Automotive

Car Battery or Alternator

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 1st, 2021 4:33 am
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Jan 27, 2006
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CheapRuss wrote: You can usually buy an inexpensive multi meter at Cdn Tire to do this test. If this test passes, I would next charge the battery overnight, then see if it starts the car. If it does, next is the poor mans load test. Rather than buy a load tester (Cdn Tire does sell them, cannot remember how much), turn on your headlights for 10 minutes with the car not running. Then try and start the car. If the car starts, your battery is probably okay. If car does not start, check the connections, but chances are that your battery is cooked. If the battery and alternator check out, you may have some other intermittent issue in the starting system.

One way or another, you will need to acquire a battery charger and multi meter if you want to try and fix this yourself. Otherwise, take it to a mechanic.
Princess Auto has, what seems like, a decent conductance auto battery tester for $27 - https://www.princessauto.com/en/12v-bat ... 0008943383. According to the website, it will also do the assorted checks on the alternator and starting load testing of the battery.
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Nov 2, 2005
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craftsman wrote: Princess Auto has, what seems like, a decent conductance auto battery tester for $27 - https://www.princessauto.com/en/12v-bat ... 0008943383. According to the website, it will also do the assorted checks on the alternator and starting load testing of the battery.
How do you come to the conclusion that it's decent? They're providing very little information about it, no reviews and no model information to search for. Sure, PA have a great return policy but if it's not accurate how do you even know with no other reference to compare with?
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May 31, 2008
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If you are not pressed for time It wouldn't hurt to buy a battery charger/tester as you will definitely use it especially if you don't plan on driving the car much in the future. Give it a full charge and see how you make out. Short of that, I would just use CAA to have it towed to a mechanic and have it diagnosed and fixed properly.

I've had many batteries and a few alternators go in the past, and it's confusing how yours is dying as soon as you put it into drive as that has never happened to me. Maybe it's a safety thing triggered by the computer because there is not enough voltage? Many moons ago, the turn signals would not work if the voltage was too low as the relay needed a minimum voltage to operate. They would turn on but not flash. Not sure if that has changed with new types of lights, computers, etc.

Anyways, if you're not pressed for time I would try option # 1, but if you need it fixed asap, just tow it to your mechanic and be done with it. Please let us know how you made out.
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Jan 27, 2006
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dirtmover wrote: How do you come to the conclusion that it's decent? They're providing very little information about it, no reviews and no model information to search for. Sure, PA have a great return policy but if it's not accurate how do you even know with no other reference to compare with?
I'm labelling it as decent for the listed functionality as well as it is strikingly similar to other units listed on Amazon for more money. It's been my experience with these types of testers that there are only a handful of OEMs that make them but a lot of firms rebadge them. Now, if the price was higher (ie in the $40s which many of the similar looking testers are), then I wouldn't say that it was a decent deal but to buy one of those from Amazon. At the lower price, the rating goes up.
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Dec 23, 2003
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@CDNPatriot

You got some good suggestions from others. I would also suggest having a look at my car battery FAQ for some information.

car-batteries-faq-general-information-t ... s-2161758/

In particular, have a look at this battery care and maintenance video for some suggestions:

[OP]
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Aug 26, 2004
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motomondo wrote: 10 minutes at idle? Was the car moving?

20 minutes at idle, or was it moving?

You have a battery from 2018. The CAA guy said it is fine. But you are doing a lot of idling and the alternator is not charging the battery.

Is it possible it is the battery?
The first time I tried to drive it but died within seconds after putting into drive. The second time it died after 20 minutes. I thought I could charge the battery by getting a boost and then the alternator doing the rest especially after a drive.
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Jun 30, 2006
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Replace the battery first. See how that goes.
[OP]
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Aug 26, 2004
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Update and Resolution (hope it stays this way)

Just wanted to provide an update as this may be helpful to anyone that finds themselves with my situation in the future. I went with a battery charger. My rationale is that I may need it again the future as the vehicle maybe off the road for a couple of more months and the battery charger I purchased had a maintenance feature.

I charged the battery it was at 0% several hours later it was 100%. I let it rest for the night as the battery was really hot (as was the charger). I reinstalled the battery into the vehicle this morning and it started without any issues/warning lights. I was able to drive off with it and spent 3 hours driving around and doing errands with it (turning it on and off a few times).

For those that experience this the other option is to buy another battery as others suggested. But was concerned that I would find myself in the same situation as I don't think even if I were to start the vehicle weekly it would not be enough to maintain the charge. I already used up my once a year free 48 hour insurance coverage without any premiums charged so the next time I call in for temporary coverage to drive the car and have the alternator charge up the battery would come at a cost. Not sure what the cost to drive it for a day is but from a monetary perspective with the information I had was a toss up between buying a battery or a charger.

Will see if this battery holds up in the short term and for another year or two that these batteries have lasted me in the past.
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Jan 27, 2006
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CDNPatriot wrote: Update and Resolution (hope it stays this way)

Just wanted to provide an update as this may be helpful to anyone that finds themselves with my situation in the future. I went with a battery charger. My rationale is that I may need it again the future as the vehicle maybe off the road for a couple of more months and the battery charger I purchased had a maintenance feature.

I charged the battery it was at 0% several hours later it was 100%. I let it rest for the night as the battery was really hot (as was the charger). I reinstalled the battery into the vehicle this morning and it started without any issues/warning lights. I was able to drive off with it and spent 3 hours driving around and doing errands with it (turning it on and off a few times).

For those that experience this the other option is to buy another battery as others suggested. But was concerned that I would find myself in the same situation as I don't think even if I were to start the vehicle weekly it would not be enough to maintain the charge. I already used up my once a year free 48 hour insurance coverage without any premiums charged so the next time I call in for temporary coverage to drive the car and have the alternator charge up the battery would come at a cost. Not sure what the cost to drive it for a day is but from a monetary perspective with the information I had was a toss up between buying a battery or a charger.

Will see if this battery holds up in the short term and for another year or two that these batteries have lasted me in the past.
Now that you have charged the battery, get the battery tested before too long. You want to know the condition of the battery while the weather is warm before you find out on a cold Winter's night that the battery should have been replaced earlier...
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Aug 18, 2013
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If the battery was fully drained and 4+ years old I doubt it will make it through the winter.
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Feb 6, 2011
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CDNPatriot wrote: Unfortunately, I did not start my car for about four months.
Suggest you get one of these battery quick disconnects similar to this if the car sits for months. Once its installed, just turn the knob a half turn, then all power is disconnected and saves your battery.

https://www.amazon.ca/Battery-Master-Di ... B071RHFVLZ

But don't get it from from Amazon, too expensive, get it from a auto parts store or Princess Auto for half the price.

I have on on my pickup truck and it sits for 6 months at a time during spring and summer, starts right away in the fall and winter.
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Mar 23, 2004
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billford wrote: Suggest you get one of these battery quick disconnects similar to this if the car sits for months. Once its installed, just turn the knob a half turn, then all power is disconnected and saves your battery.

https://www.amazon.ca/Battery-Master-Di ... B071RHFVLZ

But don't get it from from Amazon, too expensive, get it from a auto parts store or Princess Auto for half the price.

I have on on my pickup truck and it sits for 6 months at a time during spring and summer, starts right away in the fall and winter.
This is the thing the OP is really missing here. You can't leave a battery connected to a car for months an expect it's going to last. OP is lucky it's not winter because they would have froze the battery and it would be game over for it for sure. Now it's probably just sulfated a good bit, but at least it didn't freeze.

If you're not going to use the car for months. Disconnect. The. Battery. (Negative terminal off, is all you need to do.)
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Jan 27, 2006
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notunknown wrote: If the battery was fully drained and 4+ years old I doubt it will make it through the winter.
Testing the battery is the only way to know for sure. Otherwise, it's just a guess at best.
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Jan 27, 2006
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ES_Revenge wrote: This is the thing the OP is really missing here. You can't leave a battery connected to a car for months an expect it's going to last. OP is lucky it's not winter because they would have froze the battery and it would be game over for it for sure. Now it's probably just sulfated a good bit, but at least it didn't freeze.

If you're not going to use the car for months. Disconnect. The. Battery. (Negative terminal off, is all you need to do.)
Realistically, just disconnecting the battery isn't enough as the battery will start the stratification process where the acid separates from the water and sinks to the bottom half of the battery. That battery needs to have a periodic top-off charge or be tilted every now and then so that stratification doesn't happen.
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Mar 23, 2004
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craftsman wrote: Realistically, just disconnecting the battery isn't enough as the battery will start the stratification process where the acid separates from the water and sinks to the bottom half of the battery. That battery needs to have a periodic top-off charge or be tilted every now and then so that stratification doesn't happen.
Indeed the battery will still degrade just left sitting there but it will not discharge and get destroyed and become "dead" as most laypersons would conclude after a battery goes bad in similar circumstances. The battery would almost certainly have started the car had it been left disconnected, not so for the one left connected and left sitting for months.

Proper maintenance charging would be best, sure, but without even needing to buy a charger, the same dummies leaving their batteries connected and draining over months needn't even do that. They just need a small wrench to disconnect the negative and that will go a long ways to helping avoid the issue of a non-starter later on. One caveat of course is that many cars these days are rather hard to lock without a battery connected. If it's inside a garage there are no worries there but otherwise could be an issue.
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Jan 27, 2006
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ES_Revenge wrote: Indeed the battery will still degrade just left sitting there but it will not discharge and get destroyed and become "dead" as most laypersons would conclude after a battery goes bad in similar circumstances. The battery would almost certainly have started the car had it been left disconnected, not so for the one left connected and left sitting for months.

Proper maintenance charging would be best, sure, but without even needing to buy a charger, the same dummies leaving their batteries connected and draining over months needn't even do that. They just need a small wrench to disconnect the negative and that will go a long ways to helping avoid the issue of a non-starter later on. One caveat of course is that many cars these days are rather hard to lock without a battery connected. If it's inside a garage there are no worries there but otherwise could be an issue.
The other issue is that some OEMs need certain things reprogrammed when the power is disconnected - ie Hondas and the factory radio or Subarus and the throttle body position, radio presets, and the auto power window position...
[OP]
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Aug 26, 2004
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ES_Revenge wrote: This is the thing the OP is really missing here. You can't leave a battery connected to a car for months an expect it's going to last. OP is lucky it's not winter because they would have froze the battery and it would be game over for it for sure. Now it's probably just sulfated a good bit, but at least it didn't freeze.

If you're not going to use the car for months. Disconnect. The. Battery. (Negative terminal off, is all you need to do.)
Esrevenge you are right I missed this.
[OP]
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Aug 26, 2004
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craftsman wrote: The other issue is that some OEMs need certain things reprogrammed when the power is disconnected - ie Hondas and the factory radio or Subarus and the throttle body position, radio presets, and the auto power window position...
It’s a 1999 Toyota Corolla Slightly Smiling Face don’t think it needs anything reprogrammed and locks do not require any power.
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Dec 23, 2003
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CDNPatriot wrote: It’s a 1999 Toyota Corolla Slightly Smiling Face don’t think it needs anything reprogrammed and locks do not require any power.
Since you are in Toronto, you can contact your local Partsource to see if they can do a free battery test. This way you know how the battery condition is. If the health is at 50% or lower when it is +30, I have a feeling that it won't be very reliable in the Winter unless you plan on doing some form of battery repair and monthly battery charging.
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hightech wrote: Since you are in Toronto, you can contact your local Partsource to see if they can do a free battery test. This way you know how the battery condition is. If the health is at 50% or lower when it is +30, I have a feeling that it won't be very reliable in the Winter unless you plan on doing some form of battery repair and monthly battery charging.
Remember that's a 1999 Corolla so it won't take much power to start the engine especially with today's batteries which are generally monsters compared to what was available 20+ years ago.

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