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Old Yesterday, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Elgin, IL
592 posts, read 421,894 times
Reputation: 332

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UPDATE: So jumped the Jetta yesterday afternoon, ran fine. Took it to the shop and they ran some diagnostics on the battery and alternator. Both tested fine (even good I'd say based on the readings). The shop guy (pretty trustworthy) said neither needed replacing at the moment, but a battery charge kit would be good to have handy. Well he was right unfortunately.

This morning come out to start the Jetta, it's dead AGAIN! So I had to jump it again (frustrating). It runs completely fine and within seconds of being jumped it starts right up. Not sure how a completely good battery and alternator just die overnight with a car out in the cold. Maybe I need to keep it in the garage? IDK, I'm thinking of getting a battery charge kit to have it charge overnight from now on. Not sure what to do. Just strange. Only thing I can attribute it to is that the vw does have a lot of sensors which tend to run constantly (like the car alarm sensor - which always goes off when it gets jumped). Maybe those are draining the battery in the cold 20 degree temps overnight...?
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Old Yesterday, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,535 posts, read 1,201,448 times
Reputation: 4770
I once had a Dodge Intrepid that ran fine until it was parked, pending sale. The original battery, at about three years, died almost immediately - would not hold a charge for more than a day. The replacement died in two weeks. The third (free under warranty on the second) held up just long enough for us to give up on trying to sell it and donate it to a charity. When I checked, something was kicking in and drawing about an amp - some sensor, circuit, hidden bulb, whatever. Between that and perpetually sticky power windows (a bad design for those years) we just gave up on trying to find a buyer.

I can't see where you've said the age of the two batteries, but really truly honest... just replace both and see what happens. If they're over about 3-4 years old, I bet one wooden nickel it solves the problems, all quick shop tests notwithstanding. Even if one is newer, batteries do go bad for strange reasons. If both cars are keepers for a year or more, it's an investment and peace of mind purchase with no real downside; even if the core of the problem lies elsewhere, both units are compromised and no longer trustworthy.
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Old Yesterday, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
2,871 posts, read 755,968 times
Reputation: 2355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kluch View Post
UPDATE: So jumped the Jetta yesterday afternoon, ran fine. Took it to the shop and they ran some diagnostics on the battery and alternator. Both tested fine (even good I'd say based on the readings). The shop guy (pretty trustworthy) said neither needed replacing at the moment, but a battery charge kit would be good to have handy. Well he was right unfortunately.

This morning come out to start the Jetta, it's dead AGAIN! So I had to jump it again (frustrating). It runs completely fine and within seconds of being jumped it starts right up. Not sure how a completely good battery and alternator just die overnight with a car out in the cold. Maybe I need to keep it in the garage? IDK, I'm thinking of getting a battery charge kit to have it charge overnight from now on. Not sure what to do. Just strange. Only thing I can attribute it to is that the vw does have a lot of sensors which tend to run constantly (like the car alarm sensor - which always goes off when it gets jumped). Maybe those are draining the battery in the cold 20 degree temps overnight...?
I would find a different repair facility because apparently they were wrong so that guy wasn’t so trustworthy in this case. Find a automotive garage that only does electrical work or the dealer.
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Old Yesterday, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,535 posts, read 1,201,448 times
Reputation: 4770
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy62 View Post
I would find a different repair facility because apparently they were wrong so that guy wasn’t so trustworthy in this case. Find a automotive garage that only does electrical work or the dealer.
Just because it's all too complicated for you doesn't mean it's too hard for anyone else.
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Old Yesterday, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
2,871 posts, read 755,968 times
Reputation: 2355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
Just because it's all too complicated for you doesn't mean it's too hard for anyone else.
Well apparently the guy that said thers no problem and then had to jump start again in the morning missed something because apparently there is something wrong. So how many chances you going to give him before you take it to somebody that knows what they are doing. It’s not to complicated for me because i would of taken it to someone who knows my vehicle not someone who knows works on every vehicle out there. That’s how you get things done right the first time.
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Old Yesterday, 02:51 PM
Status: "Failing to just lurk" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Massachusetts
8,875 posts, read 9,117,917 times
Reputation: 12350
If this was my car, what I would do here is unhook one terminal on the battery and hook a digital multimeter up in series with the meter set to read DC amps. Make sure you use a meter with a range of up to 10AMPs of current.

I'd be curious to see what sort of current draw you'd see at rest. Possible you have a drain somewhere
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Old Today, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Elgin, IL
592 posts, read 421,894 times
Reputation: 332
So here's what I don't get. Even this morning I had to jump it. There was still enough power to unlock it and use some functions, turn on lights, etc but not enough power to get the engine to turn over. I had the battery tested a third time (not the same shop) and they confirmed it was indeed a good battery (ran multiple tests on it). Something is causing it to drain in the cold. That's the only explanation I have. Because after it runs for a little while it will still start no problem after turning it off (like I could drive it to work yesterday and start it up hours later no problem), but after a full night of sitting in cold temps it needs a jump. I just don't know what could be causing the battery drainage.
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Old Today, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
7,162 posts, read 5,325,236 times
Reputation: 9754
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kluch View Post
So here's what I don't get. Even this morning I had to jump it. There was still enough power to unlock it and use some functions, turn on lights, etc but not enough power to get the engine to turn over. I had the battery tested a third time (not the same shop) and they confirmed it was indeed a good battery (ran multiple tests on it). Something is causing it to drain in the cold. That's the only explanation I have. Because after it runs for a little while it will still start no problem after turning it off (like I could drive it to work yesterday and start it up hours later no problem), but after a full night of sitting in cold temps it needs a jump. I just don't know what could be causing the battery drainage.
How old is the battery?

What do the terminals look like, and the wires/leads attached to them?
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Old Today, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,482 posts, read 43,043,899 times
Reputation: 11638
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
If this was my car, what I would do here is unhook one terminal on the battery and hook a digital multimeter up in series with the meter set to read DC amps. Make sure you use a meter with a range of up to 10AMPs of current.

I'd be curious to see what sort of current draw you'd see at rest. Possible you have a drain somewhere

Good call. If you don't have and don't want to spring for a VOM, even a test light might give you some indication of the drain. I would try a test light before the VOM anyway, if the drain is enough to light that light up bright, it is probably too much to subject most VOM meters to. Don't let the smoke out of the meter or it won't work anymore. A VOM with 10 amp capability is going to be a relatively expensive professional tool, the meters you see at O'Reily's and etc. are only good for a few milliamps.



To repeat myself, if the starter brushes are getting near worn out, you can have a starter that will work in warm conditions, and will work in the cold with the 13-14 V you have from a jump start, but won't work at the 12V and change you get from just the battery. I had this happen on my Subie, a new starter solved the problem.
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Old Today, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,535 posts, read 1,201,448 times
Reputation: 4770
You can get a decent multimeter for free at Harbor Freight, with the coupon. I have about six in strategic tool sets, so I don't have to dig out my good (electronics design) gear to make simple system tests.

Checking the three voltages (engine off, engine running, cranking) can tell you more about a primary electrical system than almost anything else.
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