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Is Red Positive or Negative on a Car Battery?

  • Car Battery
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 5 minutes

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Getting stranded on the road with a dead battery can be an irritating experience. One option is to jumpstart the car if you’ve got jumper cables in your trunk. But there’s one problem: you don’t know how to connect them. Why? Because you can’t remember which terminal of the battery is positive and which is negative. So, is red positive or negative on a car battery? 

Knowing which cables and terminal posts are positive and which are negative when connecting batteries, jump starters, and jumper cables are critical. It is also critical to understand which one to connect or unplug first. So, how can you distinguish between a car battery’s positive and negative terminals while utilizing a jumper wire or a car jump starter? 

Keep reading to know whether the red is positive or negative on a car battery! 

is red positive or negative

Is red positive or negative on a car battery? 

Some doubt is red positive or negative on a car battery. And the answer is yes, most of the time. Over the positive battery terminal, there is usually a red protective cover (or a black cover with a red plus (+) sign). The cover protects against accidental shorting. 

Of course, sometimes the cover is missing, so you must look for other clues. Most batteries, thankfully, have a positive (+) and minus (-) indication stamped inside the casing. As you expect, the plus symbol represents the positive battery terminal, and the minus sign represents the negative battery terminal.  

In many cases, the battery cable will be red as well. You can’t always go by color alone because it’s sometimes black (or incredibly dirty). 


How can you jumpstart a car using jumper cables? 

Defective batteries could be the root cause as your car’s engine isn’t starting. But you should take a closer look. If a light gets illuminated and the system is still operational, jumpstart the car battery. Follow these steps, and your car will be running in no time. 


Make a set of connection cables. The other car must have a functioning battery. Park it next to the car where you need to start the battery, close enough for the charging cable to be plugged in. To ensure your safety, put on protective gloves and eyewear. After parking, ensure that the two engines remain switched off. Open the hood, or if the battery is in the trunk, open the trunk. 

Managing a dead car battery 

Now you should differentiate the positive and negative ends of both batteries. At this point, you need to be careful. Mistaking the two poles might cause damage to the cars and even perhaps injure you. It is also extremely dangerous if the ends of the cables come into contact with one another. 

Check for metal frames or metal bases on cars that need a jumpstart. Connect an end of the positive cable to the battery’s positive side. 

Using a charged battery 

Connect the positive pole to the battery’s positive terminal. Continue by connecting the negative cable clip to the negative battery terminals. 

Start your car 

Now you have to connect the negative terminal to the stalled car’s chassis or metal floor. If you clamp before this stage, you will cause an unanticipated danger. Start your car with a good battery and then wait for some time. Wait 1-2 minutes before starting the one with a dead battery. If it works, remove the cables in the following order. 

  • The negative clamp of the faulty battery 
  • The negative clamp of the good battery 
  • The good battery’s positive clamp and the dead battery’s positive clamp 

If the car does not start, wait a moment before starting the two cars. After successfully starting the battery for the first time, immediately fully charge your car’s battery. 

What do you need to be careful of while jumpstarting your car? 

Be mindful of these while jumpstarting your car. 

  • Use the black (-) cable’s other end to ground yourself at all times. 
  • The negative (-) battery terminals should never be connected together. 
  • Keep the clamps on the cables from touching as you remove them once the car has started. 

Why is the positive terminal always red? 

Touching a negative battery terminal grounded by the car’s chassis, which is also connected to you via your feet, will have no effect. However, the color red is a universal symbol of danger. Despite not being harmful to people, 12V DC is used to mark cables and wires with voltages higher than the common ground. 

Do I connect red or black first? 

The red cable always goes first when connecting a car battery to another or a jump starter to a car battery. The black cable should be disconnected first when disconnecting, not the other way around. 

Is red positive or negative: The bottom line  

So, on a car battery, is red positive or negative? On car batteries, red usually always signifies the positive. We recommend paying attention to the symbols marked on the battery. The next time your battery requires a jumpstart, be careful not to mix up the two poles so that you may start your car on your own. Also, when in doubt, always consult your car’s manual! 

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