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  • Car battery

    I have a car battery question.

    Our car was finally delivered 2 1/2 months after I handed it over to the shippers. The delivery driver on this end said they had to jump start it to get it going and they let it idle on the truck the 1hr+ trip to our apartment. Well, I don't think that was sufficient. My multimeter read 10.5V yesterday.

    My neighbor jumped it for me this afternoon and I drove around 1/2hr before going to fill up ($7/gallon BTW). Well, it wouldn't start but luckily one of the local staff was around and helped me jump the car. It's almost all city driving here so the engine doesn't rev much past 2000rpm. I then drove around for nearly 2 more hours and with the engine running, I was reading 13.5V which isn't unexpected. With the engine off, it was 12.5V. I was able to turn the engine over again before I left. Now fast forward 2 1/2hrs and the car won't start again. Now it's reading 11.5V,

    Now stupid, non-car guy question. This is definitely a battery issue, right? Somehow letting it sit for 2 1/2 months was enough to kill it so it won't hold a charge anymore?

    Now the fun of trying to find a place here that will sell me a new battery.


  • #2
    Battery is dead, dead, dead. It should read 12.6 vdv with car not running and between 13.6 to 15 ish with car running, assuming the alternator is not dead. If it doesnít read this running, get the alternator checked before replacing the battery.


    • #3
      Nothing that you describe since receiving the car would result in the battery becoming fully charged. The 12.5 v reading could be simply surface charge. The best way to "restore" an old battery is an extended trickle charge. If there is curable sulfation, that might do it. Otherwise, a battery that is not fully charged can not be correctly tested, and testing a sealed battery is always a crap shoot. If the battery is fully charged, and it behaves well afterward, then there is still life in the battery. If problems persist after a full charge, it's likely time to recycle it. I have to say that I'm very curious as to where you relocated, but noticed that you've always been circumspect about that. Someplace that doesn't have easy access to lead-acid 12 volt batteries causes the imagination to run wild I'm not asking, though!


      • #4
        I'm inclined to think the battery is dead. Lots of other people in our situation all over the world have the same thing happen to them when their car is delivered after a long wait.

        I'm sure I'll be able to find a battery here but there's so much lost in translation that Google isn't always your friend. Your friends are your friends and fortunately they've pointed me to some local auto shops. I have heard that you must typically take your car to a shop specific to your car's make, though. Not quite a dealership but like it. Most people here do speak English and although they can be prickly, I get by.


        • #5
          Itís not rocket science. Batteries are designated by group size. Itís written on the battery somewhere, or go to an online auto parts site and enter your auto year, model, motor etc and it will tell you the size, cca ( cold cranking amp). Iíve never had a problem with automobile batteries, mainly if they will fit in the space provided and the positive and negative terminal is on the correct side of the battery, it will work. ( usually regardless to the group size ) I donít know how many Iíve purchased by simply carrying the old dead battery to the parts store and picking one on the battery rack that was the same dimension as mine...... and the price was agreeable. Walmart made it real easy because they always beat everyoneís price and the sold plenty of batteries so you were sure to get a fresh battery. THATS ONE THING TO LOOK OUT FOR!! Donít buy a battery that has an old date on it. Setting on the shelf is a battery killer. A one year old battery, I might buy in a tight spot, but a two year old battery might not be any better than what you already have. UNLESS it is a dry battery, meaning that it does not have the acid in it. I donít know if anyone does dry batteries now, thatís the ďoldĒ way.


          • #6
            Most lead acid batteries don't like to be over-discharged... once discharged enough to need jump-starting the battery is wounded a bit and will have lowered capacity. It may still read over 12 volts (engine off) but it won't have the reserves it's supposed to have. Also, manufacturer warranties on most car lead-acid batteries are pretty spot-on - i.e. a "36 month" battery is going to last 36 months and not a whole lot longer. It may seem okay after that - starting the engine daily for another year or two - but if you let the car sit more than a few days it'll struggle to start the engine because its reserve capacity is poor.

            Take a look around the car though and make sure all doors, the trunk lid, and even the hood are properly closed. On many cars today the trunk lid can be ajar and not be obvious... but the trunk light might be ON all the time and that certainly doesn't do the battery any favors. I've even seen where a bit of debris got into the trunk switch mechanism, jamming the pushbutton that controlled the light so the light was ON full-time. Cars with lots of fancy electronics inside (e.g. nav screens) often have 3 modes to those electronics: ON, OFF, and StandBy. ON of course when you are driving, OFF if the vehicle has been parked a while, and StandBy if you've only recently shut it off. My Genesis is this way... it sits in StandBy for about 20 minutes when the engine is first turned OFF. That way, if I'm just running into a quick store or stopping at the gas station to fill up, the electronics will wake up quickly when I restart the engine. After 20 minutes though the electronics figure "gonna be a while" and fully shuts down. Anything that makes the car think you are nearby will keep it in that StandBy state: any door switch saying a door/trunk/hood is open, a key FOB within radio range of the car, etc. The hood, and sometimes trunk, often have rubber bumpers attached to them to push on the switches. Those bumpers typically are cylindrical mounds that either snap into holes in the hood sheet metal or have screw-threads to screw into holes in the sheet metal. Those threaded ones can be adjusted in/out as needed to make positive contact with the sensor switch. Whatever, make sure any such rubber pads are still present and haven't been screwed in too far. Otherwise the car sees "hood is open" so it sits in StandBy mode forever and the alarm can't arm properly. On my Genesis, this rubber pad is half-way back along the driver side edge of the hood and there is a not-so-obvious round button target in the sea of under-hood plastic used on cars today. Even if everything is closed and all sensor switches are working properly, modern electronics take enough power in the OFF state to discharge the battery after a few weeks if the vehicle isn't driven at all. I.e. if the car is going to be parked more than 2-3 weeks or so expect the battery to be discharged enough that you'll notice starting the engine is slower/harder than normal and that battery might not be able to start the engine at all. Trickle chargers or "battery maintainer" devices help this. Disconnecting the battery works too. I suspect this is what happened with your vehicle - simply not run often enough to recharge the battery and it got over-discharged and is permanently damaged.

            The alternator has a few diodes inside it to rectify the 3-phase AC voltage it produces into the DC needed by the car. If one of those diodes shorts out, the alternator will still recharge the battery (as the other 2 of the 3 phases still function) at a slower than usual rate... but that shorted diode may discharge the battery when the engine is OFF - with that shorted diode the alternator is almost a short-circuit. This is often the problem when a new/good battery won't last overnight. NAPA and other stores typically have charge system "ripple voltage" testing tools that just clamp to the battery posts to look for this bug. My local NAPA doesn't even charge for this test - it takes just seconds.

            "Deep cycle" batteries (often called "marine batteries" or "RV batteries") can withstand deep discharges without this type of damage. They cost a lot more than plain lead-acid car batteries but are needed for vehicles that sit parked for extended durations.

            Last edited by mpc; 04-12-2018, 06:04 PM.


            • #7
              Yep, it was the battery. I called a mechanic at the motorpool this morning. He and his coworker dropped whatever they were doing, drove to my apartment, jumped the car, and the three of us drove to a local tire/battery shop. The mechanic there quickly wrapped up what he was doing and then swapped out my battery with a motorpool guy comically watching over him telling him in Arabic (yes, we live in a Middle Eastern country now)--and I'm guessing because I don't speak Arabic--not to overtighten the lugs on the battery terminal. These two guys obviously know each other. The battery shop worker motioned to me as if to say, "Can you make this guy go away?" I know what I'm doing." It was pretty funny.

              Well, the car runs like normal now. I can't decipher all the writing on the battery but I think some month and "2018" are stamped on top so I have a good feeling a got a fresh battery. My old battery was a 4 year old AutoCraft Gold battery from Advanced Auto Parts so I guess it was time. Before tax the new one cost me about $95. Pricey by US standards and I don't know if I should have haggled but small price to pay for mobility.


              • #8
                One deep discharge probably won't destroy a good new battery. One deep discharge will definitely finish off an old battery immediately.


                • #9
                  That doesnít sound like a bad price. Maybe not a Walmart price, but you needed a battery. I guessed you would have to pay twice that.