Updated at: 17-08-2022 - By: Lucas

Having a problem with your car’s battery is one of the most aggravating concerns that drivers encounter. Even though it’s cheap and simple to replace, the biggest concern isn’t being able to start the car if you’ve lost it.

There are, however, many similarities between the symptoms of a faulty battery and that of loose battery connections. We’ll go over the symptoms, how to find the problem, and how to fix it on our own without the assistance of a mechanic in this article.

The Symptoms

Loose Battery Cable

The rings that connect the battery to the automobile are known as terminal ends or clamps. The battery’s primary function is to deliver a tremendous burst of power to the engine’s starter motor. During this time, the alternator takes over and generates electricity, while the battery slowly re-fills with water.

When the battery cables are loose, the vehicle will not start and show signs of power loss while driving. In both cases, a malfunctioning alternator may be to blame for the second symptom, which is common to both the battery and the starter.

Always start with the battery cables when you encounter these issues, as they are the simplest to inspect and require no special gear. The battery is completely safe to use and won’t injure you in any way whatsoever. Always begin by disconnecting the negative, or black, cable, and then the positive, or red. Battery installation begins by placing the red wire first and the black wire second.

To determine if the cable can be rotated off the battery terminal, grab it and wiggle it around. The clamps should be checked for signs of rust, and the cable’s initial few inches should be examined for visible tears. Remove the cables and inspect the battery terminals and the clamps for damage.

Tighten Up the Terminal Screws

The simplest fix is to tighten the terminal screws once you’ve determined that the problem is caused by loose cables. If you can’t tell the screw size by sight, you can use a basic ruler or try to read the inscription on it. Either 10mm, 13mm, or 5/16′′ will do. Alternatively, investing in a good set of wrenches can guarantee that you always have the proper tool on hand.

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Slowly turn the screw to see if the clamp is properly fastened. To prevent the screw from chewing through the clamp grooves and rendering it worthless, don’t use too much pressure when installing the clamp. Afterwards, try turning on the car and see if the second clamp works. If the engine begins to run normally, you’ve figured out the issue.

Clean Battery Connection Posts

Loose Battery Cable-1

The two smooth posts that connect to the car’s cables and complete the circuit are known as the battery’s terminals. Even though the cables don’t appear to be loose, it’s important to clean them to ensure adequate metal on metal contact in the event of a faulty connection. Cleaning the terminal clamps and posts is something we’ll look into.

Battery Cleaning Agent

Any battery cleaning solution will work, however I prefer CRC’s battery cleaner because of its acid indication. Remove the battery’s terminals, then wipe the battery’s top surface with a battery cleaner. In the presence of acid, CRC will bubble and turn pink. After a few minutes, remove it with a damp cloth and reapply. Battery cleaning is complete if the foam doesn’t turn pink.

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Baking Soda

When it comes to battery cleaning, it is acceptable if you do not want to spend more money to fix this issue. Baking soda and water are an acceptable substitute. Before applying baking soda to the terminals, first remove the cables. Using a toothbrush or anything else you have on hand will help you cover as much ground as possible. To start the chemical reaction, slowly add a few drops of water to each terminal. Reconnect the cables after rinsing, if necessary, and allowing them to dry.


In the absence of battery cleanser, I usually resort to using sandpaper. Although it doesn’t perform as well as the cleaner, it’s still a viable long-term alternative. Wrap a piece of sandpaper the size of a credit card around the battery post and sand it down. To clean the posts, simply rotate it in the opposite direction you would when tuning a radio. Put the paper through the hole in the terminal clamps and work the interior with a pair of tweezers.

Replace Cable Terminals

Loose Battery Cable-3

The use of copper wire, tin sheets, and other conductors has been discussed in the past. If you think this is the answer to your problem, at the very least invest in some battery post shims and complete the job right.

The best course of action is to swap out all of the cable terminals. A pliers set, cable terminals, and the wrenches you used to remove the battery are all that are needed to complete the job.

The cables must be unplugged before cutting the terminal and re-connecting it. Tighten the cable end into the new terminal after it has been connected. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:


Can a loose battery cable prevent the car from starting?

But that is not the only factor. There’s a far better chance of a failing alternator or battery. Battery cables, when securely fastened, will not come undone and will remain connected for an extended period of time. Battery connections should be checked first if your automobile has starting problems, because they’re the simplest and most inexpensive thing to examine when diagnosing a problem.

Can loose battery terminals drain the battery?

The cables ensure that no power is lost and that the battery is not harmed as a result of their presence. As a result, the battery will be drained until it is completely depleted. Consistent power supply is critical for contemporary automobiles, therefore avoid draining the battery to the point of irreparable damage.

Can a loose battery terminal cause a car to die?

Whether or not the vehicle can run with unsecured battery wires is a complex subject that depends on whether or not the electrical components can be damaged. Despite how simple and inexpensive it is to fix, I do not recommend driving with loose battery wires. A mechanic or a parts store is the best place to get the cables replaced as soon as feasible.

Why do my battery terminals keep corroding?

Metal surfaces react chemically with hydrogen gas to produce battery corrosion. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix a common problem. You may wish to look into corrosion-proof maintenance-free batteries.

Which battery terminal do I connect first?

Then there’s the negative (red, then black). When removing the battery from the system, be careful not to damage the connectors. First, the negative, then the good (black first, then red).


It’s a simple task to inspect or even replace cable terminals when you are unsure what is causing the power problems. Do not, however, reduce the length of the cables unless absolutely necessary. Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about car maintenance and repairs, including how to deal with a dead battery.