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6 Symptoms of a Bad Ground Strap (Negative Battery Cable)

If you are having a lot of electrical problems with your car at once, the problem is most likely due to a faulty ground strap.

The ground braid is connected between the negative terminal of the battery and the car body.

It is also called the negative battery cable. Almost all electrical components in the car pass through this cable. But what can happen when this braid of earth begins to deteriorate?

In this article, we look at the symptoms of a faulty ground strap, its location, function, and the replacement cost if you need to replace it. Let’s start with a quick overview of the signs you should look for.

The most common symptom of a bad ground strap is flickering headlights or trouble starting the car. You may also encounter problems like dashboard warning lights or other strange electrical problems.

While these are not all the signs, a faulty ground wire can cause many strange symptoms in your car’s electrical system. Here is a more detailed list of the six most common symptoms of a bad ground braid.

Symptoms of a bad ground belt

1. Flashing headlights

Dim car headlights

One of the electrical components that requires a lot of power is your car’s headlights. If the ground braid is bad, you will encounter flickering lights. If not corrected, it can also damage your headlights.

If you have a newer car with LED headlights, there is no risk of them flickering or dimming; instead, they can turn off completely.

If you notice flickering or dim headlights, it’s definitely time to check the ground strap.

2. Warning lights

Board lights

If you have a modern car, you have many different control units in your car. If your ground braid deteriorates, you will have ground problems in these control boxes, which will therefore cause warning lights on your dashboards, such as the check engine light, ABS light, or battery light, For example.

You may also have communication problems with the control units if you try your diagnostic scanner to fix it.

3. The battery is not charging properly

car battery charger

If your battery is not charging properly, but you are sure the alternator is working fine, the problem could be with the ground strap.

If enough electricity cannot flow through the ground grid, the alternator will not charge the car battery.

There may also be other reasons why your car battery is not charging, so you will need to rule out all of these factors before concluding that the problem is the ground belt.

4. Low voltage

Measure car battery voltage

Another sign of a bad ground strap is that the voltage flowing through your car is low. A simple voltage test will reveal if you are receiving full power.

A good working battery should give you a reading of around 12.3 volts on the battery. Anything less than this indicates that the battery is not fully charged.

When the car is moving, you should measure approximately 14 volts across the battery terminals to know if the charging system is working.

5. Problems starting your car

car starter

As you can understand, starting a car engine electronically requires a lot of power. Ground belt problems occur most often on things that require a lot of power.

Because of this, when you have a bad grounding strap, you may feel the starter turning much slower than normal and possibly not turning at all.

Electrical fuse box

A faulty ground strap can cause all sorts of strange electrical problems in your car, as we’ve discussed before. If you are having a lot of different electronic problems, there is probably something wrong with the ground strap.

Ground Strap Location

car battery ground cable

The ground strap is located between the negative terminal of the car battery and the car body. It also has a ground strap between the engine and the body.

It is often very visible, so finding it should not be a problem if you find the car battery.

How to diagnose ground straps?

Testing a ground braid is very simple. All you have to do is start your car a few times and then let the engine run. Touch the ground strap to see if it has generated heat on the negative battery terminal or body bolt. Be careful though, as it can get very hot.

When there is a bad connection and something consumes a lot of power, it generates heat and even melts things. This is exactly what happens if your grounding bracelet goes bad.

Ground Belt Replacement Cost

The average ground strap replacement cost is $20 to $80, depending on the car model and labor costs. A ground braid costs between $10 and $50 and labor costs between $10 and $30.

Fortunately, grounding straps are usually very inexpensive and easy to replace. It’s easy to replace it yourself, but if you want someone else to do it, you can expect between $10 and $30 for labor.

Remember that you will lose all memory functions in your car when you replace the ground strap, such as the radio code, so make sure you have it before starting the replacement.


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