National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Thursday, June 9, 2022


Good Afternoon,

I recently had the battery replaced in my truck. The service mechanic referred to the battery connections as positive and ground. Shouldn’t the correct terminology be positive and negative terminals? Isn't the vehicle frame the negative side of the battery, rather than ground?

Bernard Welsh



Hi Bernard,

Your thinking is correct. There is no ground (as defined by the NEC) in a motor vehicle. To be ground, the earth would need to be involved. The NEC defines ground as "the earth."Keep using the right terms out there. Many don’t, and it often gets them into a bind when attempting to apply the NEC to installations and systems. Slang words and terms mean different things to different people. It is best to use the defined language the Code uses. By the way, automotive vehicles are not covered by the NEC as indicated in 90.2(B). Thanks for participating.

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