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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday my wife called me and told me her car would not start it was just clicking. I figured the battery was dead or something. When I went to the car a few hours later I just started it up and drove home. The radio stations were all erased and the climate control defaulted to Celsius. So I check the battery terminals to see if she just has a loose connection but it looks good at the battery. So I let her drive the car last night and all was well. Until today when she went out and after she tried to get in the car to come home same thing happened. I am not sure what it could be. I guess I could have the battery load checked at Advance. But like I said it seemed strong when I started it. Is there another connection point for the battery that would cause the car to act like it is dead?
 

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Check your battery's negative cable, both ends, checking for corrosion on the lugs and under the wire insulation.
+1 There's several grounds to the chassis inside the engine bay. One is your negative battery terminal where it is attaches to the fender sheet metal, somewhere nearby. Just follow the cable to its terminated point. There will be a connector and a bolt holding it to the sheet metal. Usually a second ground from the engine to body sheet metal can be located on the other side of the engine bay. Looks exactly like the other one.

Car manufacturers are notorious for depending upon the grounding lug bolt's threads going "thru the hole in the inner fender's sheet metal." This portion of the factory install, AFTER it was painted by the robots. They seem to think the bolt's threads to the hole's exposed edges is sufficient enough to make for good ground contact. Not so.

I would find those lug connections and take the bolts out. File or scrape away the paint around the hole to expose bare metal. Reattach. If some scraped area is exposed, you can touch it up with a dab of something to protect the metal from rusting.

Hopefully, this closes the chapter on that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys everything looked ok so I took the battery to get tested and it was said to replace so got a new one under warranty it was only like 18 months old. Still had 12V but no cranking amps. But as a side note, my wife always leaves the headlight switch in the on position. And I keep telling her that she can leave it in the off position and the lights will still come on automatically. Is she draining the battery when she does this?
 

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Unless she leaves the lights on and they stay on for an extended time. That "might" cause premature failure, over time. Possibly, the alternator is getting older and not putting out enough voltage to maintain the battery. A meter can tell you that. But there is a new battery now, time will tell.

While you're under there installing that new battery, check those ground cable connections. Winter is coming! Phooey, it's already here! :frozen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
alt is good puts out 14v I need to check those grounds like you said. I am terrible at finding electrical drains in cars. Might need to take a class on just that.
 

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alt is good puts out 14v I need to check those grounds like you said. I am terrible at finding electrical drains in cars. Might need to take a class on just that.
Or hand the tools to the Mrs. and tell her, "It's your fault the battery went bad. I told you not leave those lights on. Now, get out there and fix that mess."

Then report back when you're able to see and speak and let us know how that worked out for you. :wink2:
 

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But as a side note, my wife always leaves the headlight switch in the on position. this?
I always do this as well. Even with my old battery, that never caused an issue at all sitting for days in sub zero temps. I believe the manual even mentions this feature and that doing so is fine.
 

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After seeing the age of your car, I would most definately check ALL connections for good contact. Follow them everywhere, there are grounds that are hidden. A shop manual would help, it would show where they are located. If you have a ohm meter, you can visually check them before and after cleaning. Keep an eye on the alternator, it is reaching the end of it's life. Now another thing. The next time it does this, wait until dark, then turn on the headlights. Are they on? Are they bright? If so, the main cables to other power sources and grounds are probably okay. Now turn the key to start. Do the headlights remain bright? Or do they go way dim? If the lights remain bright, look at the starter, and the starter connections. If they go dim, it is the battery, or main connections for the battery. The starter is down low in front, and subject to all kinds of bad stuff. Even if the starter is not suspect, remove and clean those connections anyway. They are just as important as the battery connections. I would clean all the possible affected connections with a piece of sandpaper, or small wire brush anyway regardless. Don't get carried away, just clean the area that contacts. If the bolts are rusted, REPLACE THE BOLTS. I like to cover the contacts with dielectric silicone too.
Speaking of winter, it's been 10 to 15 degrees here the last few days with a 0 or so wind chill. Gotta love Wisconsin eh?
 
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