Car battery wires are highly durable. Car battery wires with cross linked insulations are resistant to oil and battery acid and can withstand a high temperature of 125°C.
For information on safety and replacing car battery wires see how to replace battery cable.
Battery cable may range in size from 4/0 to 6 AWG. The conductor material for car battery cables is typically stranded copper wire to provide some flexibility and is made for use as connections between automotive batteries and other units that draw high amounts of current. Therefore, they need to be able to handle the amps that will be drawn and primarily need protection against heat, oil, and battery acid. Depending on the insulation, some battery cable will have extra protection against cuts, tears, and abrasions from rubbing against machine parts.
Typically this happens at the battery terminals where sulfuric acid can leak through the battery posts. Check for corrosion at the ends and near cracks in the insulation.Cracks
Cracks are easy to spot and are points where car battery wires are exposed to the environment and vulnerable to corrosion. If you spot a crack in the insulation before any corrosion has set into the cable, a simple seal may be enough to keep it working for a while longer. However, to be safe, it is better replace car battery wires once you see any cracks.Overheated cables
Overheating occurs when you have car battery wires too close to exhaust components that carry hot combustion gases from the engine.
Another cause of burnt insulation is by overloading your car battery wires with more amps than the cable can handle. This is because the higher the current, the hotter the copper conductor will get. You will definitely need to replace car battery wires that are undersized for their intended connections. For example, the starter engine requires a large burst of current, so a starter cable needs to be thick enough (thicker conductors have higher ampacities) to safely handle the current being drawn by the starter. If the starter cable is undersized, the copper wires will become very hot (due to the resistance being higher in smaller cables) and will overheat or melt off the insulation.
Besides cables that are obviously burnt, you will want to look for deformations resulting from the insulation overheating and cooling into a different shape.Damaged terminals
This can result from over tightening the terminals of your car battery wires to the battery posts. There are other causes, but this is the simplest one to avoid. Either way you will need new terminals.
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