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Any gearheads with some advice?

- in Milwaukee and it's bitter cold this week

- My car is parked outdoors on driveway, and don't drive too often with working from home.  Go to the gym, errands, appts basically.

- 2 days ago was going to the gym and went to start and it did the rawr, rawr, rawr normal starting sound but didn't turn over and conked out with all dash icons lighting up.    Tried it again and it started up fine.   Went to gym for 2 hr workout and came out and started up and drove fine again.

- Yesterday go out to start it up and it did the rawr, rawr, rawr and conk out again.   Tried restarting about 5 times and same thing...never turns over.   When I push in the brake pedal to push start it feels very tight and doesn't depress far at all.

- Later in the day when sun was out and a little warmer (like 2 degrees above zero only still), still no luck.   Tries to turn over, but never does (lights, heater, radio all come on)

- I used gf's suv to jump start the battery hoping it needed a little juice to get it to turn over, but no luck with that.

Now, not sure what to do as supposed to be bitter cold for the rest of the week.    

Any ideas of what the issue is?  Any tricks to just get the thing started so I can get it in somewhere and don't need to get it towed?

Appreciate it!

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I would replace the battery, it's easy and relatively inexpensive and if the battery is nearing 4-5 years old, it's probably due for replacement anyway.  I had a 2 year old battery die on me a couple of years ago.  It had a 3 year warranty on it, I took it back to Autozone (I think it was) and because it was their brand, they didn't even ask for a receipt, it still had the date code sticker on it.  They did put a battery tester on it, looked over the result and said "yeah, it has bad cells in it, let me grab a new one for you" and I was on my way.  By the way, I always put the receipt in a tiny ziplock bag and tape it to the side of the battery just in case.

Edited by Sullie
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22 minutes ago, Sullie said:

I would replace the battery, it's easy and relatively inexpensive and if the battery is nearing 4-5 years old, it's probably due for replacement anyway.  I had a 2 year old battery die on me a couple of years ago.  It had a 3 year warranty on it, I took it back to Autozone (I think it was) and because it was their brand, they didn't even ask for a receipt, it still had the date code sticker on it.  They did put a battery tester on it, looked over the result and said "yeah, it has bad cells in it, let me grab a new one for you" and I was on my way.  By the way, I always put the receipt in a tiny ziplock bag and tape it to the side of the battery just in case.

I'm not exactly sure how old the battery is...maybe 3-4 yrs old?    If it was the battery, wouldn't a jump start give it some extra juice to just get it going or no?

Is it easy to replace the battery....just a couple of nuts I assume to get it out?  Then can take it in to a Batteries Plus to get a correct new one?

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The battery is easy to get out.  Remove it and take it to the auto parts store.  They can test it and tell you if it should be replaced.  That way, if it's not the battery you don't buy a new one without needing it.

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5 minutes ago, offdee said:

I'm not exactly sure how old the battery is...maybe 3-4 yrs old?    If it was the battery, wouldn't a jump start give it some extra juice to just get it going or no?

Is it easy to replace the battery....just a couple of nuts I assume to get it out?  Then can take it in to a Batteries Plus to get a correct new one?

So, a few ideas here.  You can go to O'Riley autoparts, have them test the battery for you and if they determine the battery is bad they will get you a correct replacement battery and even install it for you if you'd like.  I think it's a bit more money but it's an option if you don't want to do it yourself or pay a ton of money at the dealership.  I have 4 different cars right now, I've had a TON of cars over the years and I've gotten pretty comfortable and familiar changing out batteries. I was pretty intimidated the first time so I get it but, youtube is your friend here for your specific vehicle if you want to tackle it yourself and you need specific instructions.  For example, some BMW's have the battery in the trunk, etc.  Every car is a little different so it doesn't hurt to watch a video first for what to expect.
 

Yeah, so if a battery is really bad (I've seen this before) - it simply won't jump at all - so it's hard to tell without getting it tested but (to me) all signs point to bad battery.

Edited by Sullie
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2 minutes ago, Sullie said:

So, a few ideas here.  You can go to O'Riley autoparts, have them test the battery for you and if they determine the battery is bad they will get you a correct replacement battery and even install it for you if you'd like.  I think it's a bit more money but it's an option if you don't want to do it yourself or pay a ton of money at the dealership.
 

Yeah, so if a battery is really bad (I've seen this before) - it simply won't jump at all - so it's hard to tell without getting it tested but (to me) all signs point to bad battery.

Excellent, thanks!   And I just found a tutorial video online about replacing a battery....lol, yeah I can do that.  Simple.    thanks guys

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37 minutes ago, offdee said:

I'm not exactly sure how old the battery is...maybe 3-4 yrs old?    If it was the battery, wouldn't a jump start give it some extra juice to just get it going or no?

Is it easy to replace the battery....just a couple of nuts I assume to get it out?  Then can take it in to a Batteries Plus to get a correct new one?

 

How long did you keep the battery under charge? Did you have the jump starting car running?

If the battery is really dead you have to keep the jumper cables on the car for a while.

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10 - Optima Red Top  35- best battery to start you up on those cold days.  Around the country seen as a top battery for starting your engine

 

9 - Optima Yellow Top d34 - so close to being a red top but just falls short in starting you up when its really cold.  Her cold cranking amps just cant beat a red top.

 

8 - AC Delco professional - a really high quality battery. Locally amazing with its durability and appearence.

 

Im too lazy to do the whole thing :cool:

Edited by belljr
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41 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

These guys nailed it but I dunno about doing it yourself. For starters (see what I did there), do you even have the appropriate "outfit" to go to O'Reilly?

:lmao:  Advanced Auto Parts accepted me in my Under Armor joggers and Jordan Jumpman hoodie.  :batterystyle:

You guys were all correct!   New battery replaced by my butler and it started up right away and humming like a champ!

Thanks for dropping the shop knowledge!

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37 minutes ago, belljr said:

10 - Optima Red Top  35- best battery to start you up on those cold days.  Around the country seen as a top battery for starting your engine

 

9 - Optima Yellow Top d34 - so close to being a red top but just falls short in starting you up when its really cold.  Her cold cranking amps just cant beat a red top.

 

8 - AC Delco professional - a really high quality battery. Locally amazing with its durability and appearence.

 

Im too lazy to do the whole thing :cool:

Went with the Die Hard Gold with 3 yr warranty.   Bruce Willis sold me.

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1 hour ago, offdee said:

Went with the Die Hard Gold with 3 yr warranty.   Bruce Willis sold me.

Did you do it yourself?

 

:mancard: 

Edited by Wrigley
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1 minute ago, Wrigley said:

Did you do it yourself 

 

:mancard: 

I don't know if changing a battery is mancard worthy....I guess you would revoke it if he didn't though :)

I mean now you are bringing toxic masculinity into this..... :P

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44 minutes ago, Wrigley said:

Did you do it yourself?

 

:mancard: 

I did it myself!  It wasn’t hard at all... 4 screws. That’s what she said. 

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@offdee, how old is your vehicle? Some aspects of your story in the OP make think of an alternator going bad. The car's alternator is supposed to power your car's electrical components via converted engine power after startup (thus sparing drain on the battery). A battery change will get you going but if the alternator really is bad, the new battery will wear out within a day.

Did you happen to notice if they tested voltage with the engine running after installing your new battery to make sure the alternator is running properly? Might be a line item on your receipt mentioning it if they did. If not, you can call them and ask.

EDIT: My bad -- I missed that you did the battery change yourself. Do you have a voltmeter, or can you get your hands on one? If not, could probably swing back by Advance and ask them to check it for you in the parking lot.

Edited by Doug B
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7 hours ago, offdee said:

I'm not exactly sure how old the battery is...maybe 3-4 yrs old?    If it was the battery, wouldn't a jump start give it some extra juice to just get it going or no?

Is it easy to replace the battery....just a couple of nuts I assume to get it out?  Then can take it in to a Batteries Plus to get a correct new one?

My wife's car battery died and we had to jump it.  Took 15-20 minutes of being hooked up to the other car before it would finally start.  When I changed the battery, the sticker said it was five years old.  As others have said, if the battery is old or bad, it doesn't jump very easily.

 

Edit to add: since this has been resolved, here my battery story.  I've changed many batteries in my day, and it is usually pretty easy.  Well, the last one I did was on an '08 Lexus ES.  They have a plastic shield over the top of the engine you have to remove to get to the battery.  It is held in place by a series of pins.  I can't figure out how to get them out, so I have to google that.  Once I have that figured out, I get to the battery.  The negative end is covered in corrosion, so I have to clean that off.  Try Coke, but there was too much, so then I make a baking soda paste.  That gets it off, but it was still hard as heck to get the nuts loosened. Finally get it all off, and bring the battery to OReilly.  Get the new battery and head home.  As I'm putting the battery back in, I drop one of the bolts into the engine compartment.  There are so many nooks and crannies, it doesn't even drop on the ground.  So, back to OReilly to get a replacement bolt.  Guy asks what kind of car and I tell him and he grabs what he says are the right ones, and back home I go.  Nope, too short.  Back to OReilly to tell him the issue.  He asks if I have the old ones so we can make sure we grab a longer set, and I don't want to tell him that I chucked them into my snow covered yard in frustration and just tell him I forgot.  Grab a new set and it works.  Sadly, three hours later, I am finally done.

Edited by Bull Dozier
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52 minutes ago, Doug B said:

@offdee, how old is your vehicle? Some aspects of your story in the OP make think of an alternator going bad. The car's alternator is supposed to power your car's electrical components via converted engine power after startup (thus sparing drain on the battery). A battery change will get you going but if the alternator really is bad, the new battery will wear out within a day.

Did you happen to notice if they tested voltage with the engine running after installing your new battery to make sure the alternator is running properly? Might be a line item on your receipt mentioning it if they did. If not, you can call them and ask.

EDIT: My bad -- I missed that you did the battery change yourself. Do you have a voltmeter, or can you get your hands on one? If not, could probably swing back by Advance and ask them to check it for you in the parking lot.

 

 

This is where you guys always lose me. Ive rebuilt the entire front clip on my Tahoe, replaced all the piping in a house, replaced the mother board on my furnace, replaced the solenoid on my refrigerator, crown molding, replaced fuel pumps, build computers, and about 100 more difficult jobs but you voltomoter/multimeter/electrician guys NEVER ever once have been able to dumb down your ohms and you voltage talk to get me to follow along. 

 

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50 minutes ago, Bull Dozier said:

My wife's car battery died and we had to jump it.  Took 15-20 minutes of being hooked up to the other car before it would finally start.  When I changed the battery, the sticker said it was five years old.  As others have said, if the battery is old or bad, it doesn't jump very easily.

 

Edit to add: since this has been resolved, here my battery story.  I've changed many batteries in my day, and it is usually pretty easy.  Well, the last one I did was on an '08 Lexus ES.  They have a plastic shield over the top of the engine you have to remove to get to the battery.  It is held in place by a series of pins.  I can't figure out how to get them out, so I have to google that.  Once I have that figured out, I get to the battery.  The negative end is covered in corrosion, so I have to clean that off.  Try Coke, but there was too much, so then I make a baking soda paste.  That gets it off, but it was still hard as heck to get the nuts loosened. Finally get it all off, and bring the battery to OReilly.  Get the new battery and head home.  As I'm putting the battery back in, I drop one of the bolts into the engine compartment.  There are so many nooks and crannies, it doesn't even drop on the ground.  So, back to OReilly to get a replacement bolt.  Guy asks what kind of car and I tell him and he grabs what he says are the right ones, and back home I go.  Nope, too short.  Back to OReilly to tell him the issue.  He asks if I have the old ones so we can make sure we grab a longer set, and I don't want to tell him that I chucked them into my snow covered yard in frustration and just tell him I forgot.  Grab a new set and it works.  Sadly, three hours later, I am finally done.

My batter is behind the passenger seat in the floor.  That was fun the first time looking for it

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1 hour ago, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

 

 

This is where you guys always lose me. Ive rebuilt the entire front clip on my Tahoe, replaced all the piping in a house, replaced the mother board on my furnace, replaced the solenoid on my refrigerator, crown molding, replaced fuel pumps, build computers, and about 100 more difficult jobs but you voltomoter/multimeter/electrician guys NEVER ever once have been able to dumb down your ohms and you voltage talk to get me to follow along. 

 

Set your meter to dc volts and put a probe on each terminal, look at display 

:oldunsure:

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9 hours ago, offdee said:

I'm not exactly sure how old the battery is...maybe 3-4 yrs old?    If it was the battery, wouldn't a jump start give it some extra juice to just get it going or no?

If the battery is cold and totally dead, it will likely need to be "pre charged" before you can try to jump it. Leave it hooked up to another battery for 15-20 minutes while the other car is running. Then try to start your car.

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If you have a block heater, plug it in. Cold batteries can lose over half their power in frigid conditions. It's been sub -40 where I live for the past few days and many cars have needed a boost.  Car guys tell me to turn off all gizmos (heat, radio, etc) before you start a cold engine so the battery can focus on one task.

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2 hours ago, Doug B said:

@offdee, how old is your vehicle? Some aspects of your story in the OP make think of an alternator going bad. The car's alternator is supposed to power your car's electrical components via converted engine power after startup (thus sparing drain on the battery). A battery change will get you going but if the alternator really is bad, the new battery will wear out within a day.

Did you happen to notice if they tested voltage with the engine running after installing your new battery to make sure the alternator is running properly? Might be a line item on your receipt mentioning it if they did. If not, you can call them and ask.

EDIT: My bad -- I missed that you did the battery change yourself. Do you have a voltmeter, or can you get your hands on one? If not, could probably swing back by Advance and ask them to check it for you in the parking lot.

This is a good point, it could still be the alternator and it could still be the starter too. 

I think they can test the alternator no problem, not sure if they can check if the starter is drawing too much.

I just went through this. Car wouldnt start. Replaced battery. Car started. I could see I had 14.4 volts when the car was running, even with everything on. 

Three days later car had trouble starting. So I had to replace the starter. Contacts in the solenoid were horribly pitted. The new battery was enough to overcome that for a few days. 

@offdee you can definitely get the voltage tested at an autozone, not sure if you can get the starter tested on the vehicle there. What vehicle is it? 

 

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1 hour ago, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

This is where you guys always lose me. Ive rebuilt the entire front clip on my Tahoe, replaced all the piping in a house, replaced the mother board on my furnace, replaced the solenoid on my refrigerator, crown molding, replaced fuel pumps, build computers, and about 100 more difficult jobs but you voltomoter/multimeter/electrician guys NEVER ever once have been able to dumb down your ohms and you voltage talk to get me to follow along. 

I'm far, far from an expert. Just been stuck with a dead alternator a few times and I'm kind of jittery about them.

The particular voltage test is shown in the 30-second video linked upthread. A lot of automotive electrical work is a PITA and should be professionally done, but testing battery and alternator voltage is dead simple if your battery is accessible.

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25 minutes ago, Donning of a New Age said:

It's been sub -40 where I live for the past few days and many cars have needed a boost.

(Man, I love New Orleans. Until hurricane season.)

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31 minutes ago, Cowboysfan8 said:

Set your meter to dc volts and put a probe on each terminal, look at display 

:oldunsure:

 

1 minute ago, Doug B said:

I'm far, far from an expert. Just been stuck with a dead alternator a few times and I'm kind of jittery about them.

The particular voltage test is shown in the 30-second video linked upthread. A lot of automotive electrical work is a PITA and should be professionally done, but testing battery and alternator voltage is dead simple if your battery is accessible.

 

OK, I was exaggerating a little on this one. I can see if something has power but that's about it. 

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16 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

This is a good point, it could still be the alternator and it could still be the starter too. 

I think they can test the alternator no problem, not sure if they can check if the starter is drawing too much.

Depends on how accessible the starter is in the engine compartment. If you can can get to it, you can test it similar to how you test the battery itself. If it's not accessible, a pro or someone who really knows what they're doing can remove the starter and bench-test it.

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8 minutes ago, Doug B said:

Depends on how accessible the starter is in the engine compartment. If you can can get to it, you can test it similar to how you test the battery itself. If it's not accessible, a pro or someone who really knows what they're doing can remove the starter and bench-test it.

Those tests are obviously going to be ok. His car is starting. So of course it has current at all the required places. I meant more along the lines of testing if it is drawing too much when it does start. I am not sure if autozone type places can do that. 

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29 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

Those tests are obviously going to be ok. His car is starting. So of course it has current at all the required places. I meant more along the lines of testing if it is drawing too much when it does start. I am not sure if autozone type places can do that. 

They can test for that, but I'd bet they'll expect you to walk up to the counter with your car's starter in hand. I've never felt comfortable stripping off parts, though I guess there's a YouTube video for everything.

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2 minutes ago, Doug B said:

They can test for that, but I'd bet they'll expect you to walk up to the counter with your car's starter in hand. I've never felt comfortable stripping off parts, though I guess there's a YouTube video for everything.

Starters can be a bear to get off. My pilot wasnt so bad. Had to put the socket on from underneath and then crank it from above, helpful tip I read online. 

My xterra was terrible though. That happened to me in similar conditions to offdee(below zero and stuck in driveway). I remember throwing tons of cardboard down and then putting dropcloths over the car and two electric space heaters under there too. 

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18 hours ago, belljr said:

I don't know if changing a battery is mancard worthy....I guess you would revoke it if he didn't though :)

I mean now you are bringing toxic masculinity into this..... :P

mancard 101

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  • 2 months later...

This is for an ATV, but couldn't find the Electrician thread, so this is as close as I could get...

I have an old hand-me-down ATV (99 Honda Fourtrax). I've purchased some LED lights to supplement the stock headlights which aren't very bright.   My question is... The kit came with a wiring harness, switch, etc., but can't I just splice into the existing headlights, where they'd all work off of the stock headlight switch? Or would that possibly overload the wiring for the stock headlights?

 

TIA

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4 hours ago, Nathan R. Jessep said:

This is for an ATV, but couldn't find the Electrician thread, so this is as close as I could get...

I have an old hand-me-down ATV (99 Honda Fourtrax). I've purchased some LED lights to supplement the stock headlights which aren't very bright.   My question is... The kit came with a wiring harness, switch, etc., but can't I just splice into the existing headlights, where they'd all work off of the stock headlight switch? Or would that possibly overload the wiring for the stock headlights?

 

TIA

Are there any inline fuses on it? 

Used to have a fourtrax circa 1990 Those things were bulletproof. We used to hunt rabbits at night in the desert and we had rigged some extra lights. That was pre-LED and had way more wattage. We pretty much never had to worry about rain though. 

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5 hours ago, Nathan R. Jessep said:

This is for an ATV, but couldn't find the Electrician thread, so this is as close as I could get...

I have an old hand-me-down ATV (99 Honda Fourtrax). I've purchased some LED lights to supplement the stock headlights which aren't very bright.   My question is... The kit came with a wiring harness, switch, etc., but can't I just splice into the existing headlights, where they'd all work off of the stock headlight switch? Or would that possibly overload the wiring for the stock headlights?

 

TIA

More than likely you'll be OK with adding LED's onto an incandescent circuit unless they are huge LED's.  The worst that should happen if you overload it is that you blow the headlight fuse, in which case a separate circuit or an added circuit with relay control from the first circuit would solve it.  If you want to be sure you could first locate the headlight fuse, note how many amps it is then add up the current headlights + the LED's to see if you're close.

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