I have a 2001 Toyota Highlander which won't start. I also was unable to jump it. When I was looking around under the hood, I noticed that there was a black cable with an exposed end floating near the positive terminal of the battery. The positive terminal isn't completely disconnected, but I can't tell where the cable goes. I have attempted to show in the second photo how the cable with the loose end runs in the same direction of the cable that is connected to the battery.

Does anyone know what this cable is, or how I might discover that information? Any information on how I might repair is also appreciated.

battery in 2001 Toyota Highlander, disconnected black cable to left of positive terminal

side view of previous picture

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    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Jan 21, 2023 at 22:14
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 thanks for the welcome! Hopefully this post meets site standards. I checked the help center and I'm active on other SE sites but I don't know what's typical for this Stack.
    – irowe
    Jan 21, 2023 at 22:35
  • Strictly on topic. Can you at all trace that line to see where it goes to? Can you check the continuity between it and ground? Also, you're going to want to clean those battery terminals. They are covered in corrosion. Jan 21, 2023 at 22:43
  • I wasn't able to tell very well where the other end of the line was connected, it went behind the battery to the right edge of the under the hood somewhere under the fuse box. I can go back tomorrow and look more thoroughly, and I'll bring a multimeter to see if it's grounded (the car is currently abandoned at my workplace's parking lot) Copy on cleaning the terminals. The battery is ~3 months old and I applied some protection spray when I replaced it, so I'm disappointed it deteriorated so quickly.
    – irowe
    Jan 21, 2023 at 22:52
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    "What the cable is" is typically all electronics. Starter motor and Hi-Beams draw so much current from the battery that there is typically cable drop in the high-current cable. To avoid this, voltage-sensitive electronics are driven from a separate cable.
    – david
    Jan 22, 2023 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


I found this photo which appears to show that wire connected to the positive terminal - enter image description here

I found the photo on this website that is describing how to jump start the vehicle. See the video ‘Locate Positive Terminal’.

You should be able to replace what presumably was a crimped-on eyelet on the end of the cable. As a temporary fix to get you home, you may be able to loosen the nut and push the bare wire between the layers of metal that appear to be there, then tighten the nut up. In both cases it would be worth cleaning the metal faces first to ensure you get a good connection, since this wire will be carrying a large current, so you don’t want a high resistance that will cause a hot spot.

  • Excellent! Thanks for digging this up, that confirms my suspicions. Now to determine if I can replace the cable easily on my own...
    – irowe
    Jan 22, 2023 at 0:49
  • @irowe I have added to my answer.
    – HandyHowie
    Jan 22, 2023 at 8:28
  • Thanks for the edit. I bought a new eyelet and was planning to remove the snapped off piece from under the nut and re-connect with the new one, but the nut was rusted on too tightly for me to get off and I gave up after I dropped my 10mm socket somewhere into the car. I ended up jamming the bare wire between the collar and the terminal to get the car started and back to somewhere where it can get properly serviced.
    – irowe
    Jan 23, 2023 at 14:47

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