Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2006 Hyundai Elantra Damp Starting problem

My 2006 Hyundai Elantra has developed an intermittent starting short that seems to only occur in damp conditions. The intermittent starting short/fault seems to only occur in the mornings when the car has sat overnight outside. When I put the key in the ignition all the regular lights and bells will ding as normal, but when the key is then turned from “on” to “start” the entire electrical system cuts off. No interior lights, gauges, dash lights, nothing. However, if I pop the hood and then drop it, electrical power will be restored. I have been doing this for the past two weeks while I tried to determine the conditions of the fault. This morning however, this “fix” wouldn restore electrical power but the short occurred again in a cycle and the car never did start, despite trying the hood pop/drop method 10 times.

I had it towed to a shop this morning. When the car and I arrived, it started normally without issue. (of course!) I’m wondering if riding on the back of a tow truck dried out something or if that was immaterial. The person who looked at my car noticed a loose negative battery pole attachment and replaced the negative battery clamp. (His advice was to start small before needlessly pulling things off trying to find the fault.)

The test if this repair was really the cause will be tomorrow morning. I’m somewhat skeptical it was.

So, any ideas what could cause this or what course of action to pursue? The car has 94,000 miles and this is the first real issue it has had.

Thank you for any help you might be able to provide.

I should add that my battery is about 1 month old and when the car does fail to start, an audible click sound can be heard for a quick second before the electrical system dies.

Battery clamp could be it, or some other electrical connection that’s loose or corroded.

The usual battery connection that has a problem is the postive terminal. You might ask the mechanic if he removed the positive clamp from the post; cleaned the post and inside the clamp; and used a corrosion preventative to seal the contact from acid and air.

Hope to help.

I stood right by him as he worked (which was nice) and he did check it to see if it was loose, but did not remove it. Both terminals have dialectic grease on them after installation.

It sounds like the person who looked at the car at the shop did fine. The “root cause” is hard to guess from here, but since he replaced the battery clamp I’d guess he found a stress or corrosion failure where the clamp attaches to the cable.

Often that’s all that’s necessary in a case like this. I’d sleep soundly. You should be fine.

The trouble you described does sound like a bad connection to the battery. I suspect you will fine now. If the trouble still occurs then remove and clean the battery connections.