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I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla which started to display a symptom during cold weather (-20 - -30 C) where you would insert the key, turn in partway, activate the internal electronics, and then turn it to start the car and it would just click once.

At first, just shaking the car by moving around in the seat seemed to bring the electronics back to life and then you could turn the key and the starter would go and fire the motor up.

Now, knocking on the battery or engine compartment seems to wake everything back up, and then you can start the car normally.

It seems like there is a loose wire or connection, but I'm not sure how the battery is wired up or what parts I might need to replace.

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  • Are the battery terminals and ground connection clean and tight ? Mar 13 '20 at 0:00
  • @blacksmith37 - looks like my assumptions were wrong and it was only related to connectors nut being a bit loose. I had thought I had tightened them on enough recently so disregarded that it was going to be something simple along those lines... Whoops! Thanks for reminding me to check the basics.
    – Ryan B
    Mar 14 '20 at 5:30
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This could be a cracked or broken battery cable as you suggest but it could be an internal break inside the battery.

Seen similar symptoms where an internal cell link was loose.

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I would say inspect battery terminals and make sure they are clean then check the battery health. When batteries get old they can crack inside. Cold weather can bring weird stuff (Contraction & expansion) if you live in colder climate.

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