Why Is It Important to Secure a Car Battery?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Clermont, Florida
We went to a local car show last weekend and came across an all-too-common sight when we looked at the engine compartments- unsecured batteries. This battery was one of several unsecured batteries that we photographed and it always surprises us that so many people, who collect and cherish these cars would give so little thought to an obvious safety concern.

An unsecured battery can move around inside a vehicle and if the positive and negative terminals come in contact with a piece of exposed metal, they can create a very dangerous situation that can include a very real fire hazard. That's easier to do than one might think. Hit a pothole or go over some rough railroad tracks and an unsecured battery can literally bounce into the air and hit the underside of your hood or the inside of a fender. It only takes a very brief contact with those terminals for significant and expensive damage to occur.

The owner of this vehicle may feel that the battery cables connected to the terminals do a good enough job of keeping the battery secure. If they believe that, they are wrong. In fact, the battery cables could tug on the battery on a bumpy road and pull it in a direction that could cause significant damage. Additionally, if the only thing holding a battery in place is the cables on the terminals, bumps in the road will stress those connections over time and likely cause permanent damage to the battery terminal, shortening the lifespan of the battery. We're not surprised to see the date code on this battery indicates it is less than a year old. We don't see very many unsecured batteries in vehicles that last much longer than a year or so and no batteries damaged by unsecure mounting are covered under warranty.

In addition to a fire hazard, we should point out that most "black box" batteries, including the one pictured above are flooded lead-acid batteries, which means the acidic electrolyte inside the battery case can easily damage your paint and sensitive electronics, if the battery is tipped over or mounted at an angle. If you don't want battery acid damaging your vehicle, it's a good idea to make sure your flooded lead-acid battery is securely-mounted in your vehicle.

So how can you securely-mount a car battery in a vehicle? Not with a bungee cord (and we see that a lot too). Car batteries are heavy and all it takes is one bump in the road to bounce an unsecured car battery around. A typical bungee cord has too much elasticity in it to be trusted to properly-secure a car battery. The high temperatures in an engine compartment can also quickly deteriorate the rubber in a bungee cord, so the same risks we mentioned above are still present with a battery tied down with a bungee cord. 

Most auto manufacturers use secure metal or durable, rigid plastic clamping systems with robust screws, that either hold the battery at the base or cross over the top of the battery. If your vehicle no longer has the factory hold-down system in place, there are multiple aftermarket replacement options that cost less than $10 and take just a few minutes to install. Your vehicle and your safety is worth that minimal investment. If you'd like to avoid the perils of owning a flooded lead-acid battery entirely, please have a look at OPTIMA batteries.