Warning! Do not reinstall a car battery without full knowledge of its proper placement!
In the world of electronics, red means positive, and black means negative. Don't assume this with car batteries.
The battery story is a good example to let professionals do the maintence. Working on a car is not for the untrained.
You should know what you're doing when you're repairing things- especially if they have stored energy, such as electricity.
That being said, it's normal to see a few sparks when connecting a car battery, even when you're connecting it the right way. If you had connected the battery backwards and tried starting the car you would have likely caused hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damage to the car.
I'm sure you can find many references on the internet but here's a quick one I looked up for you on Yahoo Answers:
Okay, I'm Listening. I'm afraid I'm going to have nightmares tonight! I didn't try to start the car, my hands were thickly gloved, and by God's grace, they caused me to drop the sockets. That is when I gave up. But because I saw the spark, I never would have tried to start the car, anyway. I always thought that batteries were marked red and black, was that some dream I had, or in the world of American Cars, were batteries marked red and black years ago?
Ever since watching my spouse install a battery that was too high (and blew up when he closed the hood down on it) I am literally terrified of car batteries. I begin to sweat if anyone messes with them. I hate hooking and unhooking battery chargers. Be aware that even carrying a battery with uncovered posts (even a small battery)
can be dangerous if you have a metal zipper on your
coat or something like that. Maybe that's silly but the other day I carried a small sized battery and noticed
it was just beside my metal zipper. You can't be too careful when dealing with so much energy.
I am wondering why the battery was out of the car in the first place. Whenever I have needed a boost, or to recharge a battery, it has not been removed from the car. Also, I find that there are good directions on the charger, and that the posts on the battery are labeled, so I have never had problems. And we have lots of instances of -20F weather, and also -40F. Of course if a battery is low on fluid or is low on charge, it will not start your car in the cold weather. Preventative maintenance is a good thing.
And it is wise to plug your car in when the weather is cold so you don't have these problems. If you are getting those sorts of temps, your car should have a block heater.
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