Car Battery Problems

  morddwyd 20:58 07 Nov 2011

Over the last couple of weeks I have found that the car battery goes flat if the car sits in garage a few (three or so) days.

I have a charger, so it’s not an emergency, and so today, having double checked a couple of times that nothing had been switched on, I took it back to the main dealer from whom I bought it, new, less that six months ago.

They are forty miles away.

They had it from 8.30 until 2.00 and said that they had found the battery needed charging, and they had now given it a full charge and it should be OK.

Now I have been retired for ten years, and my electrical knowledge might be a little rusty, but I would have thought that a battery that needed a charge after a fast 40 mile run was a symptom of a fault, rather than the fault itself, and I would have been looking at the alternator or a duff cell.

However, my suggestion of a deeper fault was received somewhat patronisingly.

After all, I am a time served aircraft engineer, and they use 24 volts. What could I possibly know about a car, which uses a 12 volt system!

  interzone55 21:34 07 Nov 2011

I had a similar problem with a battery in a new car that would go completely flat within days.

The dealer replaced the battery like for like and all seemed well for a month, then the battery died again.

First dealer had closed so went to a different dealer, they again swapped like for like, and a month later it happened again.

So they looked again and noticed that the battery was the wrong model, it was the battery for a petrol model rather than a diesel. So they fitted the correct battery and everything was hunky dory and I had no more problems for the five years I owned the car.

  OTT_B 21:50 07 Nov 2011

It does sound like either a battery fault or a charging (alternator) fault.... The caveat to this is if the car only normally does very very short runs (esp so if it's diesel). It can cause low charge issues with the battery that the 40 mile run may not have fixed.

  the hick 21:52 07 Nov 2011

I had a Vectra few years ago, good battery kept going flat, and traced it to a sticking relay on the heated rear window circuit. Not common, but does happen.

  Woolwell 22:13 07 Nov 2011

Car alarm draining power or internal light (boot/glove box) left on or radio drawing power?

  Graham* 23:29 07 Nov 2011

I had to call out the AA when my 4 year-old Corsa wouldn't start. He tested the battery with a special meter, and declared it duff. He had a replacement on board, but it cost me £73.

He told me 4-5 years is the life expectancy these days. His new battery came with a 3 years roadside warranty.

  birdface 23:55 07 Nov 2011

Did you check that the drive belt was tight enough.

  spuds 00:31 08 Nov 2011

Vehicle batteries can be funny beasts at the best of times. I have a old Ford Sierra estate that is used for carrying and towing all sorts of items around the yard, and the battery in that must be at least 15 years old. Considering that the vehicle is only used infrequently, the battery seems to work first time, every time. (fingers crossed)

Another vehicle I have caused concern not all that long ago, when the battery (4 year old) failed suddenly. Got a replacement from the local car accessory shop which failed within two days, so obtained a third battery, Europarts own brand (Bosch?) with lifetime warranty. And everything seems back to normal.

  Covergirl 05:35 08 Nov 2011

Hmmmm . . . morddwyd - I think your post is more concerned with the "main dealer" who appears to be disinclined to replace your battery. I find this shocking behaviour. They are a main dealer so it's not like it's a sole proprietor having to put up with the hassle of returning one battery to his supplier.

Try this: charge your battery overnight and then disconnect it for 3-4 days and see if it goes flat. If it does, it's definitely a dud

Then on your next scheduled visit, charge it overnight before you go, tell them this and ask for a replacement while they assess your battery over a three or four day period - enough for it to go flat. Perhaps phone them first and suggest this approach?

Hopefully they will not call you back in to collect yours.

I've said it before on this forum - Halfords calcium batteries are imho worth the premium price. If it does go wrong, Halfords staff usually replace the battery no quibble as there is a date code on the casing (and a 4 year g'tee), and if you have doubts about the battery, they have always come up trumps with me.

  wiz-king 05:48 08 Nov 2011

Could be something draining the battery - a friend had a new Ford that suddenly started to go flat and it went back to the dealer several times and they did not find the fault, until one night he parked it in a dark car park and after he locked it he heard a click as he walked away and saw a glimmer of light from the boot reflected in a puddle. The electric boot lock has got a fault and it was allowing the boot to open just enough to put the boots interior light on which was draining the battery over several day. Result - new switch from the dealer, problem solved.

  Woolwell 07:13 08 Nov 2011

The problem with disconnecting the battery is that it can cause problems with the radio security code.

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