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379 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 151224 18-Aug-2014 12:10
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Hi all,

last week-end I got the car out for a wash, and 2hrs later it did not start anymore. Well, I said to myself, this is what batteries do... they just die with no warning. Bad luck. When I checked the water in the battery, some was missing and to my surprise, I needed 1L to bring the level where it was supposed to be (I used demineralized water). There were no leaks from the battery, something else might have happened. Doesn't matter anymore. I started the car using the other car, let it run for 30min, then everything was good. It then started OK every morning to go to work and every evening to come back home (approx. 30min drive each way).

Next week-end (yesterday) the car was not used at all and Monday morning did not start anymore. Water level was OK. I needed one of those AA rescue vans to come at home and start my car so I can (finally) go to work. They also run a diagnostic and the recommendation was to have the battery charged by an auto shop on one of their large capacity battery chargers.

Here is the point of this post: I was under the impression that the car's charging system is more than capable to charge the battery without any help from outside, but the AA technician told me that this is OK for "normal use". In this instance the battery went completely flat, and the charging system CANNOT re-charge the battery from that state and this is why the need for a larger charger. The car's charging system can re-charge the battery to compensate for normal use (start-ups, listening to radio in the car park for 2 hrs, stuff like that) but if the battery goes flat then you can start it with another battery, but it needs to be charged on a separate (larger) charger in order to regain its full charge.

I do not want to question what the AA guy advised, but... does this makes sense?

The car is now with an auto shop close to where I work and when I go there to collect it at 5 p.m. they will also do a "load test" to assess how well the battery performs. Only after that I can make a decision if I need a new battery or not. Is this how it goes? I was under the belief that once the battery stops retaining the charge, you need a new one...


[Mod Edit |BH| Moved to correct forum]




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  Reply # 1110406 18-Aug-2014 12:18
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How much are you paying the Auto shop? I would have just bought a new battery and be done with it.
In my experience, once a battery is completely discharged (and old), throw it out and get a new one. Not having a trustworthy battery is a PITA.



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  Reply # 1110412 18-Aug-2014 12:27
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the shop will charge me $15 to leave it on the charger the whole day and then carry out a load test.
Not too much I would say, I believe it is worth a $15 test before deciding to fork out $170 on a new battery... ?




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  Reply # 1110415 18-Aug-2014 12:31
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or you could go to your friendly roadside / down the road mechanic and get one for $100-$125ish 

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  Reply # 1110429 18-Aug-2014 12:51
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How old is the battery? After about 5 years any testing just confirms that you should replace it.

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  Reply # 1110453 18-Aug-2014 13:21
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aucklander: Hi all,

last week-end I got the car out for a wash, and 2hrs later it did not start anymore. Well, I said to myself, this is what batteries do... they just die with no warning. Bad luck. When I checked the water in the battery, some was missing and to my surprise, I needed 1L to bring the level where it was supposed to be (I used demineralized water). There were no leaks from the battery, something else might have happened. Doesn't matter anymore. I started the car using the other car, let it run for 30min, then everything was good. It then started OK every morning to go to work and every evening to come back home (approx. 30min drive each way).

Next week-end (yesterday) the car was not used at all and Monday morning did not start anymore. Water level was OK. I needed one of those AA rescue vans to come at home and start my car so I can (finally) go to work. They also run a diagnostic and the recommendation was to have the battery charged by an auto shop on one of their large capacity battery chargers.

Here is the point of this post: I was under the impression that the car's charging system is more than capable to charge the battery without any help from outside, but the AA technician told me that this is OK for "normal use". In this instance the battery went completely flat, and the charging system CANNOT re-charge the battery from that state and this is why the need for a larger charger. The car's charging system can re-charge the battery to compensate for normal use (start-ups, listening to radio in the car park for 2 hrs, stuff like that) but if the battery goes flat then you can start it with another battery, but it needs to be charged on a separate (larger) charger in order to regain its full charge.

I do not want to question what the AA guy advised, but... does this makes sense?

The car is now with an auto shop close to where I work and when I go there to collect it at 5 p.m. they will also do a "load test" to assess how well the battery performs. Only after that I can make a decision if I need a new battery or not. Is this how it goes? I was under the belief that once the battery stops retaining the charge, you need a new one...


Depends on how long the engine will be running for after you jump start it. To be safe you would want at least 1 hour of engine running to fully recharge the battery. (or to at least bring it up to 80% or so) And that is with headlights, aircon and other big power users switched off. The other risk is if you completely drain down a newish battery and then jump start and drive the car You might burn out your alternator. This is because a discharged but still good condition battery can soak up alot of current when being recharged. If you get your car jump started best is to leave the engine idling for 1/2 an hour or so first. With unnecessary loads switched off of course. As the low engine speed will limit the alternator output. And if you have to drive immediately try to keep engine speed low.

The other issue is some modern cars use active management of the alternator output voltage as a means of improving fuel economy. On these cars you will definitely need to recharge the battery fully first. And same on those cars that automaticly stop and restart the engine to save fuel.

So my guess is that some at least of what the AA guy said was butt covering.

gzt

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  Reply # 1110464 18-Aug-2014 13:39
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The battery may or may not come back up. If it does I would not want to rely on this battery. If you are comfortable with the increased risk of future failure at really inconvenient times then continue to use it.



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  Reply # 1110468 18-Aug-2014 13:47
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OK, thank you all for the input, the overall idea is to replace the battery... so I will start looking straight away.





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gzt

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  Reply # 1110470 18-Aug-2014 13:51
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sep11guy: or you could go to your friendly roadside / down the road mechanic and get one for $100-$125ish

No details are given about the vehicle or model or type of battery specified/desired so I'm not sure how you can guess that.

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  Reply # 1110477 18-Aug-2014 13:59
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If the plates aren't damanged because of lack of a whole 1L of water... that battery is passed its useful life.

You could get it bulked charged, tested, put on an anti sulphate charge and even recycle it with new electrolyte but in all honesty - if it's failed once without the lights or anything else on, throw it (recycle it) and get a new one.

After 5 years they will usually crap out in a good frost after a few weeks of winter.

Perhaps you might be wise to go for a sealed type, maintenance free :o) But the are more expensive.

What water did you top it up with? Chlorinated tap water with fluoride, lime, aluminium sulphate and all? Definately get a new battery. They should only be topped up with distilled water.

A new one should solve the problem, unless a phase or two of your alternator is dead and charging is sub standard. But usually it's the battery.

I'd save my $15 and get a new excide $130 battery and maintain it.

Cheers.



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  Reply # 1110548 18-Aug-2014 14:55
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AA refund the battery test charge if your battery turns out to be not good and if you buy a new one from them.

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  Reply # 1110573 18-Aug-2014 15:29
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dacraka: AA refund the battery test charge if your battery turns out to be not good and if you buy a new one from them.

...at highly inflated prices.  

Have a ring around a few garages, or tyre shops often carry them as well.  Repco or super-cheap for a do-it -yourselfer.   Just replaced one myself and actually found the best deal (better quality battery as well) from my local garage.  5 year guarantee to boot.      




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  Reply # 1110599 18-Aug-2014 16:00
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Lot of batteries come with only 2 yr warranty now, which is generally EOL... if you can get a 5yr one, grab it. Obviously expect to pay a slightly higher price tho.





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  Reply # 1110610 18-Aug-2014 16:14
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The Warehouse have some of the Exide range at good prices.

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  Reply # 1110612 18-Aug-2014 16:16
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If you go the DIY route, make sure the terminals are at the ends you need them incase your cables on the car are a little on the short side and that they are the same diameter. Some connectors have little room for adjustment for smaller terminals.

Bigger batteries doesn't mean bigger terminals either. I bought a larger (11 cell I think it is) battery when I replaced my smaller 7-9 cell one. However the terminals where a bit smaller and the orginal plated connectors on the car wouldn't tighen adequately enough. So I replaced the connectors with new brass ones which also solves corrosion problems with cheap plated connectors coming in contact with lead terminals.

However as I discovered, the - and + terminals were also at different ends. This shortened my cable length which was already shorter due to putting new brass connectors to stop them corroding. So I had to return/replace it with one that had the connectors at the right ends make them closer to the engine like the previous one.






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  Reply # 1110614 18-Aug-2014 16:18
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I have secured a Century battery NS60LSMF for $105 incl GST, with 3 years warranty (directly from Century in Onehunga, using an "n3" discount card)/ All the other places I checked on the net show prices between $145 - $160 for this exact model number (430CCA).

I would say I got away fairly cheap from this situation...




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