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Discussion Starter #1
My ex-GF's vehicle has been having a problem that is occurring more and more frequently.

The car basically struggles to crank. Today it failed to completely start. It took multiple tries at turning the key to get it kick and each time the car would chug until it started.

About a month ago, the dealership said she needed a new battery when she took her car in for an oil change. They told her at that time that they found the car to take longer than normal to crank and wanted to charge $80 for a battery, sale price (normally $150 at dealership). She declined at the time.

When I used the car since then it cranked fine, about a good 3-4 seconds. We had the battery tested at discount auto and they found the battery to work fine and out-put more than enough cranking amps.

Last week she was away for a few days and had the car sit untouched. But when she came back she went on a small 100+mile road trip with the car and it ran fine. And when she came back from that, she took the car to do some errands around town. Today, the car took much longer than usual to fully start.


I don't think it's the battery. Possibly something with ignition. Engine turns over, so it is getting adequate power from the battery to the starter. Engine doesn't mis-fire. No engine-lights on the dashboard, nothing.

Any ideas?
 

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I would have the battery checked again at a different location. Sounds like it is dying to me. The issue is that if it is dying, it puts a lot more strain on the alternator, which could then take that out earlier as well.
Don't delay in having it checked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's the weird part. I'm not there, but from what shes telling me, once it started, it behaved normally after that. The car would crank fine while she was doing her errands today.

I'll check the battery with a multi-meter. What voltage should I expect? 13-14V? What about amps? How can I check that with my cheap multimeter?

I figured, if it was the battery, then wouldn't the problem be consistent? but then if it was an ignition problem, then it would also be consistent.

Anywho, she will take it to the dealership tomorrow I think. Tonight I'll check the battery out.
 

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Have dealer test with GR8 tester and print it.. remove negative cable from body there beside battery and grind paint to bare metal so lug sit on bare steel (paint is an insulator,, NOT an conductor)...

Production date, figure a month more for battery age, after 3 yr in most case, battery life is crap shoot.

Listen when key turned to crank... is it cranking, or just starter motor hummmm..... plastic fork in starter motor been breaking, not move starter drive gear out to flywheel to rotate engine to fire up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
She bought the car December 2010... I haven't had a chance to look at it after work. She is going to the dealership tomorrow.
 

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Checking the voltage with a multi meter only proves the charging system is working properly (should be over 14V with the car running).

Take it to Auto Zone or another such place and have the battery load tested. I am betting the battery needs replacing. All the symptoms the way you describe them are indicative of that happening (been there............done that ).
 

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That happened to me too. It would have a tough time starting, but once started and driven for 20 minutes, it was fine for the rest of the day unless it say for more than 6 hours.

At one point it would act like nothing and then suddenly start after about 3 slow cranks. Had the battery checked, but because it was checked after having been driven, it checked out fine. Replaced the battery anyway, problem solved.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As I suspected, the battery is perfectly fine and not the source of the problem.

When I took a gander at it, I noticed the cables connected to the battery worked themselves too loose, which explains the sporadic behavior.

I tightened them up and no problems whatsoever.
 

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sneaky dealership... figured "woman driver" instead of fixing the issue, let's make it a problem and have her pay for it.
 

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I was going to suggest you make sure the battery terminals are tight and the posts are clean, until I got to your final post. If you don't have a good electrical connection, you can't get as many amps through that bad connection to turn the engine over.
 
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