What Happens When Positive and Negative Battery Touches?

Published on: June 2, 2022
Written by Liam Jaxon / Fact-checked by David Rowan

What happens when positive and negative battery touches? Is it lethal causing you death? Many car owners and DIY workers who work with batteries have asked the same question.

No, you do not get killed by touching the positive and negative terminals of a 12V car battery with bare hands. Since not all car batteries are equal, powerful batteries could be dangerous. And under certain circumstances, a 12V battery can also be explosive.

what happens when positive and negative battery touches

But what do you think? Why does the electricity produced from the car battery not harm the human body? And when it is dangerous to touch a battery? We are discussing it in detail below. Stay tuned to know further.

What Happens When Positive and Negative Battery Touches?

A 12-volt car battery has two terminals- A positive terminal and a Negative terminal. As you connect the positive and negative sides of the battery, it will burn the wiring. Since an automotive battery has a very small resistance, the conductor will fuse the wire when the current passes through the wire.

And sometimes, if the wire gets too hot, it may damage the insulation of the wiring and leave the battery damaged. So, connecting the terminals of a battery is clearly not a good idea. And it is also important to know if you can start a car without a battery.

Check the battery with a multimeter to find out if it still gives the exact reading.

Most of the car batteries are 12 volts, but not all of them. When you touch them with wet hands, you may receive a shock. But during the 2000s, there was an upgrade of the traditional 12-volt batteries to 42-volt batteries.

These batteries carry more power to harm you and are unsafe to touch bare hands. If you accidentally touch a 42-volt car battery, you most likely will receive a jolt as well. If you own a modern electric car or hybrid car, you must be careful about the voltage here. These cars have a higher voltage than regular cars.

When Is It Dangerous to Touch A Battery?

You can touch a 12-volt battery’s positive and negative ends bare hands without having a fear of getting a shock. But you must be careful when you are trying to repair anything in the car engine with a metal tool. I repeat, do not touch the battery’s terminal with your hand when using a metal wrench. You will encounter a huge shock when you do not have your working gloves on, and you touch the positive terminal with your wrench keeping one hand on the metal body.

Since most of the time, the positive terminal is non-earthed, when you touch it with the spanner, the current from the battery flows through your body to the ground by using the metal parts of the car. Besides that, there might be a huge spark that would possibly burn the terminals and cables. Find out whether you can use an extension cord with a battery charger.

So, if you do not want to get electrocuted or shocked by your car battery or do not want to burn the entire system down, put on the working gloves. Moreover, be careful not to touch any metal parts of the car when working with a wrench or metal tool.

Another case when you need to be careful about touching the battery is when you have an electric car or hybrid car that runs partially by high-voltage battery power. They can have battery power from 100 volts to 400 volts, which is shocking if you touch the terminals bare hands.

So, it is risky and even life-threatening for a human being to touch that much electricity accidentally. We recommend working with proper safety gear and specialized gloves when handling hybrid and electric cars.

When A 12-volt Car Battery Can Kill You??

You might not get a shock from touching a 12-volt battery, but it is still detrimental and can harm you in many ways. Some of them are as below-

  • If you bring fire or any flammable material close to the battery, leaked hydrogen gas from it can cause an explosion if you are in a congested area.
  • If there is an internal problem in the battery, the battery terminals and metals may heat up and burn you. The heat can increase and explode. It can also happen from a simple short-circuit.
  • Battery acid is injurious. A splash from the acid can burn your skin. It is even dangerous when split on any vital organ.

Therefore, to prevent any accident and fire hazard, it is best to keep flammable materials away from a seemingly harmless 12-volt household and car battery. Check out if a new car battery needs to be charged.


1. Can a Car Battery Electrocute You?

Yes, it can if you touch the non-earthed terminal with a metal spanner while touching the metal part of the car like a stupid without wearing gloves. Other than that, a 12-volt car battery is harmless and can barely shock you, let alone electrocute you. But not all car batteries are equal. So, be careful when touching any car batteries, and make sure to check on the voltage before you do so.

2. Can You Touch the Battery Terminal?

You can safely touch the battery terminals. The 12-volt batteries have very little current that you may not notice when touching the terminals. However, it is super dangerous to touch battery terminals with metal tools without wearing gloves. When you put the metal spanner on the positive side of the battery and rest your other hand on the car’s metal body part, you will get a huge shock. So, even though it is safe to touch the terminals, keep any metals away when handling them.

3. Can You Be Electrocuted by a 12 Volt Battery?

There are certain aspects where a car battery may shock or electrocute you. But generally, a 12-volt car battery can barely shock or electrocute you. But I must warn you under certain conditions, and the situation can be quite the opposite. If you touch it with a metal spanner without wearing working gloves, there is a possibility of getting electrocuted.

4. What Happens if You Touch the Battery Cables Together?

When the positive and negative battery cables touch together, or you touch them together, electricity flows from one point to another point. As a result of the flow of current, the connecting cable will heat up. And soon, you will notice that the battery heats up as well.


We try to provide solutions to your battery-related problems. Besides that, we attempt to gather the best products in the market for you. Check out The 11 Best Car Audio Battery and how to choose them. And learn how to choose batteries for Powersports, ATVs, and Motorcycles with this cross reference chart.

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About This Writer

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Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

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