Intermittent Loss of Battery Connection '03 Accord EX

I had my car battery replaced about three months ago and when it was replaced they put those little anti-corrosion felt pads at the base of the terminals as well as anti-corrosion grease. My positive terminal would never maintain a secure connection so I removed the felt pad and replaced the terminal connection. Now my only problem is whenever it is very cold outside and I try to start the car, I lose power instantly as soon as the starter is about to engage. I always have to twist the positive terminal back and forth a couple times, listening to the crunching sound of the anti-corrosion grease, and power is restored.

Is there any brand of grease I can use that won’t cause this issue? Yes, I have removed the terminal, cleaned out the old grease and replaced with another pouch of the cheap stuff at the autozone counter and that didn’t work. There is no corrosion buildup on the terminals but I’ve consistently had the problem for the past few months.

I know Honda had a recall on ignition switched a while ago, and they replaced mine, but I’m not sure if there is any direct connection since my daily fix involves me manipulating the battery terminal to get the car started.

I always have to twist the positive terminal back and forth a couple times, listening to the crunching sound of the anti-corrosion grease, and power is restored.

If you can twist it by hand, it isn’t nearly tight enough.

Remove all the grease from the battery terminals and the battery posts.

Reinstall the terminals onto the battery posts and tighten them.

Then apply something like this to the terminals and posts.


When you say that you “replaced the connection”, does that mean you removed and replaced the positive clamp with a new one? I had problems with the positive battery clamp in my 2006 Accord and after close inspection I found that the thin copper clamp was half way eaten through and like you found that it would not get very tight on the positive post! Also, the clamp was only mechanically crimped on the stranded copper cable and the strands were permeated with green corrosion. I cleaned the strands and soldered it to a new heftier clamp. Seemed to have fixed my intermittent starting problem. Okay…I replaced my starter motor too for added insurance. :slight_smile:

If you can twist the cable connection at the battery the connection is not secure. Chances are you need to replace the cable end with a new one that will tighten properly.

I agree with Tester; get that grease off the terminal contact surfaces.

I’ve also seen some terminals that just won’t clamp down tight enough on some battery posts. The reason why is in hundreths of an inch and the terminal clamp can be filed here and there which will allow it to pull down tighter on the battery post. Where it needs to be filed depends upon the type of terminal.

Also make sure the terminal is pushed down onto the post as much as possible. The tiniest fraction of an inch too high up can mean the difference between tight and wallowing.

The OP states this only occurs when it’s very cold outside.

If there’s any grease between the battery terminal and the post, and the grease freezes, it’ll expand just like water does when it freezes, pushing the terminal away from the battery post making a poor/loose connection.

Removing anything between the terminal and battery post will prevent that from happening again when it’s very cold.


...the grease freezes, it'll expand just like water does when it freezes...

I doubt it.

I also agree with Tester because grease is a very poor electrical conducter. I’ve seen this before and have no idea why people would think this way. Grease can be used after a secure connection is made but not before.

Buy battery cables and replace them. Replacement clamps never work.


 <i>...the grease freezes, it'll expand just like water does when it freezes...</i>---Tester

I doubt it.—insightful

This happens to me every time I drive to Antarctica, but then every other durn thing freezes up as well so what the heck.
Seriously, anyone ever have any luck with battery post shims?

Battery post shims are basically useless. If I buy a vehicle that has them installed on the battery terminals…I remove them immediately and throw them away. I then clean the terminals and the battery cable ends and make sure they are firmly reattached.

I wonder if the replacement battery terminal is one of those lead type terminals? Those can sometimes be problematic on modern batteries as they just will not pinch down tight enough on the post. Shaving some material off in the pinch joint can cure this.

My preference is for the modern, thinner non-lead terminals. Better fit, contact, and less corrosion.

I have never heard grease “crunch”. I think you are hearing the corrosion and stranded wires moving inside the cable. Replace the cable.

Is there any brand of grease I can use ...

Yes, dielectric grease:

Thanks for all the help guys. I ended up buying terminal post shims and putting that over the original terminal posts. I can no longer twist the terminal by hand and i haven’t had a loss of power since.

Great help!