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Wears out battery in a year?

 
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 10:52 am
Styggian's Avatar
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Default Wears out battery in a year?

I am not car savvy, so please be very clear with any engine related questions and I will try my best.

2007 PT Cruiser convertible, base trim level according to the VIN info.

In November 2012, the battery died. It was the original battery as far as I could tell, so this wasn't a surprise.

Then the next year, the brand new battery died. I don't remember the exact month, maybe November, maybe December, I just know that it happened when we got our first big freeze in Wisconsin. The alternator was tested while on and during ignition and was reportedly in perfect condition. The battery seemed to be okay according to the volt meter, but after charging and it died again, we replaced it. It had a guarantee, so it didn't cost me anything, but annoyance and frustration. I traded parking spots with roommates and kept my car in the garage, and that cleared up my start problems (extremely sluggish starts in weather below 35 degrees to the point it wouldn't turn on and needed to be jumped, once kept in the garage, it would turn on without a problem except a slight lag now and then). In warm weather, it would start with no issues whatsoever.

This morning, it took several seconds to turn over. I pumped the gas once and it came on. The last few days, there's been a little lag, barely noticeable. When I finished work today four hours later, it took several seconds to turn over, to the point I almost gave it, then it started at the last moment as I was going release the key.

The weather has hit mid-50s over night, so it has not been cold. The headlights don't flicker, the radio is fine. I turned on the lights, put on the high beams and fog lights, turned the fan up to the highest setting, and turned on the radio. I then revved the engine, and didn't notice any crackle in the radio or the lights or dash flickering.

I tried to get the codes, but I can never get it to work. When I turn the key forward, it locks and I have to depress it to unlock it and turn it back where I can remove the key, so this makes it hard for me to turn it forward three times in a few seconds.

I read about detaching one of the battery cables while the engine was running and that it was a bad thing to do, so I have not done that.

I need ideas. I make minimum wage so I can't afford to just let someone dig in the engine without knowing if they can tell me what's wrong, or if they'll just tell me it'll cost a few hundred dollars to fix that I don't have.

It makes no sense to me that it will work perfectly, and then suddenly the battery will die. A brand new battery that has had no issues, and dies within a year, and the previous battery also died within a year. I have no idea what it going on or what it could be causing the problem, I know practically nothing about car engines.

NO LIGHTS are on while the car is turned off over night. I have double checked that. There's nothing plugged in that could draw off the battery, and even if there was, why would it be okay for a year and then die, and the previous battery do the exact same thing?

I have changed spark plug cables before, so I am not totally car ignorant, but beyond the basics I am lost.

Thanks.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:00 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

New Batteries can go bad in a short time. Just because it went bad in a year does not mean it is you vehicle. You did not indicate who's battery it was or information about which battery you got.

Your responses does not indicate proper battery load testing.

DO NOT DISCONNECT THE BATTERY TO CHECK FOR THE ALTERNATOR CONDITION.The charging output is controlled by your ECM.

The proper and best method to look for diagnostic trouble codes is the use of a diagnostic scanning tool connected to you PT.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Nitro, they used a voltmeter, but I couldn't tell you the specifics or what the numbers came out. It was tested at an Advance Auto Parts and at a local privately owned shop, both came up with the same information (alternator showed appropriate voltage/amperage).

It's an Interstate Batteries MT 26R, and was replaced October 2013. I also went out and tried the code thing one more time, holding the ignition in and FINALLY got it to work.

And all it said was "done." No codes. I tried starting it just to see, and it turned over like normal, no lag.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

There are a lot of crap batteries out there. You may have gotten several.

Have battery tested - many places do that for free - ask beforehand.

Check all major cables - particularly the ends - you may need new cables.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:27 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Styggian View Post
Nitro, they used a voltmeter, but I couldn't tell you the specifics or what the numbers came out. It was tested at an Advance Auto Parts and at a local privately owned shop, both came up with the same information (alternator showed appropriate voltage/amperage).

It's an Interstate Batteries MT 26R, and was replaced October 2013. I also went out and tried the code thing one more time, holding the ignition in and FINALLY got it to work.

And all it said was "done." No codes. I tried starting it just to see, and it turned over like normal, no lag.

I keep trying to inform PT Cruiser owners that the "KEY" DTC access is NOT a reliable means to access DTCs.

You can not usually check a batteries condition using only a voltmeter, you basically only read the batteries voltage. If you know what you are doing a Digital volt meter could be used to load test a battery, but but few know how to do that procedure correctly. The method for battery condition is checked with a battery load tester. The battery being tested must first be charged otherwise the test is inconclusive.

The charging rate and alternators condition is check at the Diagnostic port using a Diagnostic scanning tool. If this alternator test was done correctly the tester should have at least checked for DTCs.

Interstate batteries are good quality batteries. The MT26R 540cc is the correct battery. It should be fine.

I would have recommended an O-Reilly Super Start Premium battery rated at 570cca. It is a little more powerful considering you have a convertible and where you live. Also should be less expensive same warranty.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:35 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by quicksilverdon View Post
There are a lot of crap batteries out there. You may have gotten several.

Have battery tested - many places do that for free - ask beforehand.

Check all major cables - particularly the ends - you may need new cables.
Don the battery industry has had to comply with *EPA and other regulating agencies in the last 10 years or so.

The OP also indicated the use of an INTERSTATE battery one of the largest and oldest manufacture and supplier of batteries in the US.

Wet battery technology has not changed they are still wet cells, lead ,acid and what ever the number of plates to give its power rating. So to blanket your statement about batteries is inaccurate.

*Most battery manufactures are made from recycled material from core batteries. Even the top of the line batteries on the market like Die hard and Interstate. It is almost impossible to get completely NEW general use wet batteries anymore.

Many battery retailers will buy batteries from top name supplier and have there labels attached.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 13 Aug 2014 at 11:38 am.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Wears out battery in a year?

Just me and my PT:

I am ASE
I have years expedience testing batteries and training people in companies on how to test batteries.
My PT Cruiser is in checked mechanically sound condition

But regardless a quality battery needed replacing less than a year of it purchase?


Open thread to view more information about load testing a battery.
Nitro's way of checking a battery
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 02:15 pm
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
I keep trying to inform PT Cruiser owners that the "KEY" DTC access is NOT a reliable means to access DTCs.

You can not usually check a batteries condition using only a voltmeter, you basically only read the batteries voltage. If you know what you are doing a Digital volt meter could be used to load test a battery, but but few know how to do that procedure correctly. The method for battery condition is checked with a battery load tester. The battery being tested must first be charged otherwise the test is inconclusive.

The charging rate and alternators condition is check at the Diagnostic port using a Diagnostic scanning tool. If this alternator test was done correctly the tester should have at least checked for DTCs.

Interstate batteries are good quality batteries. The MT26R 540cc is the correct battery. It should be fine.

I would have recommended an O-Reilly Super Start Premium battery rated at 570cca. It is a little more powerful considering you have a convertible and where you live. Also should be less expensive same warranty.
I can't get anything tested until tomorrow, I am working all day at my second job (boss decided I needed an extra 3 hours to bring me up to 12 hours today ).

Before, no one has ever offered to do a diagnostic port test, I know that port is under the steering wheel, so I know they never hooked anything up to it. I am assuming this is a free service they should be offering along with the voltmeter testing? It just seems crazy to twice in a row have this problem on a good quality battery and it possibly not be my car, but guess it's impossible to know otherwise. I just don't make that much money to be playing with maybes over it. You'd think if it was a problem with my car, it'd be occuring more than once a year.

If I remember right, last year they did report that the battery HAD failed. I just really hate it when they pull the whole "well it looks fine right this second so there's nothing wrong" and I am crossing my fingers it'll start again.

I was told that Interstate Batteries don't have to be changed at the shop it was purchased at (and of course I am missing the invoice from when they changed it last year) because of their warranty. Could I really go somewhere that sells them and have them do it, or is the shop wrong? I assume the serial number or other identifying info is right on the battery for warranty purposes.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 02:43 pm
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

Nothing is free unless it is stated so.

It really does not sound like you are getting proper testing and diagnosis of your PT.
Problems are not mysterious and elusive they are absolute and traceable.


There is a date code on the battery which indicates the month and tear.

Interstate is generally pretty good to help customers with there batteries.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 13 Aug 2014 at 02:47 pm.
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Old 13 Aug 2014, 06:33 pm
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Default Re: Wears out battery in a year?

temp affects a battery greatly,
use of the wrong oil affects starting BIG time,
things liek motor honey, and lucus oil adds are a huge no no in cold weather,
i have the vert as well,
and went through the same as you with the hard starts,
some help for you,

put the top up and the windows up , with the car on, always, and let run for a min beofre shutting off, to give the battery a top off charge

when its really cold , turn the key on but do not start it
then do a quick bump of the key after waiting a second,
that cuts the oil, and primes the pumps and get the fuel injectors primed, and loads the lines with fuel,
do not pump the gas,
wait 1-2 seconds then start the car,

and batterys are hit and miss, it only takes a lil bit bad to not giv you enough to start the car, i carreid a boost box with me for a month when money was tight ,
and i even installed a trickle chager that i plugged in over night, that was the best ,,,
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