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Old 01-29-09, 09:50 PM   #1
SPIDERone
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Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Taking it into the shop next week, but was hoping to maybe get an idea of what the problem might be.

My 3 year old battery worked fine until about 2 months ago, then it just suddenly died - jump start brought it back, drove it around and then parked it, then it was dead again the next time I tried to run it (later that day).

Went and got a new battery, worked fine then about 3 weeks later it was dead after letting it sit for 2 days. Jumped it, worked fine for another 2 weeks and then tonight it's dead again.

I don't think it's the battery (since this is a new one) - the dash lights come on, but they're dimmed. I know I didn't leave any lights on that could have drained the battery either.

Any idea what the problem might be? After I jumpstart it, it works great for a few weeks. I drove it earlier today for about 30 minutes without a problem, but tonight it's dead.

EDIT: And the part that I hate to ask - if you have an idea of what it might be, could you also estimate what the repaid cost would be for such a part?
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Old 01-29-09, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Something is draining your battery - possible bad wiring. I'll leave it to Old Dude which he's pretty expert on those thingy.
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Old 01-29-09, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Could be an alternator. Don't know much about cars but I have has one go bad before and it sounds like the same thing that happened to me.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Definitely sounds like your alternator is bad.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:04 PM   #5
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

I vote the alternator is not charging your battery as well.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:12 PM   #6
SPIDERone
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Thanks everyone - might take it in tomorrow and hopefully have it fixed before the weekend is over. Should a jumpstart be able to keep the car running for a few weeks if the alternator is bad? And would it be normal for it to go from working fine (this morning) to completely dead (tonight) if thats the problem?
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Old 01-29-09, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

This is classic alternator problem. Alternator replacement cost would depend our your car manufacturer, model and year. Refirb alternator in my area usually runs ~$50 for my 01 chevy. If someone else were to do it, then the cost in my area would run you $200-$300 depending on manufacturer, model and year.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:20 PM   #8
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Originally Posted by SPIDERone View Post
Thanks everyone - might take it in tomorrow and hopefully have it fixed before the weekend is over. Should a jumpstart be able to keep the car running for a few weeks if the alternator is bad? And would it be normal for it to go from working fine (this morning) to completely dead (tonight) if thats the problem?
If it almost definitely the alternator. You can actually change it yourself if you'd like. It only takes a little bit of time, and would save you quite a bit of money.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:36 PM   #9
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

^not too many people are mechanically inclined here.

another vote for alternator.

another prob may be an open circuit somewhere.

what car? any aftermarket products installed? stereo?
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Old 01-29-09, 10:53 PM   #10
SPIDERone
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

1987 BMW 325 / San Diego area.

I'm not too comfortable installing it myself since I know absolutely nothing about cars - had to check with a gas station to find out where the different fluids each went, and had a hard enough time just changing the battery out.

I have a good mechanic down here who is pretty honest about repairs/times/prices.. About how long should I expect labor to be? I've heard it's not a very long process but some shops charge labor for 3-4 hours for the job.
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Old 01-29-09, 11:52 PM   #11
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

It's your alternator!@~!
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Old 01-30-09, 12:30 AM   #12
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Well I agree with the others but I had a Mustang do the same and it was that the battery terminals were nasty so I took a wire brush and cleaned it and the battery as well and never had a problem/ But if that area looks clean then it the alternator.
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Old 01-30-09, 06:07 AM   #13
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Originally Posted by SPIDERone View Post
1987 BMW 325
Well there's your problem, it's not a Toyota. If it were you wouldn't need a battery or an alternator, or even an engine. Toyota's run on Hope and Change.


I'll agree it does sound like the alternator, though I had a Dodge Shadow (I know, no way I should compare a Shadow and BMW) where the computer went bad and made it so the alternator wouldn't charge the battery even though both the battery and alternator were good. Think I replaced the stupid computer a couple of times.

Last edited by Nifty03; 01-30-09 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 01-30-09, 07:34 AM   #14
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Originally Posted by Nifty03 View Post
Well there's your problem, it's not a Toyota. If it were you wouldn't need a battery or an alternator, or even an engine. Toyota's run on Hope and Change.


I'll agree it does sound like the alternator, though I had a Dodge Shadow (I know, no way I should compare a Shadow and BMW) where the computer went bad and made it so the alternator wouldn't charge the battery even though both the battery and alternator were good. Think I replaced the stupid computer a couple of times.

God I hate toyotas. They might run forever but the are such cookie cutter cars.
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Old 01-30-09, 07:36 AM   #15
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry C. View Post
God I hate toyotas. They might run forever but the are such cookie cutter cars.
Are you in the right place? The only correct answer to every automotive question in otter is "you should get a Honda or Toyota."
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Old 01-30-09, 07:54 AM   #16
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Are you in the right place? The only correct answer to every automotive question in otter is "you should get a Honda or Toyota."
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Old 01-30-09, 09:20 AM   #17
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Are you in the right place? The only correct answer to every automotive question in otter is "you should get a Honda or Toyota."
But is there room for my 18" penis, and enough storage for all my money, per the otter requirements?
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Old 01-30-09, 09:29 AM   #18
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Originally Posted by starman9000 View Post
Are you in the right place? The only correct answer to every automotive question in otter is "you should get a Honda or Toyota."
This is null and void when the car is a BMW.
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Old 01-30-09, 10:22 AM   #19
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:rolleyes:

OP should have gotten a Toyota.

It's your own damn fault your car sucks!!!
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Old 01-30-09, 10:37 AM   #20
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

The alternator is most likely, but if you have a volt meter, it would be easy to do a quick check on it. I am not sure what voltage BMWs put out, but if it is about 14v with the engine running, then it might not be the alternator. If it is 12V or less with the engine running, then it most likely is the alternator.

Could also be dirty connections between the alternator, the battery, the starter, and the ground.


Could also be what they call 'dark power' and something is draining the battery that is not suppose to. Usually after market alarm systems are the big culprit here.

I have known people with cars that did this and never found a resolution to the problem short of trade in

Drive a Honda or a Toyota if you want a statistically lower probability of problems over 7 years/100,000 miles. If you want "style" "soul" and to define the size of your penis, drive something else
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Old 01-30-09, 10:47 AM   #21
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

It takes less than ten minutes to change an alternator, but I guarantee any mechanic will charge you at least two hours labor.
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Old 01-30-09, 11:45 AM   #22
Nifty03
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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If you want "style" "soul" and to define the size of your penis, drive something else
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Old 01-30-09, 11:59 AM   #23
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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It takes less than ten minutes to change an alternator, but I guarantee any mechanic will charge you at least two hours labor.
depends which book he looks in, some say to charge 3 hours worth
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Old 01-30-09, 12:20 PM   #24
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

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Originally Posted by Larry C. View Post
God I hate toyotas. They might run forever but the are such cookie cutter cars.
Style over substance, eh?
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Old 01-30-09, 01:19 PM   #25
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Re: Car battery dies every few weeks - why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
The alternator is most likely, but if you have a volt meter, it would be easy to do a quick check on it. I am not sure what voltage BMWs put out, but if it is about 14v with the engine running, then it might not be the alternator. If it is 12V or less with the engine running, then it most likely is the alternator.

Could also be dirty connections between the alternator, the battery, the starter, and the ground.


Could also be what they call 'dark power' and something is draining the battery that is not suppose to. Usually after market alarm systems are the big culprit here.

I have known people with cars that did this and never found a resolution to the problem short of trade in

Drive a Honda or a Toyota if you want a statistically lower probability of problems over 7 years/100,000 miles. If you want "style" "soul" and to define the size of your penis, drive something else
my parents one of those dark power culprits in their car. every month or two, the car just would not start, charged the battery, and it started fine. the mechanic said that the interior light (the light that turns on when you open the door, and some other stuff) was draining power. he said that he could either disconnect them to go cheap, or to replace them, but it'd cost a bit more, and we just had him disconnect it.

With regards to Toyota/Honda, they're really, for the most part, the best bang for the buck, and the most reliable, but statistically speaking, but when it comes down to it, people have different priorities when buying a car. Perhaps they want something more stylish. Perhaps, something a little more fun to drive. Perhaps something that suits their character better. Or perhaps it's out of a patriotic sense (even though many Toyotas are made in the states). Or it could be a myriad of other reasons.
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