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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Technical Discussion > Maintenance, Engine & Driveline Tech

Maintenance, Engine & Driveline Tech This forum is brought to you by The Speed Syndicate (TSS) in Burnaby.
Discussion of maintaining your engine, transmission, differentails, rear ends, and mods associated with "driveline" parts..

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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possible dying battery?

I have a '97 Acura Integra GSR. Over the past few months - I had this happen to me twice, where I would unlock my car with my alarm - put the key in, and the car just goes dead. Literally - no lights on, no power whatsoever. I would give it a few minutes, and then it would come back on no problem - but I noticed the clock and radio presets have been reset - so obviously power was gone to everything.

Last night - I get into my car, no problems starting up - but I noticed again the clock and radio presets were all reset - so it must've lost power some time before I got in.

Does anybody know if this is a sign of my battery dying? I bought the car second-hand off my friend - In the 4 years I've had the car, the battery has never been changed - but I have to check with my friend if he has ever changed it.

Thanks for any help
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:55 PM   #2
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There are several variables in this situation.

1. The battery is dead/cannot hold a charge anymore.
2. The alternator is no longer charging the battery.
3. There is some kind of parasitic drain (unlikely based on description but not to be ruled out.)

Best way to find out is to bring your car to a shop and have it load tested. You can narrow down the issues a lot faster this way rather than troubleshoot based on process of elimination. I'm certain that I'm missing several pieces of the puzzle here so perhaps some professionals can chime in on this. Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:01 PM   #3
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Thanks. I guess I better start carrying jump cables with me.

Just gotta find a place close to work I guess...
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:16 PM   #4
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Or get a jumper pack. Canadian tire had some on sale for $50. Then again, a used battery from an auto recycler runs about $35+taxes+enviro fees.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:35 PM   #5
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Or get a jumper pack. Canadian tire had some on sale for $50. Then again, a used battery from an auto recycler runs about $35+taxes+enviro fees.
you don't think it's worth it to get a new battery?
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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you don't think it's worth it to get a new battery?
Well a new battery runs about $130 with taxes and fees. A used battery has at least 4 months warranty. Some of the batteries I bought from the wreckers were only a few months old, just gotta pick and choose. Yours lasted 4 years it seems.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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does your car make any noises when you try to start? i had a similar issue with my last civic and after replacing my starter i was good to go...maybe try out a starter? i got mine for $15 so it was a cheap attempt at fixing...is you battery old?
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:24 PM   #8
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It's best to take your car in to a shop for a load test as soon as you can. It takes several minutes and most shops do them for free, if not, a few bucks. The last thing you want is for your alternator to over-work itself into keeping a dead battery alive.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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if the battery is dead and none of the lights come on/radio resets etc but then after a bit the lights come back on etc then its possible a battery terminal is loose or really corroded. loose terminals create a large voltage drop, when you try to start the car theres a demand for lots of amps which can't pass through the loose terminal. sorrry if this doesn't make sense, i'm having a hard time explaining stuff! long day.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:56 AM   #10
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That could be 100% be your problem, same problem on my car. Put in some new terminals and voila, instant crank shouldn't be more than $12 at your local Lordco
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:53 AM   #11
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Yup, if when the car actually cranks and starts it does so at a normal speed (not lugging/cranking slow), it's more than likely a connection issue. The battery obviously has enough juice to start the car, it's just not "connected" 100% of the time.

Give the terminals a good twist and tug on the cables. Also inspect the bare wires for corrosion.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll check it at lunch.

I've never encountered times when my car was actually HARD to start - like struggling to start - except when I'm really low on gas, it usually takes a second longer to start up.

I'll probably go do a load test at a shop anyways, but it does make sense that it would be a connection issue - because my battery seems fine otherwise - I've done work on the car and left the radio on for 30 minutes 2 weeks ago and didn't have any problems.

Thanks guys!
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:07 PM   #13
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sooooooo.....

The positive terminal just came RIGHT off - like it wasn't even tightened or something... hahaha

Tightened it on - hopefully it fixes it.

Thanks for all the suggestions guys!! I appreciate it!
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:38 PM   #14
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An easy way to test whether your Alternator is ok: First loosen the Negative Terminal on battery (it should slip on and off the battery post). Start the car, it should be running when you do this next step. Disconnect the Negative by holding onto the Negative ground lead casing (hold on to the plastic wire casing, not the metal, to avoid shock).

Now you've got the Negative disconnected, tuck it out of the way. The car is still running. If the car dies in under 10 seconds, your Alternator is bad. If the car keeps running for 1-2 minutes, your Alternator is good. Shut off the car and reconnect your terminals firmly but not overtight.
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