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Battery Terminal Clamp

My 1998 Nissan Sentra conked out on me today 3 times and had to be jumped, to no avail. A light on the dash ( brake ) kept coming on for a couple of days, but when I accelerated, it would go off. I was told because the battery terminal clamp was cracked all the way up, this was probably the issue. I have to get it to a repair shop, but I’m afraid it might be something else. What should I look out for and how would I know if it is the alternator or the actual clamp? Thank you. signed, A woman in need of car advice and quickly!

This Must Be A Top Post Battery.

You’re sure they meant battery terminal clamp and not just battery terminal (post)?

Without seeing the clamp and its supposed crack, it is very difficult to advise you. I’d see if the clamp is so loose that it can be wiggled and removed from the battery post by hand (It shouldn’t be) and if so I’d be tempted to try to C-clamp the outside of the battery clamp with a small C-clamp to tighten the connection.

Be careful working around car batteries. You can damage the car or injure yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Where’s this person who told you that the clamp is cracked? Can they help you?
You need help from someone in person. You can try stopping by an Autozone or an Advance Auto parts store or some other chain that installs batteries. See if you can get somebody that knows something about cars to look at it, free of charge.


This is a bit confusing. You say you the car conked out three times and was jumper “to no avail.” If it didn’t start how did you drive it three times?

If the battery terminal clamp is broken it could be the problem, as it would prevent a solid electrical connection to the battery.

You will need to have the battery and the alternator tested to determine their condition. They may be fine, but should be tested to make sure.

The brake light is a separate issue. The most likely cause of the light coming on is low fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir. This you can check yourself under the hood. The reservoir is translucent plastic and you should be able to see the fluid level without removing the cap.

If that brake warning light is one that warns of the emergency brake being on, that light + the alternator warning light can = a failing alternator. You did not tell us if the alternator warning light was also lit up, but putting all of your information together, I surmise that this is the case.

While it seems counterintuitive for the e-brake warning light to have anything to do with the car’s charging system, the way that this light is wired in most cars is the reason why the combination of those two warning lights almost always indicates that the alternator is failing and needs to be replaced a.s.a.p.

Get that alternator checked before you are stranded again!