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Duff Batteries?

Discussion in 'Motors' started by gord, 26 May 2006.

  1. gord

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2003

    Posts: 19,323

    Location: Midlands

    Ive had my 96' VW Polo 1.6 GLX for over a year now. I drove it constantly for the first 5 months, where it worked fine, and then went to uni. Each time i return and try to use it.. the car wont even let me unlock the doors with the key because the battery is dead flat.. and we end up jump starting it.

    We did that very thing today as expected. I took it on a drive as soon as it was started at about 7pm, with about 7 miles round trip. I thought this would be enough to get some charge to last until i needed it at 11pm.. just now.

    Alas i was mistaken, i got in the car with the key, but it wouldnt start... ARG!

    Now i got a new battery for it about 3 months ago from Halfords and went for the 'better' battery. I dont think it is this at fault though really... im sure there must be some sort of drain on the battery from somewhere... Anyone had any similar problems with their batteries.. is it just a duffer?
     
  2. ci_newman

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 24 Feb 2004

    Posts: 9,338

    Location: Hook, Hants

    I'd take a look at the alternator belt, a) check its still there, b) check it isnt loose! c) check the alternator is charging properly
     
  3. gord

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2003

    Posts: 19,323

    Location: Midlands

    First task of today.. after sleeping. Any more suggestions welcome.. the more things to try/check the more likely i am to find a problem. Thanks again.
     
  4. F355

    Mobster

    Joined: 21 Mar 2003

    Posts: 2,717

    Location: Hampshire

    Check with a multimeter voltage while battery connected and car off, battery connected and car on then battery disconnected.

    With a complex algorythm you can probably work out what's at fault :p

    Battery disconnected should be around 13v
    Battery connected should still be around 13v
    Battery on charge around 14v
     
  5. pinkaardvark

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,705

    Location: Cambs

    You say "unlock with a key" do you mean it has central locking, if so this and other electrical devices like the clock will drain the battery over a long period. This isn't unusual. Really if you plan on leaving the car for months on end you should invest in a trickle charger or just ensure your folks drive it once a week.
     
  6. Mickey_D

    Soldato

    Joined: 9 Dec 2003

    Posts: 6,204

    Location: Gone......

    The off-colour anteater above has it right.

    After several months even the clock on a head unit will drain a fully charged starting battery.

    The receiver for a keyfob central locking system will drain it rather quickly, too.

    Is the car parked up outside, or is it kept in a garage? If it's outside, invest in one of those solar panels that plug into your lighter socket. They'll keep the battery charged up and no need for extension cords or anything.


    Failing all that, you could just disconnect the battery while the car is parked up.....
     
  7. Sputnik II

    Mobster

    Joined: 5 Nov 2004

    Posts: 2,547

    Sounds like its just normal battery drain as Mickey D said but, There is a few other things to check.

    Does the charge light come on when the ignition is on but without the engine running?
    Is everything like interior lights switched off when you leave the car parked up?
    With the ignition removed from the ignition, remove the battery earth lead and connect an ammeter between the negative terminal of the battery and the earth lead. Ideally the current draw should be less than 500mA.
    Are the battery terminals clean, fitted properly and tight ? I've seen alot of round terminal batteries where people have not pushed the clamps down far enough and although they have tightened the clamp its not actually gripping the post because the posts are tapered. If fitted properly there should be a gap between the two halves of the clamp where the bolt goes thru when they are tight.
    Tbh, a seven mile trip won't put much charge into a battery. Even less if its round town. driving in a lower gear to keep up the engine revs would help though.
     
  8. Dogbreath

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 16,653

    Location: Devon

    Note that full discharging a car battery, and especialy leaving it fully discharged for any length of time will quickly ruin it to the point that it will no longer take a charge.
     
  9. gord

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2003

    Posts: 19,323

    Location: Midlands

    Cheers for the pointers chaps.

    It has been driven by my rents. My old man did 20 miles in it and then went to do the same 2 weeks later and it wouldnt start. I'll definitely look at one of those solar things i think. I havnt had a look at it yet, but we'll get the meter out later and have a look at it and the alternator.
     
  10. Jonny69

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 3 May 2004

    Posts: 17,669

    Location: Kapitalist Republik of Surrey

    However this is a good reason why you should buy your batteries from Halfords. Although they are a bit more expensive than elsewhere they do come with a no-argument 3 year guarantee and if you say it's not working properly you get another one no questions asked.

    I normally kill mine within 2 years through neglect of some sorts and a 3 year warrantee is dead handy :D
     
  11. M0T

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Aug 2003

    Posts: 4,583

    Location: House

    When my sisters fiesta stopped starting she took the battery back to Halfords and they fitted a replacement free of charge. 2 weeks later they called her up demanding payment for the second battery because they had tested the first one and found there wasn't anything wrong with it. This was despite the fact she had had no problems since getting the new battery fitted.
     
  12. BenST

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,122

    Location: Southampton

    And did she pay up?
     
  13. M0T

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Aug 2003

    Posts: 4,583

    Location: House

    No, my dad went down and sorted them out for her.
     
  14. Jonny ///M

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Nov 2004

    Posts: 10,197

    Seems weird. The one i work in just accepts stuff pretty easily. Im sure the calcium or HD calciums have a five year warrantly aswell. Same goes with the 2ft long bars for sockets,there is always atleast 2 in when i go to work.Whats the point in going expensive when you get it cheap and get it replaced constanly. ;)

    How can they demand payment when it was a new for old type thing,its not as if she got away with two batteries. :confused:
     
  15. Jonny69

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 3 May 2004

    Posts: 17,669

    Location: Kapitalist Republik of Surrey

    Anyway, you just put down a bogus/old address and telephone number on the refund slip. I don't want them sending me stuff in the post or ringing me up :cool:
     
  16. Gaygle

    Capodecina

    Joined: 7 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,035

    Location: East of England

    IF your battery was completely drained because you were at uni and it was just sitting there then its going to take a hell of a lot more miles than 7 to give it enough charge to start the engine. It takes and incredible amount of current to start a car and you'd need to charge the battery (take it out of the car and connect it to a charging unit), check the water levels of the battery, top up if necessary.