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Charging a battery with terminals on side

My 2004 Saturn Ion won’t start, I put a new starter in it but it just cranks like it wants to start, but won’t turn over. Just wondering is the battery dead or is there something wrong with wiring in fuse box. If battery is dead, can I charge the battery with negative terminal only? The red terminal is connected to the car so can someone help me please.

If the engine cranks over but doesn’t start, it’s not a battery issue.

Check for spark/fuel while cranking the engine over.


Turning over refers to the electric starter motor turning the engine over in an attempt to start, not actually the engine starting. So if the starter motor is working, it’s not the battery but some problem with the engine itself. If the starter motor is not working, it’s possible the battery is depleted (needs charging or the battery is shot). The red is positive and should not be connected to metal on the car. Black is negative/ground, and should be connected to metal of the car. You can get stubs that screw into the side terminals after the cables are removed to make charging easier but really not so necessary.

The black terminal can come off but the red terminal doesn’t budge at all. Is it still possible to charge the battery with one terminal?

In order to charge a battery, you have to connect to both battery terminals.

These are adapters used to charge a side mount battery when it’s out of the vehicle.


If you can’t get a battery terminal off, you need some experienced help. If you don’t have any friends or relatives that know their way around a car, have it towed to a shop. Not a national chain. If you don’t know of anyplace , look in the mechanics files on this site.

There is a connection where you install the jumper cable. Just follow the wire and you may have to open a plastic cover to get to it.

our grand prix had a similar issue. would not jump well with booster clamps on the red/black battery terminals but started ok with red booster clamp on the red hot jump post on the shock tower. gm puts the remote jump post on some cars. turns out the red terminal on battery had a ton of corrosion. got a new 6 point 5/16"-3/8" drive socket and applied correct amount of torque to bolt and it came loose. whew. than got a new battery. i had removed red/black terminals to check/clean in the last yr so i am not sure why the red terminal was crudded up