This is why jumper cables melt

If your car battery is dead, you can jumpstart it by connecting it with jumper cables to another car’s battery. However, there are incidences when the intensity of a short circuit goes high that it can melt the jumper cables before completing the circuit. When these cables get too hot and start melting, they can be too scary and dangerous.

But why do the jumper cables melt?

Jumper cables can melt because of some mistakes like attaching them to the wrong battery terminal. A reversed or crossed jumper cable might lead to electrical flows, generating excessive heat on the wires and melting the cable’s insulation.

Poor connections between the two battery sets may as well cause the melting of the cables. If the cables are loosely connected, or the cables used are of poor quality, they might melt due to the increased resistance for electric flow from one terminal set to another. While there are other reasons for jumper cable melting, the most common is misaligned or improper cable connections.

Now, let’s talk more about the common reasons why jumper cables melt

1. Poor or low-quality jumper cables

Jumping-starting a car by connecting its battery to a working one is easy if you follow the correct procedure and use the proper components. Therefore, if you use poor quality cable or do not meet a certain standard, there might be trouble.

To ensure you use the right quality cables, go to a reputable mechanic store, and you can find them using 0 gauge jumper cables. This standard will assure you the best performance but at a price reaching up to three hundred dollars.

However, this gauging is not recommended for regular drivers, so you can try the 4 to six-gauge rating. Don’t sacrifice quality for the price. If you buy a cheap cable to save on costs, a problem will arise, which is undoubtedly melting the cables. 

2. Reversed or crossed jumper cables( misaligned connection)

If you jump-start your car with the cables crossed, then they might start melting. Reversed or crossed jumper cables can lead to the melting of the cables. Be careful while jumpstarting your car; ensure that they are not reversed nor crossed. If you do so, they might melt and can hurt you and damage your vehicle.

Incorrect connection of the cables will lead to inverted polarity. This will therefore result in the current flowing in the opposite direction via the dead battery. Then clamps and cables will heat up due to the reversed current. So when connecting the cables, ensure that the cable clamps are connected to corresponding terminals on a battery. 

3. Low snug

During the connection of the battery and the jumper cables, loose connectivity around terminals may occur. Batteries during jump-starting produce a more significant amount of electrical current, which travels through the jumper cables. Due to extensive electrical current travel, overheating along the wire will occur if there is a loose cable connection.

Therefore, it is good to avoid such harmful results during jump-starting by ensuring the jumper cables are tightly tied to the battery terminals. Again, you should consider using high-quality clamps that can hold the battery terminals firmly to avoid damages to your jumper cables.

4. Jumper cables are damaged.

Keeping your jumper cables in poor condition can lead to damages to the copper lines. For example, storing the cables exposed to high heat may result in splitting and cracking. High exposure to heat can also lead to melting of the insulation and the copper lines spit. Split copper lines may not withstand a large amount of electrical current, which as a result, leads to heating of the jumper cable.

5. Cheap, Improper, jumper cable material

The material used in the jumper cable can be the reason for melting. Most cable producers often use cheap aluminum to cut the production cost and make more sales. The consumer is the one that will suffer as a result of this. Such cables have a poor current connection and can melt quickly. To avoid such cases, you can use a combination of copper and aluminum. These types of cables are effective in performance and reduce costs for both the consumer and the manufacturer. 

Ensure you avoid cables that are made of aluminum as they are prone to melting so quickly. Besides melting, these cables might not make good contact so, they might not transfer any power. The wire’s thickness is also essential because thinner wires are prone to melting, unlike the thicker ones. Go for quality copper jumpstart cables that won’t melt quickly no matter the circumstance. 

How much do quality jumper cables cost?

High-quality jumper cables can cost between $50 and $200. This way, you will eliminate all possible reasons related to the material of the jumper cables. There are a lot of options on the market, this is up to you to choose what is the best product that suits your car well.


Prevention is always better than cure. Rather than waiting to see your cables melting, take the necessary precautions now that you know the possible causes of cables melting.

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