Car Ground Strap

Ground Strap Symptoms, Location & Replacement Cost

In Electric by 5 Comments

If you are having a lot of electrical problems with your car at the same time, the problem is very likely to be a bad ground strap.

The ground strap is connected between the negative terminal on the battery to the car’s body.

It is also called the negative battery cable. Almost all of the car’s electrical components are flowing through this cable.

But what can happen when this ground strap is starting going bad?

Top 6 Bad Ground Strap Symptoms

A bad ground wire can cause a lot of strange symptoms with your car’s electrical system.

The most common symptoms of a bad ground strap is flickering lights, charging problems, low voltage, and starting problems.

Here is a more detailed list of the most 6 common symptoms of a bad ground strap.

1. Flickering headlights

Dim Headlights Car

One of the electrical components that require a lot of power is your car’s headlights. If the ground strap is bad, you will experience flickering lights. If this is not rectified, it can actually also damage your headlights.

If you have a newer car with LED headlights, there is no risk that they will flicker or dim down; instead, they will maybe shut off completely.

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If you experience flickering or dimmed headlights, it is definitely time to check the ground strap.

2. Warning lights

Dashboard Warning Lights

If you have a modern car, you have a lot of different control units in your car. If your ground strap is going bad, you will get ground problems to these control units, which will therefore cause warning lights on your dashboards like the check engine like, ABS warning light or battery light, for example.

You might also have problems communicating with the control units if you try it with your diagnostic scanner to troubleshoot it.

3. Battery not charging properly

Car Battery Charger

If your battery is not getting charged properly, but you are sure the alternator is functioning well, the problem could be with the ground strap.

If not enough electricity can flow through the ground strap, the alternator will not recharge the car battery.

There could also be other causes why your car battery is not getting charged, so you will need to rule out all these factors before concluding that it is the ground strap that is the problem.

4. Low voltage

Measure Car Battery Voltage

Another sign of a faulty ground strap is that you have low voltage circulating in your car. A simple voltage test will reveal whether you are receiving full power.

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A well-functioning battery should give you a reading of around 12.3 volts on battery power. Anything less than this is an indication of the battery not being completely charged.

When the car runs, you should measure around 14 volts between the battery terminals to know if the charging system is functional.

5. Problems starting your car

Starting Car

As you can understand, turning around the car engine electronically requires a lot of power. Ground strap related problems occur most often of things that requires a lot of power.

Because of this, when you have a bad ground strap, you can feel that the engine’s starter is turning much slower than usual and maybe not at all.

6. Strange Electric Problems

Fuse Box Electrical

A bad ground strap can cause all types of strange electric problems in your car, as we discussed before. If you experience many different electronic problems there is a big chance that there is something wrong with the ground strap.

Ground Strap Location

Car Battery Ground Cable

The Ground Strap is located between the negative car battery terminal and the body of the car. You do also have a ground strap between the engine and the body.

It is often located very visible, so finding it should not be a problem if you find the car battery.

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How to Diagnose the Ground Strap?

Testing a ground strap is very easy. All you have to do is crank your car a couple of times, then let your engine run. Touch the ground strap to see if it created any heat at the negative battery terminal or the bolt to the body. Be careful, though, because it can become glowingly hot.

When there are a bad connection and something that draws a lot of power, it will create heat and even melt things. This is exactly what happens if your ground strap is getting bad.

Ground Strap Replacement Cost

A ground strap costs 10$ to 50$ and labor costs 10$ to 30$. You can expect a total replacement cost of 20$ to 80$ for a ground strap replacement.

Luckily ground straps are often very cheap and easy to replace. It is easy to replace yourself, but if you want someone else to do it, you can expect 10 to 30$ for labor work.

Remember that you will lose all memory functions in your car when you replace the ground strap, like the radio code, so make sure you have it before you start the replacement.

5 thoughts on “ Ground Strap Symptoms, Location & Replacement Cost ”

  1. I honestly did not know a faulty earth strap could cause me so much grief and an always out of pocket expenses. But to be exact of my question, how many earth straps in particular is needed for a 304 5litre engine in a vr vs commodore and what components should they run from to the chassis…

    Many Thanks

  2. I have a 1990 yamaha fzr 600. Sport bike its been mostly custom built can someone please help i think i have a bad earth ground because the motor was working fint telii i took it of the bike ti split case for new trans gears i put it all bake togethe its on the bike loom seams to be hooked up rite but i have no spark at all everything else seems ro be fine and working any idea’s

  3. Okay, Purchased used, a 2010 Jeep Patriot 2.4L, 4WD, with a CVT Transmission. The amount of small features that either need or are just connected to one of the electronic monitoring systems. It’s because of all the electronic monitoring systems that are installed, the vehicle is irritating and in my opinion, nothing short of plain overkill. When the ”Check Engine” light comes on, some of the options will not work and some only work part of the time. With that said, here’s two of the issues that the Patriot’s have issues with but there is hope & light at the end of the tunnel. The ”Airbag” Light. That was 1 of 2 warning lights that were staying on all the time. Although I was able to get that one to stay off, other than ”Startup System Monitor. Last is the ”4WD!” Light. Whenever that light comes on, it will not allow you to access the 4WD at all. I was able to get it to stay off for about 1 – 1 1/2 weeks but now it comes on whenever I travel to 1 mile. I use the ”Trip Meter” #2 as a way to keep tabs on it. Since it always comes on right at 1 mile, leads me to believe that one of the monitors takes that long to complete it’s test cycle. I just happen to look at the ”Ground Strap” which comes from the cabin side of the engine, over to the firewall. Apart from being completely green, it’s very brittle, and so full of corrosion that it’s dried out and starts to slightly fall apart whenever I wiggle it. Plus it has a cut that is about 50% of the way through the cable. I plan on replacing it today or tomorrow and if that 4WD! Light does go off after I install the cable, I will either edit this comment, or type in another question below mine, unless someone else adds to the comment. I believe that it is the problem.

  4. I have a 2002 Chrysler 300 I just walked out the motor because the valves were messed up on the driver side underneath the map sensor there’s a ground wire leading to a little box is connected to a bolt which is part of the ground of the motor there’s two ground wires and a green wire coming off of the harness for the injectors I don’t know how they go or how they connect because it’s not letting the injectors kick on so I can start the car the car revs has plenty of power gets filled with the injectors and spraying I need to know which way do those wires go connected those two ground wires and the one with the little tiny box I don’t know what that’s for but that that’s part of the system to the vehicle and I don’t know how that connector goes or how those four wires connect to the ground on the car can you please help me

  5. Great! All of the explanations above match the problem of my car Nissan Xtrail T30.

    I replaced all the neccessary components of the fuel system from fuel pump all the way to spark plugs. But the car still produces low power to open up valves.

    I am in a view that I think I have a bad ground strap wire causing my ignition to give a hard start and my car battery to become weak. All of your explanations above gives me clear understanding of the electrical fault caused by the bad ground strap/wire.

    Thank you very much and I am looking forward to change my ground strap wire.

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