Today I was hailed by a damsel in distress… she needed a “jump” to get her car started. Over the years I’ve learned that about 80% of car starting problems relating to batteries has to do with terminal connections, usually from corrosion. I directed her to “pop the hood” so I could scope out the battery situation.
Sure enough, there was corrosion around the negative terminal. I didn’t have my usual automotive tools with me so I used my multi-tool to clean it off. In the process I discovered that the wire clamp connector was actually broken. After cleaning the parts I reattached it and attached the jumper cables to see if the car would start. All that could be heard was a “clicking” sound that is often associated with faulty connections. I was hoping to use a small hose clamp to surround the wire connection but none was to be found.
Then a thought struck me… maybe a vice-grip pliers could create a solid connection between the battery post and the broken wire connector. Fortunately that tool was available. I adjusted the width and clamped it over the connection. Because the vice-grip covered the terminal I placed the negative lead of the jumper cables onto an engine bolt for grounding then I had her try to start the car again. There was an immediate improvement and after a few seconds the engine started much to our delight and relief.
So why do I share this experience? So that if you find yourself in this predicament you will be aware of this connection approach. And on this topic of car/battery related problems you might enjoy my article “Emergency Battery Boost” [http://survivaltek.com/?p=1626] that explains a battery jump trick when a single pair of cables doesn’t quite do the job. These are just two more tools in your knowledge bank when you or someone you’re helping needs to get a vehicle started and can save the day in an emergency.