This one has bugged me for a while because I couldn't have an auto mechanic answer exactly why this worked. I had a 1995 Toyota Camry LE where the battery was seemingly dead. Didn't matter how many times I tried to crank it, it just didn't want to turn over. You could hear it struggling. Something possessed me at the time to spray tap water on the terminals (think something like enough water to connect the two terminals). I know it's stupid now, and it's way in the past, but it worked. I got into the driver's side, cranked it once and the car fired up. You could see the water jump and evaporate every time the starter demanded current from the battery for the sparks. I was able to drive it to an auto parts store and buy a replacement battery. Question is, why did the car immediately start when I put that water on the 2 exposed terminals?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! You are saying you sprayed the battery down on the top where the two lead posts are at (sticking up from the plastic on the ends)? Where the two thick wires were connected to the posts? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 27 '18 at 1:51
  • Hi Paul, thanks for jumping in on this. The Camry did have plastic terminal protectors that I pulled back to expose the terminals themselves. They were properly secured, the bolt/nut wasn't loose on either terminal. I believe I may have hand tightened the bolt to make sure the terminal wire was sufficiently connected. That I can recall, I don't think the terminals were corroded other than what a 10+ year old car (at the time) would have with normal wear and tear in Wisconsin weather. – DaveG. Jul 27 '18 at 2:00
  • The posts/terminals were wet and there was sufficient water between them, with a "bridge of water", that I think if there was a proper conductor the battery would have shorted in a not so fun way. – DaveG. Jul 27 '18 at 2:02
  • To be honest with you, I think the water provided contact at the posts and allowed a perfectly good battery to do its thing. When you replaced the battery with the new battery, the new contact was made and it continued to work. There's not much else which the water could have done. It's all speculation at this point, so i don't know if I can give you an authoritative answer (or anyone else for that matter). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 27 '18 at 2:03

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