Battery Maintenance

How to Replace Alligator Clips on Jumper Cables


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Alligator clips on car battery chargers and jumper cables tend to break off the end of the cables over time with extended usage and improper handling. Replacing them is easy if you have the right tools. You're going to need a pair of heavy wire cutters, a knife, a screwdriver, a pair of needle nose pliers, solder, paste flux and a soldering iron. You'll also need some heavy duty shrink tubing in red and black.

Step 1. Remove Broken Wires

Remove the broken wires. Using the pliers, pull back the wings that clamp the cables to the clips. If the wires are soldered in, heat your iron up and hold it in the middle of the solder. Once it starts heating the solder junction, touch the solder to it to melt the existing solder. Use the screwdriver and pliers to pull the wires off the alligator clips.

Step 2: Strip Ends

Using the old wires as a guide, strip the insulation off the ends of the wires using the knife.

Step 3: Insert and Secure

Slide a piece of shrink tubing of the corresponding color over the ends of the wires. Dip the ends in the paste flux. Insert the wire into the alligator clip and bend the clamps back down and clamp them tightly on the wire. Apply the soldering iron to the center of the wire and allow the heat to transfer to the wire and the alligator clip. Once plenty of heat has transferred, place the solder on the tip of the iron to start it melting. Once it starts to melt, move the solder into the wire and melt enough solder into the wire to ensure a good, solid connection that isn't going to come loose. Keep the iron on the wire for approximately another minute to ensure that the solder flows properly. If the solder doesn't cool a bright silver color, apply more heat until it does. Do this for both colored wires.

Step 4: Heat Shrink

Once the wires are properly soldered, slide the heat shrink tubing over the wire and the alligator clip and use a hair dryer or lighter to cause the tubing to shrink tightly around the wire.

This only one method for replacing alligator clips on jumper cables. Other types of alligator clips have screw posts and clamps that secure the wire to the alligator clip and provide a secure electrical connection.

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