Toledo Talk

Car battery problem

I know that this cold can reek havoc on car batteries and it seems to be doing it to mine. If the car sets overnight or at work during the day, it loses it charge. When I jump it, it starts right up without me even having to give the car any gas. Battery is about 1.5 years old. I am going to call Triple A this morning to see if they can run a diagnostic on the battery and electrical system but I thought I would throw it out to the experts on TT to see what you have to say.

created by daddyg on Jan 04, 2014 at 09:43:54 am     Comments: 16

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Battery Wholesale will check the battery and charging system for free.

posted by jhop on Jan 04, 2014 at 09:53:22 am     #   1 person liked this

^^^ Yes. And if you do need a battery, they will quickly install it at a competitive price.

posted by justread on Jan 04, 2014 at 10:02:03 am     #   1 person liked this

Could be something as simple as the terminals needing cleaning.
I agree, Battery Wholesale does good work.

posted by JeepMaker on Jan 04, 2014 at 10:04:57 am     #   1 person liked this

Guys at AutoZone on Byrne are helpful too. Even at 1.5yrs you could have one bad cell that would react that way. Have em check belt tension (and condition) to alternator. Interior lights in cars today can be kinda wonky. Wife is always leaving one on and claiming that I did it. That's never true.

posted by Mariner on Jan 04, 2014 at 10:17:11 am     #  

If it is not holding a charge the problem could be in the charging system. Cleaning the terminals is worth a shot, but it sounds like the battery is doing its job once it gets some strong current running through it via jumper cables.

I like the theory that some component is drawing power. If the obvious culprits are not the source (dome light, parking lights, etc.) and you have some time on your hands, the following link explains how to troubleshoot parasitic power drains. This is not that complicated if you have a multimeter, but it can be time consuming.

Me? I would not even think about working on a car in this kind of weather. Take it to Earl Brothers on Secor and let Jeff Booth and his crew work their magic. This type of cold is what we used to call "knuckle busting" weather, and every busted knuckle hurts 3X worse when it is über cold outside.

posted by historymike on Jan 04, 2014 at 10:37:54 am     #   2 people liked this

Me? I would not even think about working on a car in this kind of weather. Take it to Earl Brothers on Secor and let Jeff Booth and his crew work their magic. This type of cold is what we used to call "knuckle busting" weather, and every busted knuckle hurts 3X worse when it is über cold outside.

Agreed!

daddyg: You are very correct about cold weather "playing havock." It is this bad.

posted by paulhem on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:15:28 pm     #  

In other words...

Lead-acid batteries reach peak efficiency at 90 degrees F (32 C) As ambient temperature drops, ampere output and recharging efficiency decline, dropping to 40 percent of rated output at 0 degree F (-18 degree C). Cold Cranking Ampere (CCA) rating is the best yardstick by which to measure a battery's capacity. It indicated the discharge rate (measured in amperes) a fully charged battery will maintain at 0 degrees F (-17.8 degree C) without terminal voltage dropping below 1.2 volts per cell. The last major concern regarding battery applications is the environment in which it is used, specifically the temperatures at which the battery is required to operate.

posted by paulhem on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:21:52 pm     #  

In the time it takes to read that post, Battery Wholesale would have you diagnosed.

posted by justread on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:26:05 pm     #  

Yeah. I use Battery Wholesale, as well.

However, I would not go anywhere until I knew what the battery spec for my vehicle is in cold-cranking amps.

posted by paulhem on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:33:19 pm     #  

most auto parts stores will do a charging system check for free, Autozone, Oreillys, etc.

If you're car is fine after a jump but dead by morning, it is either a bad battery or you have a drain. If it was the charging system, most likely the car would have problems staying running especially after the jump. If the charging system can't keep the voltage going to charge up the battery, most likely it couldn't provide enough to keep the car and all the electronics running.

I'd bet it is a problem with the battery. Either it isn't keeping a charge, or it's starting or "crank" amps aren't enough for the car. Sometimes people get the cheaper battery and never see a problem until temperatures get extreme like they have been.

Good luck and please post what you find out. I like auto mechanic mysteries.

posted by hockeyfan on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:34:11 pm     #  

I've done business with Battery Wholesale and am happy with the service. AutoZone is also a very good bet.

What you should be hoping for at this point is a bad battery. If the charging system is not working, that can run into some serious bucks. This condition can also be caused by a short somewhere that's draining the battery. Again, not a good time.

posted by madjack on Jan 04, 2014 at 01:18:37 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'm gonna take it to Battery Wholesale for the test. Once the car is running for a while (such as the drive home from work), I can shut the car off and start it right away no problem. The rest of the electrical system seems to be running fine. The battery indicator in the car is pegged right at normal. Its when it sets for any period of time is the problem. I must admit that since this is my POS go-to-work jalopy, I cheaped out on the battery when I replaced it. Probably paying for that mistake now. Thanks for all the help! I'll post the solution when I know more.

posted by daddyg on Jan 04, 2014 at 01:50:31 pm     #  

Just stopped by Battery wholesale and had the battery checked in our 2009 jeep. fortunately it still exceeds its rating. Still going to replace it before summer just to be safe.

posted by jhop on Jan 04, 2014 at 02:44:51 pm     #  

So I tried to go to Battery Wholesale on Alexis near Jackman and it was a madhouse! Tow trucks in the parking lot and enough customer cars to fill the rest of the places. Then, in a moment of lucidity, I decided to go to AutoZone (where I had purchased the battery in the first place.) They were incredibly helpful. The battery was diagnosed as being kaput. They looked up my name in their system and the battery was found to still be under a partial warranty. Had to put up about $35.00 but I got a new battery and some piece of mind. Thanks to all for their suggestions and help! Stay warm all!

posted by daddyg on Jan 04, 2014 at 09:51:33 pm     #  

Pretty good ending to the story.

FYI, I have had trouble with Autozone parts failing before their warranty period. Great for the free replacement, but doing the labor on an alternator and water pump, not so much fun. I've since swapped to Oreilly's. So far, so good.

posted by hockeyfan on Jan 04, 2014 at 11:41:25 pm     #  

I went to battery wholesale yesterday too, I should have gone in the fall, but I am a procrastinator. I got there at about 11:15 and had my new battery driving home at 12:30. There was a long line, that was even longer when I left, to the point that the cars were blocking the right lane of Alexis waiting to get in. I like battery wholesale, they have fair prices and install it quickly, I mean I can put a battery in my car, but when you deal with the core deposit and the mess, screw it! They are nice guys who never try to " sell" you anything, just what you need!

posted by Larry on Jan 05, 2014 at 08:12:53 am     #