Is it just the battery cable?

Got into my 2005 Toyota Camry yesterday and noticed that all of my stereo presets were erased. No problem. Drove to a bank 11 miles away, no problems getting there, and parked. Came out, got back in, the instrument panel was dead, and the car would not make a sound when I turned the key.

Got out, looked under the hood, messed with the positive battery cable, and my wife said the radio came on. Got into the car and it started fine.

However, since then, each time I stop for too long (more than about 5 seconds) the car stalls. It will start right back up and I can continue on my way, but it does this - at - each - light. Only thing I did to it was wiggle the battery cable where the wires enter the clamp. I’m thinking that cable is somehow bad.

Alternator and battery are less than 6 months old. Starter does not make any strange noises. Am I right?

You very likely are correct.
My advice is to first disconnect that terminal, and give it and the battery post a good scrubbing to remove corrosion. Then, reconnect, making sure that it is tight enough so that you can’t move the connection. With any luck, that will cure the problem.

What has probably happened is corrosion has leached into the wires where they enter the clamp. This can cause a poor connection or a major voltage drop. When you wiggle the cable you establish a good connection and everything works again.

If it were me, I’d replace the entire cable.


I had a similar experience with my Corolla. One of the battery connections was loose, enough I could rotate the connector with my hand. I cleaned up the connections and re-tightened and the problem was solved. Suggest to ask your mechanic to try that first, on both the positive and negative battery connections. It’s not unusual this symptom would develop with colder temps. It was good enough for the summer, but now winter is about to arrive, it stresses the electrical system and these kinds of symptoms start to show up.

Thought of doing all 3 things suggested here, and will do all of them. Thanks for confirming what this novice was suspicious of. I won’t consider this solved until it’s solved, in case someone has an idea that I might not thought of, should this not work. Happy Thanksgiving.

If the cable is long enough, you might be able to just replace the clamp at the end–you can get them at any parts store for about $5. Check the negative cable too–it’s likely in as bad of shape. And it’s a good idea to disconnect the negative when working on the battery–the car’s frame is grounded so if you leave the negative connected it’s very easy to short from the positive to ground with a wrench, etc. There’s a lot of power there and you can burn yourself if you short it and in the worst case make the battery explode.

Yes, ck your connections. But, a notorious problem on the electronic throttle body is when the battery gets changed, or goes dead, the throttle body will stick in the gully closed position, not allowing any air to pass through. As a rule of thumb, whoever you change a battery, you should clean the throttle body. Spray cleaner on a clean rag, push open the throttle plate, and clean the gunk out. I clean it with every battery I change. But , it sound like you have a loose connection, and/or corrosion. Just saying, the stalling sounds like a gummed up throttle body. Cheers.

Did that and it seems to be working better, even before I’ve replaced the cables. Hope it continues. Thanks for that suggestion.