What Side Is Positive And Negative On A Car Battery? [Updated On- 2022] (2022)

Last Updated on April 27, 2022 by Ellis Gibson (B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering)

The battery terminal on a car is not always as straightforward as it seems. A positive sign on the red cable might make you think it’s right, but if the terminals are not colour-coded or labelled, you might be guessing what side is positive. As you might guess, the plus sign indicates the positive battery terminal, while the minus sign indicates the negative battery terminal. Most batteries also have positive and negative signs stamped into the case. In many cases, the battery cable itself will also be red.

Two of the most common questions we hear from people who want to jumpstart their car battery are: What side is positive and negative on a car battery? How do I connect red and black wires to a car battery? These two simple yet important steps will help you get your vehicle back on the road. Let’s talk about how this works.

So, what side is positive and negative on a car battery? The red one is the positive battery terminal. The black one is the negative battery terminal. You need to make sure you never connect the red cable to the black battery terminal or a vehicle with a dead battery. Nearly all batteries will have either a plus sign or minus sign on them, and many will also be coloured red – this way, you can easily tell which is positive and which is negative.

# Table of Contents

How to Tell Positive and Negative Terminals on a Car Battery?

Working on a car battery is different from working on other batteries. You can’t confuse the cables or it will cause many problems. To know which cable is positive, you need to see if any markings say “+” or “-” near the terminal. If there are not, make sure to get an experienced person to help you out with your car battery!

(Video) Which battery terminal to disconnect first, connect first?

I think car battery terminals are confusing. But you can tell the difference between the positive and negative side by looking at the colour. Every car has either red or black on its positive side, and it has either white or green on its negative side.

If you are still confused about telling which side is positive and negative on your car battery, you can use these guidelines to help.

01. A printed symbol is visible near the battery terminals

A printed symbol is visible near the battery terminals first way you can tell if a battery is positive or negative is by looking at the symbol near the two posts. If there’s a + (plus) sign, it means that’s the positive post. If there’s a – (minus) sign, then that one is the negative post. The symbols are usually on one of these posts near where they come out of the top of the battery case.

See the pictures below to tell which terminal is positive and negative.

What Side Is Positive And Negative On A Car Battery? [Updated On- 2022] (1)

02. The negative and positive terminals have coloured signs on them

Colour is how you can tell the difference between the positive and negative battery terminals in a car. The positive terminal usually has a red wire, and the negative terminal has a black wire. This way, when you hook up your jumper cables, you will know if it is hooked up correctly or not.

Some battery types have blue on the negative terminal, but others have red. The colour usually tells you where to hook the battery up. If the cable is blue, then it needs to go on the negative side of the car. If it’s red, then it needs to go on the positive side of the car.

This is what the positive and negative terminals on a car battery look like.

What Side Is Positive And Negative On A Car Battery? [Updated On- 2022] (2)
(Video) Which Car battery terminal to disconnect & connect first ?

03. Diameter Of The Battery Terminals

The last way to find the positive and negative battery terminals is to look at the size of the metal on each terminal. The positive terminal usually has a larger metal than the negative one for European and Japanese cars.

Even though both terminals look the same, the positive terminal is bigger than the negative. The size of post battery terminals is different on DIN and JIS batteries.

See the pictures below to see how a car battery’s positive and negative terminals are different from each other.

What Side Is Positive And Negative On A Car Battery? [Updated On- 2022] (3)

How to Connect Red and Black Wires To A Battery?

Having a car battery is necessary for your vehicle to function and move. There are many reasons why you may need to know how to connect red and black wires, such as when it’s time for maintenance or if the battery fails. How do you know which terminal to connect to first?

We’ll show you how to connect red and black wires to a car battery, step by step.

You may want to go through this tutorial before proceeding to the step-by-step procedure, so you know which car battery terminal to connect to first?

When you are working on your car, it can be hard to remember the order to disconnect and reconnect the terminals. The best way is to make sure that you disconnect the negative first, then the positive. When replacing a battery, always connect the new battery in reverse order, positive first followed by negative.

Let’s get started with a step-by-step guide to connecting Red and Black wires to a battery.

(Video) How to Disconnect a Car Battery

  • Step-01: Locate the battery.
  • Step-02: Locate the battery’s positive and negative terminals.
  • Step-03: The negative terminal should be removed first.
  • Step-04: Begin by reconnecting the positive terminal.
  • Step-05: Close the hood and replace the battery cover.

Step-01: Locate the Battery

Look for the battery to see whether it’s there. The battery is a box under the hood of a car. The newest models have a cover to start with, but you can lift it and find the positive and negative terminals if yours does not have one. If you can’t find your battery, use your car’s manual to help you out.

Step-02: Locate the Battery’s Positive and Negative Terminals

When you have located the battery, you need to find which terminal is positive and negative. Some batteries will have a red colour for the positive terminal and blue for the negative one. This is how most car batteries are made. If they have changed it, you can look in your manual to determine what they are now.

Step-03: Negative Terminal should be removed first

It is a good idea to disconnect the negative terminal of a battery first. If you remove the positive terminal first, it might cause an electrical shortage. To remove the negative terminal, try to loosen it from its connector and shake it off to loosen up some before removing it completely. Then do the same thing for the positive wire.

Step-04: Begin by reconnecting the positive terminal

After removing the battery from your car, make sure to put it back in the right way. Always connect the positive terminal first and then take off the negative terminal last. Remember not to touch any metal parts of the car while reconnecting your battery, or it may spark.

Step-05: Close the hood and replace the battery cover

So, once you’ve done everything but the battery cover is back on and make sure to close the hood. It should not be a problem if you connected the battery correctly. If your car still doesn’t start, make sure there isn’t any rust or dirt on it.

Dirt may have shorted your battery. This happens when the negative terminal touches a metal part of the car’s body, but you might not notice it.


It’s important to know the difference between a positive and a negative terminal on a car battery. If you connect them incorrectly, it can cause damage that will require the replacement of your alternator or starter motor. A damaged alternator or starter motor could lead to more expensive repairs than just replacing the terminals correctly in the first place! The good news is, if you follow these simple steps for identifying which side is positive and which one is negative, there should be no confusion when connecting your cables to the correct terminals. Follow our easy guide below, so you don’t get stuck with an unnecessary repair bill.


What Color Do You Connect First On a Car Battery?

Most instructions say to put the positive lead on first. But according to experts, if you’re connecting a charged battery, it’s the black terminal (-) that should go on first. The reason for this is because current runs from the ground through your body and your hand while you’re holding the cable. If you attach the positive terminal first, any voltage difference between your hands will result in an electric shock.

What Color Is Negative On A Car Battery?

The black cable on a car battery is always on the negative side, not the red – it can be easy to confuse these terms. A good rule of thumb is that the less colour, the more power or charge. In this case, ‘negative’ means something with less hue and intensity than positive for those more intense colours.

What Color Is Positive On A Car Battery?

The red cable is always positive (+), so it never connects it with the black because this will produce sparks at best or an injury-causing fire at worst. If you want to hook up your battery to the wrong terminal, you’re going to end up with a short circuit that leads to an explosion—and possibly death.

What Is the Plus Side of a Battery?

The plus side of a battery is that it has an output and an input. The input draws power from the batteries to provide electricity, and the output communicates with other electrical applications like lights and motors to provide bright light and motion. Batteries are made up of six cells joined together in a series, called the “series connection.” Each cell contains two electrically connected pieces – a negative terminal (marked by black) and a positive terminal (marked by red). One side of the cell supplies electrons that flow through this device…
When you have a battery, there are two metal things. One is marked with a (+), and the other is marked with a (-). There is also something with a red and black wire, and one of them will be marked with a (+), and the other will be marked with a (-).

Why Remove the Negative Battery Cable First?

It is important to remove the negative side of the battery first. If you remove the positive side, there is a chance there could be an electrical short.
To have a basic understanding of why it’s so crucial for cars and other vehicles with internal combustion, it’s important to look at how the car works.
For simplicity’s sake, assuming we are looking at engines from an ideal world where modern-day contaminants don’t exist in our surroundings.
The engine will have two terminals at opposite ends of the battery, hooked up by cables that allow current flow directly from one terminal (positive) into another terminal (negative).
There is no need for wires in this system since energy flows freely from one terminal across the engine block without any interference.
When the negative side of the battery is removed first, this will have no direct effect on flow since there are no other paths for current to take except positive into negative (which cannot happen because they are now disconnected).
Instead, removing the positive end would result in a loss of electricity within that branch/circuit and most likely a short.
Note: The example given is romantic, but it’s important to understand how current will flow when the negative battery cable is removed vs. the positive side. For this to happen, there must be no other path for energy to travel since they are now disconnected from each other by removing one or the other side of the battery. It’s also important to remember that this example is simplified and doesn’t consider all of the other factors involved in taking out positive vs negative ends.

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Which side of the battery is positive and negative? ›

Each battery has two metal terminals. One is marked positive (+), the other negative (-). There are also positive and negative cables in the jumper cable set. The red one is positive (+), the black one is negative (-).

Is positive on the left or right side of battery? ›

Some batteries sizes are available with terminals in many different configurations, but two main configurations are: positive on left and negative on the right corner. negative on the left and positive on the right corner.

Are car battery terminals always on the same side? ›

Unfortunately, there isn't a universal design strategy when it comes to car batteries. Car battery terminals are not always on the same side. In fact, if you're used to seeing the terminals on top, that's not always going to be the case either. The terminals can be on the long side of the battery or on the short side.

How do you put positive and negative on a car battery? ›

How To Replace Battery Terminals - YouTube

How do you tell positive from negative? ›

how to know positive and negative wire - YouTube

How do you know which way a battery goes? ›

Look for a plus symbol on your battery.

The plus sign, or +, indicates the positive terminal. On AA, AAA, C, and D batteries, the positive end should be slightly raised. The negative end of the battery should be flat, and it may or may not be marked with a minus, or -, symbol.

How do you find out which cable is positive or negative? ›

If you have a wire where both sides are the same color, which is typically copper, the strand that has a grooved texture is the negative wire. Run your fingers along the wire to determine which side has the ribbing. Feel the other wire which is smooth. This is your positive wire.

When replacing a car battery do you replace red or black first? ›

Attach the red jumper cables first. Start by clamping one red cable to the positive side of the battery that won't start. Then attach the other red clamp to the positive side of the working battery. Next, clamp one black cable to the negative side of the working battery.

What wires go to positive battery terminal? ›

Black wires are for negative and red wires are for the positive terminal.

How do I install a new car battery? ›

How To: Install a Battery in Your Vehicle - YouTube


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