OK I was sure that I had asked this a few years ago because it is a recurring problem - doesn't matter if the battery is new or old and it doesn't matter if the bolts are new or old. Doesn't matter who installs the battery, doesn't matter who disconnects the cables or how many times it has been done. The first time this happened was with a top-of-the-line AAA $140 battery with a 3-year warranty. Up until then - I had been having no problems with the el-cheapo Walmart $59 battery but (and this is a TOTALLY other, very long story that you would not believe) .....as part of a starter replacement fiasco of epic nature back in 2015, I was told that they wouldn't keep working on the car unless I agreed to have one of these expensive batteries put in....that is how I got started with the nightmare of AAA and their @!#$ty batteries. Anyway......happened with the first one.......that died prematurely.....got replaced with a 2nd one......happened with that one......that died got replaced with the latest one just 6 months ago in August of 2019. At the time the AAA battery van guy installed this new one, he (the VERY first time this battery had ever been connected to any car's cables/bolts) couldn't get it tight and it just spun around and around.....so he got a different bolt for the negative post from his van and tried that. Not very tight but it started so that was good enough for AAA. That lasted until 10 days ago when I go to turn the key - nothing. Sure enough - go jiggle the negative bolt - starts right up. Then yesterday, Same thing - two times in the same day at different times and places. I had used the old 8mm to just barely touch the damn thing because just as it gets a little tight, it releases and just spins around. So my question is - AM I THE ONLY person this happens to? Is there a solution to the problem that is quick, simple, cheap and easy and that I can do for just a few bucks? I am less worried about getting the car started than I am having this loose connection wreak havoc on my alternator and other components.
Any advice, shared experiences, or suggestions would be appreciated.
The bolt was very likely over tightened and it stripped the internal threads. I did this once very many years ago on my 96 cav. The threaded hole on GM style side terminal batteries from what I can tell is the same lead alloy as a typical battery post so while it is harder than pure lead, it is still quite soft compared to the actual terminal bolt. You might be able to wrap some copper wire in the bolt threads to create a tighter grip with what is left of the threads to get by. (Kind of like a poor man's helicoil). You can also smear some Kopr-Sheild on the threads to promote and maintain conductivity. Good luck!