Do you really know about car battery terminals?


What are car battery terminals?

Car battery terminals are electrical contact used to connect a load or charger to a single or multiple batteries. The purpose is to provide a firm connection at both ends of the wire or on the power source. These car battery terminals have a variety of designs, sizes and features. They are made of metal with high conductivity. The stability of electronic devices depends on the quality of these components. Due to continuous exposure to moisture in the air, they will also oxidize.

various kinds of terminals

Will battery terminal size affect battery performance?

Car battery terminals come in different sizes. The two side terminals are similar, but the top column terminals are not the same. For top-column batteries, the positive column is wider and more prominent. Besides, the battery terminal size does not affect the battery’s performance. But the type of terminal that is, the use of a brass or a copper terminal greatly matters. Choose appropriate car battery terminals depending on the purpose for which you are using the battery.

various sizes of terminal 1

Car Battery terminals Types

The type of car battery terminal depends on: battery polarity, installation drawing, compound form, and manufacturing material. Different types of car battery terminals with distinct characteristics unique to each other. There are four main types of car battery terminals:

Brass terminal:

This terminal type is recommended in corrosive environments. Brass terminals are used for Marine type batteries as they tend to corrode when exposed to moisture.

Copper terminal :

This battery terminal type has the highest electrical conductivity. This particular terminal has different configurations: straight left and right corners and parallel properties. These configurations are used to connect multiple batteries in a battery string system. If you want a reliable power supply, use copper terminals.

copper terminal 2

Lead terminal:

Lead terminals are made of lead alloy containing antimony. Antimony is the material that ensures the terminals provide tensile strength and a degree of hardness to meet the significant power needs of the battery.

lead material terminal 3

The lead terminal is considered a general-purpose terminal because it is suitable for use on either a positive or negative battery column.

Specialty terminal:

Specialty terminals are designed to decorate your car’s electrical system. It can provide high-end appearance and performance and add more functions to your vehicle’s electrical system.

These special terminals have built-in digital voltmeters for use with positive terminals. It also allows multiple wires and cables to be connected to battery terminals.

What does L(s) or R(s) mean in the car battery?

Some battery sizes have different configurations. The two main configurations are: a) positive on left and negative on right corner, b) negative on left and positive on right corner. L and R indicate the positive position of the battery when you face the battery, that is, relative to you and not to the car. So you are looking at the front of the battery, the terminal closest to you. And a L for example means “Positive Front Left” in relation to the battery. Some batteries come with an additional S lettering (46B24LS), but that simply refers to the terminal sizes. S here means standard size, so the terminals are fatter, thus requiring larger terminal leads. 

terminal of 46B24L 4

What car battery terminals to choose?

The easiest option is to buy a factory-installed terminal type in the vehicle. In this case, there will be no installation problems. Meanwhile, copper is an ideal choice because it oxidizes less and can be clamped with bolts. However, they are harder to find and will cost much more.


In short, car battery terminals are simple but essential components in automotive circuits. With proper care and installation, they will ensure the stable operation of all machinery and equipment.

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