CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

98 civic not cranking but lights work

My car is not cranking but the lights work such as the dash light and headlights, when I turn the key I heard a sqeak sound like squeaaaaak, and when ever I try to start it I see that the ground wire connected to the negative terminal is smoking every time I turn the key , and the bolt is becoming hot any suggestions thankd

Wow!
You apparently have a battery with an internal short.
You could also have a bound up peripheral component, like the AC compressor or PS pump.
Have the vehicle towed to your favorite mechanic for a new battery. Don’t risk a fire.

That sounds like a poor connection. Unbolt the cable, clean the connection with a wire brush and reconnect.

2 Likes

Thanks for the responses I’ll try every thing and I want to add that the car push starts fine also

as Nevada_545 said, clean batt terminals.

if you like you can do a voltage drop of the terminals, showing you how much voltage is lost in the connections when you crank the car

I’ll try everything and I’ll record everything to show y’all

this is my ground wire connected to the body

The battery post clamp does not look the right one and you need to clean all ground points before anything else.

Someone removed the original cables. The primary negative cable should be bolted to the engine and a second cable bolted to the body with a clean connection, no paint.

Edit; there is a separate cable from the body to the engine so just clean that negative connection on the cable and body.

What should I do

https://youtu.be/_T9VXhV4Nh8. Here is a link of a youtube video I made and you could hear a sound if you turn up your volume like a squeak

It looks like you have the correct cable. Here’s the replacement for sale on Rockauto:
http://www.rockauto.com/info/154/A11-4T_PRIMARY__ra_p.jpg
I’d get sandpaper or a wire brush on my drill and clean up all rust at the connection and cable, it needs to be metal of metal.
Do you have a wrench that you can use to attempt to turn the engine over? KEY OUT, of course! If there’s something preventing the engine from turning it could cause this problem.

I’ll give it a try

If the car push starts OK, then the engine is turning over.

What does that mean

What are you asking about ?

That means you don’t need to see if you can rotate the engine with a wrench, I missed the post about push starting it. So concentrate on the connections right now. There also must be a cable connecting the body to the engine, that one also needs clean connections, along with the positive battery cable (disconnect it after disconnecting the negative ground cable).

Thanks everyone for the responses !!! So there’s a connection between the engine block and the battery??, my positive is connected to the starter and the negative is connected to the frame which fries every time I try to crank it, but I’m buying a new negative wire since its corroded