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I would disconnect the battery, remove the protective sheath, and make sure that's the only section with missing (or compromised) insulation. Something caused that - maybe a fluid leak - and you need to be sure of the full nature of the problem before creating a solution. If anything touched that battery cable, you could fry every electrical component or even start a fire.

If it's really just that section, you have a few options for repair. The cheapest option would be heat shrink tape - although I'm not sure there is such a thing as auto fluid resistant tape. After that, you're into specialized tools so you might be better off just ordering a new battery cable.
 

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Okay, I removed the sheath and indeed that is the only section damaged. I replaced all the coolant hoses last weekend and coolant did get on that cable. Could that have been the cause?
 

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I also found heat shrink tubing for battery cables at Home Depot...
Is it heavy duty? There's a LOT of amps available out of an auto battery.

I don't think coolant would eat plastic. Seems unlikely given the use of the product. But anything in the auto area should be oil/gas/etc resistant anyway. Are you in a hot climate and it's just heat /age fatigue then a little mechanical motion when you were working on the car?
 

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I would think so. A decade ago I had to buy one for my dad's 9-3 and that was about the price.

I could build one for less, but probably not enough less to justify the hassle.

Bob: I agree - it's not coolant. That's power steering or brake fluid, or maybe some foreign chemical.

OP: The problem with heat shrink TUBE is that you need to get a size for the cable, and it won't slip over the battery terminal end. If you're comfortable physically removing the cable at the starter/alternator end, then totally, heat shrink tube is a valid way to go. You can buy tube rated for the job from remybattery.com … be careful with no-name/Amazon/ebay options as you just can't guarantee quality. FWIW, Harbor Freight sells a MARINE GRADE pack that is quite substantial and I've used successfully for years. I would personally use only adhesive-lined tube ("marine grade") to ensure the repair doesn't let moisture in.
 

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There shouldn't be any fluid in the engine bay that eats electrical insulation.

Pulling a good cable from a junkyard car will save you money. Presuming that junkyard cars these days have good cables.

You could try insulating the cable, but if the insulation ever fails and the cable touches some grounded metal portion of the car, kapow!
 
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