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Engine not start until I touched the cable attached to the battery

I have a 2001 Nissan Altima, and it runs well until today. it was very cold last night in atlanta, and when I was trying to start my engine this morning, the engine would not start. I turned on the headlight, nothing. but after I opened the hood and touched the metal part of the cable attached to the battery, and I tried restarting the engine, and this time it WORKs. but it happened again this afternoon after work, and i had to do the same thing again.

What could be the possible problem? the battery is very new and it seems that it has plenty of power.

please help.

Have a Happy New Year!

Most likely loose or corroded (can be hard to see) connection between the cable and battery. Remove, clean, replace, and tighten. Less likely is a bad connection within the battery, but it can happen.

Likely that the connections between the battery and cables need to be cleaned.

thanks, texases. yes the connectors are pretty much rusty. i used the corrosion cleaner before and the nuts are not easy to loosen ;(.

wishing you a better than good New Year!

It sounds as if the cable connector is loose on the battery post. With the car off and without touching anything else on the car, try lifting the cable off the post or rotating it around the post. If it turns or comes off it needs to be tightened - probably with a 10mm wrench.

Now you have two options - use some small vice grips to turn the nuts, or replace the nuts/bolts (they sell them at car parts places). If the clamps are really bad, you can replace them instead.

I noticed that when I touch the metal connectors, I kind of heard of the static discharge noise. I’ll try your suggestion firt thing in 2009 :wink:

Always disconnect the negative (black) cable first and reconnect it last if you decide to clean the connectors. If you disconnect the positive (red) cable first there is a chance of shorting out the battery (i.e. the wrench or pliers used to disconnect the positive terminal touches the frame accidently). Don’t ask me how I know.

Ed B.

Thanks for the tip!