I keep jumper cables in my car just in case I ever need to jump my battery, but I’ve had this set for several years. Do jumper cables ever go bad?
Can Jumper Cables Go Bad?
Yes, jumper cables can go bad over time. Jumper cables are made of metal, and like all metal, they can corrode or wear out with use. If the cables are heavily corroded or have frayed or damaged wires, they may not be able to effectively transfer the necessary electrical current to jump-start the car.
It’s recommended that you get a new pair of jumper cables every three years or so, especially if they don’t get used very often.
Here are some things to look for to let you know your jumper cables are wearing out:
- Any visibly exposed metal wire
- Fraying of the wires near the clamps
- Corrosion or rust on the clamps themselves
To ensure that your jumper cables are in good working order, it’s a good idea to visually inspect them regularly. Look for any signs of corrosion or damage, such as frayed or broken wires. If you do find any issues with your jumper cables, it’s best to replace them to ensure that they can effectively jump-start your car when needed.
It’s also a good idea to store your jumper cables in a dry, secure place when not in use. Exposure to water and other elements can cause them to corrode more quickly, so it’s best to keep them in a dry place such as the trunk of your car or a garage.
How Do You Know If Jumper Cables Are Bad?
Several signs, such as wearing and tearing jumper cables, can tell if they are bad.
So here are some signs which you can look for to know if it’s time to change your jumper cable.
- The cables feel hot to the touch.
- One of the metal clamps on the cable has melted and is stuck to itself.
- The cable smells like burning and has a chemical smell typical of some types of plastic materials.
- A wire has been exposed or broken inside, and you can see the copper wire coming through.
- Fraying of the cladding on the cable
- Rubbing the cable against a rough surface cause spark.
So, if you have noticed any of these signs, take your jumper cables to your local auto parts store and ask them to test them out to make sure it’s not bad. If it is bad, get yourself a new set of jumper cables.
Are your jumper cables still, OK?
We’ve heard many people telling others that they tried jump-starting their vehicles or tried to help someone on the road, but it didn’t work. The most obvious reason why it may not have been working is that the cables are bad.
Unfortunately, not all car accessories on the market are of good quality. Also, these cables are often placed in wet areas and just go bad after some time.
Here are some of the most obvious ways to check if your jumper cables are still good:
- Check for any signs of corrosion. If your cables have been in contact with water, chances are they are not good anymore. Look for any signs of corrosion, water damage, changes in color, etc.
- Look carefully at the cable insulation. Use your fingers to feel the cable carefully and see if there are some uneven spots, damaged insulation, or broken parts of the cable. This will mean the jumper cable is bad.
- Look for any signs of fire damage. When cables are connected to the wrong terminals or undergo massive overload, they may melt and even burn. Find any signs of burn on the cables and just throw them away.
- Take a multimeter and check the cables. If the cable is broken, there will be no resistance between the two ends. Checking cables this way is the most precise way but you will need a multimeter that you can buy at any tool shop.
Unfortunately, the cables won’t show any special signs of working or not working when you use them. Maybe, the only sign is some sparks you get when you put the cable to one of the terminals. But they will not necessarily appear, anyway.
So, if your cables are broken, you may just lose your time and expect that the vehicle’s battery will charge and be ready to start the car.
So, it’s important to make sure that the jumper cables that are now in your vehicle are working properly. Even if one of the cables is broken, the system will not work at all.