Bizarre battery/starting issue.?
I’ve dealt with many starting issues before, but this one is baffling me right now. Its on my girlfriends 2001 ford escort zx2. I’ll tell most of the events/troubleshooting in chronological order.
Her car died at the gas station and would not start, headlights wouldn’t come on, dash lights were faint, I thought it was simply a dead battery. We jump start the car and even let it charge for a while. Once the cables were off it was still running, but the moment you did anything that involved electricity like headlights, brakelights, etc. It would shut off immediately.
So we had it towed home. I assumed perhaps the alternator had died, and simply wasn’t charging the battery, and that it was running off just the trickle of juice from the jump. So I put a battery charger on it for many hours, after taking it off however, theres almost no juice, just enough to actuate the door locks once or twice, and maybe give very very faint dash lights. Totally appeard to me that battery simply would hold no juice. I did this twice, and same results. Also since I had a feeling the alternator could have been bad, i tested it with a multimeter. The battery was giving about 12.47 volts with the car off, but with the car on (since I could jump it for a few seconds), the reading would be about 13.1 volts, which would indicate a weak alternator.
So we take the battery to autozone, since it was still pretty new and had warranty, they tested it with their tester and it came up fine at 88% even with load applied by the tester. I took it home and tried my own test hooking a 12volt hairdryer to it and it worked. I thought it was so odd that it can power a hardryer that draws 12amps, but can’t lite up the dash lights, tail lights, or actuate the door locks more than a couple times. I checked all the main fuses and they were fine. I charged the battery just a little bit more, outside of the car this time, and put it back in. All of a sudden, the car starts up and runs just fine, I started it a couple of times. I also re-tested the alternator again, and it was giving readings of 14.6 volts, like its working good. Battery was at about 13.5 volts alone, which seems a bit high but i figured maybe because it just came off the charger.
In any case, I can’t figure out what was/is wrong. I didn’t do anything to fix the car other than take the battery out and put it back in. The clamps were on nice and tight before, and didn’t show much corrosion, so I wouldn’t think it was just a matter of the connection being loose. What would cause that series of events? The car is working at the moment, but I’m worried the problem might exist and it might die again and have to be towed.
Our pick of the answers:
Putting a dead battery on a charger for a few minutes doesn’t really do the trick. Try putting the battery on a charger and let it charge overnight and then see what you get.
Battery should not get over it’s 12 volt rating.
Also, your connections may have looked good but there might have been a coating that was stopping the flow of juice. Hope you cleaned the terminals and battery posts.
my car won’t start after it sits all night?
I have an 04 Impala. If I let it sit overnight Occasionally it won’t start. Not every time, just sometimes. I just put in new battery about a month ago, and autozone tested the alternator and said it is fine. When I turn the key it doesn’t try to turn over, but I hear some things clicking? I put the car on my home battery charger, and when I started it said the battery was still 85% and after a couple of hours it was able to start just fine again. Also sometimes when I am driving along all my dash lights [brake, engine, airbag] will come on and then back off real fast.
Someone suggested to me the started could be bad, or the cables that go to the starter? Someone else said ‘computer’? Anyone got a clue?
I can’t add any video because for right now it is starting fine. A friend of mine who was trying to help said the noise was coming from the area of the starter. Just looking at my starter it is kind of rusty, but the wires and cables etc. have a rubber boot around them so I can’t tell. As for the battery terminals I had someone take them off and clean them a few months ago and put some sort of goop on, to me they look clean and fine.
Our pick of the answers:
It still would turn over if the computer was bad and the alternator does,nt start you car. Sounds like the starter itself or the solenoid on the starter.
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