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Old 08-13-2013, 06:10 PM
 
3,557 posts, read 3,301,174 times
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So my DW might have left an interior light on in her car for a week while we were on vacation. Jumped it once but apparently it didn't charge enough because I had to jump it again. Drove for an hour and it still won't restart. Is it likely the long period of time completely destroyed the battery? Also, when you turn off the ignition, the gauges move up and down just a bit and make an odd, straining like noise.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:16 PM
 
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Usually once a battery is drained, it's never the same.

Jump the battery and head to autozone and have them perform a charging system test and load test the battery. If its older (5 years or so) it may be weak and time for a new one.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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How old is this car? Could be the alternator is done.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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Ugh. First off, the charging system in a vehicle is intended to recover the charge lost from a normal start with a healthy battery. Trying to force it into Charging a low/dead battery is just asking to force other components into failure. Please, for the sake of your pocketbook, don't do that.

And I've dealt with a LOT of "dead" batteries since I make my living off buying and fixing old, neglected motorcycles. I handle dozens of "dead" batteries every year. When a battery is good, you couldn't tell the difference between one that had been fully discharged (for a week or a year) and a brand new one. The key is having a good charger, I'm partial to Noco brand though the Ctek units are good as well ~ they Really do recondition discharged batteries.

As for what to do now, get the battery on a charger (preferably a 2~3amp/hour unit) and wait for it to charge. If it's not done overnight then the battery is probably trash. If it's charged, try and start the car ~ if it starts go one step further and check the voltage across the terminals while starting the car. If it dips below 11vdc, get the system tested. Let the car sit overnight and repeat the starting test with voltmeter.

Chances are good that the battery is fine and will finish out the 5~7 years they normally live.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
get the battery on a charger (preferably a 2~3amp/hour unit)
What is a "a 2~3amp/hour unit"?
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:37 PM
 
3,557 posts, read 3,301,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
How old is this car? Could be the alternator is done.
11 years. I honestly don't know how old the battery is. She's had the car for 6 years and isn't sure if she's replaced the battery.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,393 posts, read 42,738,435 times
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If this is an "open" battery you can add water to, you can get a cheap simple 5-ball hygrometer at any auto parts store, and check each cell. If you get one cell with only 1 or 2 balls floating, there is your answer - battery is done.

Also what Brian M said - driving the car around is not how you charge a battery. Get yourself a good "smart" charger, I personally like the Battery Tender. Let it work on the battery overnight, if it is "satisfied" in the AM probably it has resurrected the battery. If not, use it to "initialize" the new battery you will be putting in the car.

Depending on what region you live in and how you have used and stored the car, that battery might have lived out it's normal service life. Neglected, a battery is hard pressed to go more than 6 years.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:52 PM
 
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What is a good way to gauge if it is the battery vs. starter vs. alternator? When it won't start, the power locks won't work either, and the dash gauges flicker.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
15,174 posts, read 15,218,690 times
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You jumped your car to start it.

Too bad the alternator was working it's a** off to fully recharge the battery.........you fried your diodes in the process.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Ft. Myers
15,595 posts, read 9,664,364 times
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Very simple, jump it and drive down to your nearest Advance Auto or Autozone. They will come out to the parking lot and put their tester on it and tell you what is what. That service is free.

Here in Florida we normally get 2-3 years out of a battery, the heat down here kills them. I just took a 2 year old one back to Advance because it wouldn't hold a charge. It had a 3 year warranty so they handed me a brand new battery.

There will be a little sticker on the side of your battery that will tell you the age of it. My guess is that you need a new one.

Don
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