needs to be replaced at once.

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How to Replace a Bad Ground Strap

Below are the 5 steps of how to replace a bad ground strap. If you’re not confident in performing these steps, then you can always take your vehicle to the mechanic and have them do it.

1) Find the black cable that is connected to the negative terminal of the battery. This is the ground strap. You’ll know it is negative because of the (-) sign.

2) Take a wrench and use it to loosen the bolt which is securing the ground strap at the negative terminal. After you’ve loosened the bolt, you can remove the ground strap.

3) To get to the other end of the ground strap, you’ll need to take out the whole battery first because this end is near the engine area. This requires you to disconnect the positive battery cable. Just use the wrench and do the same thing as you did before.

4) Now you’re ready to remove the battery. Unscrew the bolts of the bracket which may be securing the battery. If there is no bracket, then don’t worry about it. Proceed to lift up the battery away from the engine bay and place it safely on the ground.

5) You should now be able to see where the other end of the ground strap is connected. Loosen the bolt which holds the strap there and then take out the strap.

6) Lastly, you just install the newest ground strap that you purchased. Make sure it is compatible with your vehicle. If you do the previous instructions in reverse, you’ll make the installation a success.

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