Author Topic: Car Battery questions - is it dead?  (Read 17055 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« on: July 21, 2015, 03:09:04 PM »
Hey guys,

So after letting my car sit in the garage for so long while trying to fix the door and fender (at least around 30 or more days), I found the battery was dead. I was able to jumpstart it and let it run for 5 mins but that obviously wasn't enough. I popped the vents and I see water (or acid)? Filled pretty high up and covering the cells... does this mean it's currently safe from sulfation issues? And if so, am I able to 'recharge' it simply by taking the car for a 20-30 minute drive?

I ended up buying a NOCO G1100 charger just in case (it was on sale for around $20~ and got another $10 off, so not bad).

BTW: I measured the DC voltage and it was reading 1.96-1.97

« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 05:00:50 PM by jplee3 »

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 05:22:13 PM »
You've drained it deeply and damaged it some, but it's probably fine.  Don't do it regularly and it should last at least a while longer.

I would recharge it with a proper battery charger.  Many car alternator/charging systems do not appreciate charging a battery from zero state of charge, and you can pop fusable links & such (some of which are a royal pain to change).

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 05:32:53 PM »
You've drained it deeply and damaged it some, but it's probably fine.  Don't do it regularly and it should last at least a while longer.

I would recharge it with a proper battery charger.  Many car alternator/charging systems do not appreciate charging a battery from zero state of charge, and you can pop fusable links & such (some of which are a royal pain to change).

Thanks, I'll hold off and driving it around then until I get the charger... sad thing is that the charger I ordered is slated to arrive on Saturday. I for some reason thought it would get here sooner since I thought it would be shipped from nearby. Go figure, it's shipping from the other side of the US :T


Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 06:43:01 PM »
The "homeboy" test of a battery:
Take the covers off of the cells.  Have someone try to start it (i.e. put a load on it).  If you see bubbles, the cell that has bubbles is in bad shape.

The bubbles are hydrogen... so obviously keep away from sparks/flames when you're doing this.

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 07:32:42 PM »

BTW: I measured the DC voltage and it was reading 1.96-1.97

This is the total battery voltage from positive to negative?  Car battery (i.e., nominally 12v battery?)  It's probably dead, if so.  Anything much below 10v probably means multiple dead cells, and they're unlikely to come back on the charger.  Give it a try, it won't hurt anything, but don't expect too much.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 07:46:51 PM »
You can charge dead lead acid cells a few times and they'll take it.  Capacity is down, but you can get away with it a few times.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 08:35:51 PM »

BTW: I measured the DC voltage and it was reading 1.96-1.97

This is the total battery voltage from positive to negative?  Car battery (i.e., nominally 12v battery?)  It's probably dead, if so.  Anything much below 10v probably means multiple dead cells, and they're unlikely to come back on the charger.  Give it a try, it won't hurt anything, but don't expect too much.

This is the read-out I got from the digital multimeter. Date on the battery is 12/12.

We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

waffle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 07:55:05 AM »
A lot of tire stores that also do batteries will charge and test your battery for free. Once fully charged they can tell you if its got life left in it or not.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 08:51:20 AM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

sequoia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 09:58:45 AM »
Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 10:15:47 AM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

That's a good idea - I'll look for a boat battery next time. How much more expensive are they than regular batteries though? Any suggestions on brands? Diehard?

Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

Thanks, the only catch-22 with that is actually making it over to an Autozone or Advance Auto lol... it could just be that I need to let the car run a little longer before attempting to drive it. Or maybe the charger I'm ordering will do the trick...*crossing fingers*
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 10:29:44 AM by jplee3 »

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2015, 11:09:49 AM »
THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

... or just buy a cheap car battery and a cheaper battery tender.  They're like $15 and keep the battery topped off.

waffle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 02:43:22 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

That's a good idea - I'll look for a boat battery next time. How much more expensive are they than regular batteries though? Any suggestions on brands? Diehard?

Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

Thanks, the only catch-22 with that is actually making it over to an Autozone or Advance Auto lol... it could just be that I need to let the car run a little longer before attempting to drive it. Or maybe the charger I'm ordering will do the trick...*crossing fingers*

Sequoia is right. Once the car is started the alternator should be supplying all of the power needed to run the car.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2015, 03:43:28 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

That's a good idea - I'll look for a boat battery next time. How much more expensive are they than regular batteries though? Any suggestions on brands? Diehard?

Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

Thanks, the only catch-22 with that is actually making it over to an Autozone or Advance Auto lol... it could just be that I need to let the car run a little longer before attempting to drive it. Or maybe the charger I'm ordering will do the trick...*crossing fingers*

Sequoia is right. Once the car is started the alternator should be supplying all of the power needed to run the car.

Hmm, could my alternator be bad? Could it have gone bad from sitting for so long as described? I suppose I need to check this way - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGB6ZEjGm7Q ?

waffle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 04:00:42 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

That's a good idea - I'll look for a boat battery next time. How much more expensive are they than regular batteries though? Any suggestions on brands? Diehard?

Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

Thanks, the only catch-22 with that is actually making it over to an Autozone or Advance Auto lol... it could just be that I need to let the car run a little longer before attempting to drive it. Or maybe the charger I'm ordering will do the trick...*crossing fingers*

Sequoia is right. Once the car is started the alternator should be supplying all of the power needed to run the car.

Hmm, could my alternator be bad? Could it have gone bad from sitting for so long as described? I suppose I need to check this way - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGB6ZEjGm7Q ?

Here's what I would do. unhook the batter in the car and take it to whatever your local tire store/autoparts store is that will charge and test for free. It shouldn't be too hard to fine one. I prefer Les Schwab if you have one in your area. They will charge and test your battery (you will need to leave it there several hours/overnight) and then take it home, put it in the car and drive back to the store to test your alternator. If the battery is good and charged but your car still dies then its probably something else all together.

You can wait till Saturday for your charger to come, but a tire store is going to have a much better charger and can test the batter at the same time.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2015, 09:38:06 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

That's a good idea - I'll look for a boat battery next time. How much more expensive are they than regular batteries though? Any suggestions on brands? Diehard?

Quote
We'll see what happens when I charge on Saturday. In the meantime, I tried jumping it real quick and got it to go after a couple tries but as soon as I started trying to put the car in reverse everything shut down... I probably needed to let it sit for 5-10mins before trying to drive it eh. I just wanted to reposition the car a little bit as well as make sure nothing else was wrong.

@jplee3 I am no battery expert, but usually when you jump the battery, and the car is running, it should not shut-off when you start driving it, it will just re-charge the battery. If you turn off the car, and the battery is not charged, then you may not be able to re-start the car again. Maybe the alternator is not charging?

Not sure if you have Autozone or Advance near by? I know both store here do free battery and alternator test.

Thanks, the only catch-22 with that is actually making it over to an Autozone or Advance Auto lol... it could just be that I need to let the car run a little longer before attempting to drive it. Or maybe the charger I'm ordering will do the trick...*crossing fingers*

Sequoia is right. Once the car is started the alternator should be supplying all of the power needed to run the car.

Hmm, could my alternator be bad? Could it have gone bad from sitting for so long as described? I suppose I need to check this way - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGB6ZEjGm7Q ?

Here's what I would do. unhook the batter in the car and take it to whatever your local tire store/autoparts store is that will charge and test for free. It shouldn't be too hard to fine one. I prefer Les Schwab if you have one in your area. They will charge and test your battery (you will need to leave it there several hours/overnight) and then take it home, put it in the car and drive back to the store to test your alternator. If the battery is good and charged but your car still dies then its probably something else all together.

You can wait till Saturday for your charger to come, but a tire store is going to have a much better charger and can test the batter at the same time.

Thanks, will try to bring it over to the store to get tested/charged if I have time... in the meantime I jumped the car again tonight and checked the voltage while having it run. This time I noticed the car started idling at lower rpms and seemed to "jump" around - with the jumpstarter still attached, I looked at the voltage and it was at around 13.40-50 and then dropped down to 13.00-13.10 after a minute of letting it run. Before starting this, and with the jumpstarter plugged in, I was getting a reading of 12.75. I found it odd that the voltage was jumping around so much and slowly declining... I noticed that the engine sounded as if it was going to die as well in conjunction with the voltage dying.

Ughh, I'm starting to wonder if my alternator is bad... are those signs that the alternator would be going bad? I suppose the quickest way to find out without testing/charging the battery up would be just to buy a new battery and drop it in to see what happens.

EDIT: I made sure to retighten the clamps to the battery terminal just in case. After this, I started it up a couple more times and just let it idle, turning on more of the electrical stuff here and there as well as revving the engine a bit every now and then. Now the voltage is reading at 11.98 or so. I was keeping an eye on the voltage while turning on all the components and at times it was as low as maybe 11.50 and as high as 14 or more... So maybe it was just that I had to tighten the clamp. But I still do notice when I start the car it kind of hesitates and is "trying" to start but doesn't quite get there - I have to keep the key turned for an extra second or two before it finally starts the car but it does go. Additionally, after letting it sit idle for a while, I started hearing what sounds like one of the belts making a 'rubbing' noise - not quite squealing but almost like the sound of sandpaper rubbing against wood (definitely not as harsh and a bit more subtle). I'm just wondering if these are signs that the alternator is crapping out... I think I read they can last anywhere from 100-200k miles - this car has just over 200k and I'm pretty sure the alternator has never been changed. 
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 10:05:30 PM by jplee3 »

waffle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 286
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 09:07:42 AM »
I'm not sure that you can get an accurate reading with the jumpers still attached. If the car is still running with a dead battery and no jumpers attached then the alternator isn't completely dead. At a low idle the alternator isn't going to be putting out all that much anyway. Usually if my battery is drained (but still good) once I have the car jumped I go for a long drive to give the alternator a chance to charge it. Before worrying about the alternator you should get the battery taken care of. Once you know you have a good batter in there if its still not working how it should check and clean all cables. Tons of people will just straight to replacing the alternator when its really just a loose or corroded cable.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 09:09:41 AM by waffle »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2015, 10:33:01 AM »
I'm not sure that you can get an accurate reading with the jumpers still attached. If the car is still running with a dead battery and no jumpers attached then the alternator isn't completely dead. At a low idle the alternator isn't going to be putting out all that much anyway. Usually if my battery is drained (but still good) once I have the car jumped I go for a long drive to give the alternator a chance to charge it. Before worrying about the alternator you should get the battery taken care of. Once you know you have a good batter in there if its still not working how it should check and clean all cables. Tons of people will just straight to replacing the alternator when its really just a loose or corroded cable.

Well, it was reading around 11.98 without the jumpers attached but after freshly jumpstarting. Of course, when I checked again this morning, it was back down to 1.94. If there are dead cells in this thing, it sounds like I may just need to get a new battery. We'll see once I get the charger I guess. I don't think I'll have any time to drop the battery off between today and Saturday when I get the charger... it's been busy.

dycker1978

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2015, 10:45:45 AM »
The alternator should run at 14.4 volts without jumpers attached.  If it is running at 11.9 like you mention then it is weak.  It has probably been weak for a long time.  The cars system will take 12V DC to run, so the battery has not been charging for a while, in my opinion.  If you leave the car run, it is not going to help.  There in not enough voltage from the alternator.

Also on that note, batteries, at least here, typically have a 5 year pro rated warranty.  If that battery is stamped dec 2012, you should be able to get somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1/2 back to put towards the purchase of a new one, if you take it to where ever it was bought.  The only issue you may run into, with such a badly discharged battery, the may suspect that there was abuse to it(bad alternator, left your lights on for days at a time, multiple time... various other things) and may try and disqualify this from warranty.   Typically, the battery will not start your car with less then 10 volts or so.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2015, 01:05:57 PM »
The alternator should run at 14.4 volts without jumpers attached.  If it is running at 11.9 like you mention then it is weak.  It has probably been weak for a long time.  The cars system will take 12V DC to run, so the battery has not been charging for a while, in my opinion.  If you leave the car run, it is not going to help.  There in not enough voltage from the alternator.

Also on that note, batteries, at least here, typically have a 5 year pro rated warranty.  If that battery is stamped dec 2012, you should be able to get somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1/2 back to put towards the purchase of a new one, if you take it to where ever it was bought.  The only issue you may run into, with such a badly discharged battery, the may suspect that there was abuse to it(bad alternator, left your lights on for days at a time, multiple time... various other things) and may try and disqualify this from warranty.   Typically, the battery will not start your car with less then 10 volts or so.

Thanks, I don't think I unhooked the jumper after starting the car so maybe I should try that and just see what the voltage looks like. I think first things first though I need to start with the battery first. Thanks for the reminder on the warranty too - I need to try to find the receipt for that...

NumberCruncher

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2015, 01:34:23 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

Surely not the same battery for 15 years though, right?

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2015, 02:09:12 PM »
I called up my mechanic for work to be done on another car but asked him what he thought, briefly describing the issues I saw on mine, and he thinks it's just the battery. I better find that receipt JIC. Hopefully recharging/reconditioning will get me by a little longer.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2015, 08:17:15 PM »
Another suggestion:
* IF this is a car that sits a lot without running and...
* IF the car has room under the hood for it and...
* IF the battery proves to be dead and you have to replace it...

THEN buy a boat battery.  They were designed for this sort of situation.  The plates are reinforced and don't warp when it gets cycled to really low charges.  I've got an old car I don't drive much.   I've had a boat battery in it for probably the last 15 years or more.

Surely not the same battery for 15 years though, right?

God no.  I live in the south where heat sucks the living daylights out of a battery.

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2015, 09:27:01 PM »
The variation in alternator voltage is just the alternator charging the battery back up after the engine start (higher current).  As the current drops back down to a regular operating level the voltage output will be reduced.

Also, newer vehicles don't just operate at a nominal 14.4V.  For example, GM has RVC (regulated voltage control) which reduces the voltage output of the alternator (but obviously never below battery voltage) to reduce the load of the alternator on the engine to improve fuel economy; it also improves battery life.  If you have RVC, you will see an inductive current sensor on your battery cable which is used by the RVC system.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2015, 11:04:19 AM »
Hey guys,

So I got the charger yesterday and plugged it in to charge the battery. At first, it couldn't detect the voltage because it was so low. I jumpstarted the car and let it run for 5 mins and after that tried charging. It was able to detect it at 12v finally and started charging at the 25% level. However, it's been sitting at that level all night. I've been checking the voltage every now and then and it ranges between 12.40-12.60... last night when I checked it was floating at around 12.97~ but this morning it was back at 12.43.... supposedly when the charger first starts out one of the early stages is pulse charging to remove sulfates. Could this be what's happening? When I took the vent covers off to look inside, it didn't appear like there was much sulfation.

Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering how long this may take. The manufacturers guide says 24hrs to charge up a 40ah 12v battery but potentially more if it's been discharged. I'm just wondering what the voltage is supposed to look like as I'm checking it, especially after the 8+ hours that it's already been going. Any ideas?

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2015, 02:23:58 PM »
It sounds like your deep discharge pretty much killed it.

You can keep messing with it, but new batteries just aren't that expensive, and a battery tender is cheap.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2015, 03:54:06 PM »
It sounds like your deep discharge pretty much killed it.

You can keep messing with it, but new batteries just aren't that expensive, and a battery tender is cheap.


Darn... the battery is from Oreilly and I found the receipt. Apparently there's a 36mo warranty on it so it seems like it's still within that period (since it was purchased in 1/13 (with the battery on the date being 12/12). I suppose it's worth taking over to Oreilly to see if they can replace under warranty? At the same time, they'll likely determine that it's bad due to the discharge and consider that voided warranty...

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2015, 03:55:01 PM »
Hey guys,

So I got the charger yesterday and plugged it in to charge the battery. At first, it couldn't detect the voltage because it was so low. I jumpstarted the car and let it run for 5 mins and after that tried charging. It was able to detect it at 12v finally and started charging at the 25% level. However, it's been sitting at that level all night. I've been checking the voltage every now and then and it ranges between 12.40-12.60... last night when I checked it was floating at around 12.97~ but this morning it was back at 12.43.... supposedly when the charger first starts out one of the early stages is pulse charging to remove sulfates. Could this be what's happening? When I took the vent covers off to look inside, it didn't appear like there was much sulfation.

Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering how long this may take. The manufacturers guide says 24hrs to charge up a 40ah 12v battery but potentially more if it's been discharged. I'm just wondering what the voltage is supposed to look like as I'm checking it, especially after the 8+ hours that it's already been going. Any ideas?

The charger might be going through some desulfation procedure which is varying the voltage.  We have a charger at work that has a 24hr desulfation mode.  However, if the battery is toast you will still get an error code at the end.  If your battery charger doesn't give out error codes then when the charge is complete you can try it in the car.  At first, right after a charge, the battery voltage is probably in the high 12V range.  Turn on the lights for a minute and then turn them off to remove the surface charge on the battery.  If everything is  ok you should be around 12V.  If the voltage drops a lot after you have the lights on then the battery is most likely a goner.

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2015, 04:27:21 PM »
I just looked at the spec for the NOCO G1100 charger and it is a 1.1A charger.  So, 40Ah battery @ 1.1A means you need around 36 hours to charge it since you deep discharged it.  Actually, the 40Ah rating is only for discharging down to around 10.5V . . . .

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2015, 05:36:03 PM »
Hey guys,

So I got the charger yesterday and plugged it in to charge the battery. At first, it couldn't detect the voltage because it was so low. I jumpstarted the car and let it run for 5 mins and after that tried charging. It was able to detect it at 12v finally and started charging at the 25% level. However, it's been sitting at that level all night. I've been checking the voltage every now and then and it ranges between 12.40-12.60... last night when I checked it was floating at around 12.97~ but this morning it was back at 12.43.... supposedly when the charger first starts out one of the early stages is pulse charging to remove sulfates. Could this be what's happening? When I took the vent covers off to look inside, it didn't appear like there was much sulfation.

Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering how long this may take. The manufacturers guide says 24hrs to charge up a 40ah 12v battery but potentially more if it's been discharged. I'm just wondering what the voltage is supposed to look like as I'm checking it, especially after the 8+ hours that it's already been going. Any ideas?

The charger might be going through some desulfation procedure which is varying the voltage.  We have a charger at work that has a 24hr desulfation mode.  However, if the battery is toast you will still get an error code at the end.  If your battery charger doesn't give out error codes then when the charge is complete you can try it in the car.  At first, right after a charge, the battery voltage is probably in the high 12V range.  Turn on the lights for a minute and then turn them off to remove the surface charge on the battery.  If everything is  ok you should be around 12V.  If the voltage drops a lot after you have the lights on then the battery is most likely a goner.


Thanks, guess I'll give it a little more time. If it really is still desulfating and takes 24hrs+ then I suppose that might explain why it's still blinking at the 25% level (there are 50%, 75% and 100% levels). 

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2015, 06:49:26 PM »
I just skimmed over the manual and it sounds like it is charging fine.  Page 20 mentions error conditions and the charger will detect a highly sulfated or damaged battery.  If that happens the error LED and all of the charging LEDs will blink.  If you see that it is time to get a new battery.

We deep discharged a battery at work.  Our charger saved it once.  The second time we got an error code even after the 24 hour desulfate cycle (either open or shorted cell error, can't remember which).

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2015, 10:36:25 PM »
I just skimmed over the manual and it sounds like it is charging fine.  Page 20 mentions error conditions and the charger will detect a highly sulfated or damaged battery.  If that happens the error LED and all of the charging LEDs will blink.  If you see that it is time to get a new battery.

We deep discharged a battery at work.  Our charger saved it once.  The second time we got an error code even after the 24 hour desulfate cycle (either open or shorted cell error, can't remember which).

Yeah, when I initially plugged it in I saw all the lights blinking when attempting to charge at 12v. So after that I tried jumpstarting and letting the car run at idle for 5 minutes or so. Turned it off and hooked the charger back up and it seemed to recognize it as a 12v battery again and appeared to have charged with the 25% indicator led blinking...but it's been stuck on there since last night. I just checked right now and the voltage was at 13.08v and dropped down to 12.98v while I had the multimeter on it, so maybe it's doing the pulse charging still?

I'm wondering if i should just try getting warranty replacement via Oreilly though, because if I do then I'll have a brand new battery and won't have to deal with any of this hopefully for a while. Of course, there's the risk that it'll be void under warranty and I'll have to buy a new battery anyway... but I suppose that's the worst-case scenario.

brainfart

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2015, 11:13:02 PM »
If you end up buying a new battery get a larger one, especially if you live in an area where it gets cold in winter. Modern cars have insanely small batteries (40 Ah is tiny), and the cars often draw electricity even when switched off.
Larger capacity batteries obviously store more energy, they can also provide more oomph when starting and this is a good thing especially in winter. The battery will last longer if it is designed for large current draws but doesn't have to provide them.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2015, 11:21:11 PM »
If you end up buying a new battery get a larger one, especially if you live in an area where it gets cold in winter. Modern cars have insanely small batteries (40 Ah is tiny), and the cars often draw electricity even when switched off.
Larger capacity batteries obviously store more energy, they can also provide more oomph when starting and this is a good thing especially in winter. The battery will last longer if it is designed for large current draws but doesn't have to provide them.

I'm in SoCal so it hardly gets cold down here, if at all.... the garage is not insulated either so it stores up heat. I hear heat isn't a good thing for these types of batteries esp for longer-term storage :T

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2015, 06:21:59 AM »
. . . .

I'm wondering if i should just try getting warranty replacement via Oreilly though, because if I do then I'll have a brand new battery and won't have to deal with any of this hopefully for a while. Of course, there's the risk that it'll be void under warranty and I'll have to buy a new battery anyway... but I suppose that's the worst-case scenario.

Here's part of the warranty of an Oreilly Super Start Premium battery from their website.  Not sure if it is the brand you have because this battery only has a 2 year warranty; you mentioned 3 year warranty.  Their all caps, not mine.  Worth a try, you might get lucky.  But, you've done all this work so far, I think it is worth seeing if the battery will charge.  A quick test you can do now is to unhook the charger and see if the battery will hold voltage; if it just drops right back down to a few volts it is 99% chance bad.

Quote
What Does This Warranty Not Cover?

THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT EXTEND TO PRODUCT THAT FAILS DUE TO (i) ACCIDENT OR COLLISION; (ii) IMPROPER USE, INSTALLATION, MAINTENANCE OR SERVICE; (iii) COMBINATION OF THE PRODUCT WITH OTHER THIRD-PARTY PRODUCT(S) WHICH FAIL; (iv) ABUSE, MISUSE, MODIFICATION, OR NEGLECT; (v) FAILURE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS; (vi) AN ACT OF GOD (SUCH AS A FLOOD, CHEMICAL FALLOUT, SALT, HAIL OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS INCLUDING NATURAL DISASTERS); (vii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES; OR (viii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR MARINE PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR MARINE USE.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2015, 08:40:53 AM »
. . . .

I'm wondering if i should just try getting warranty replacement via Oreilly though, because if I do then I'll have a brand new battery and won't have to deal with any of this hopefully for a while. Of course, there's the risk that it'll be void under warranty and I'll have to buy a new battery anyway... but I suppose that's the worst-case scenario.

Here's part of the warranty of an Oreilly Super Start Premium battery from their website.  Not sure if it is the brand you have because this battery only has a 2 year warranty; you mentioned 3 year warranty.  Their all caps, not mine.  Worth a try, you might get lucky.  But, you've done all this work so far, I think it is worth seeing if the battery will charge.  A quick test you can do now is to unhook the charger and see if the battery will hold voltage; if it just drops right back down to a few volts it is 99% chance bad.

Quote
What Does This Warranty Not Cover?

THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT EXTEND TO PRODUCT THAT FAILS DUE TO (i) ACCIDENT OR COLLISION; (ii) IMPROPER USE, INSTALLATION, MAINTENANCE OR SERVICE; (iii) COMBINATION OF THE PRODUCT WITH OTHER THIRD-PARTY PRODUCT(S) WHICH FAIL; (iv) ABUSE, MISUSE, MODIFICATION, OR NEGLECT; (v) FAILURE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS; (vi) AN ACT OF GOD (SUCH AS A FLOOD, CHEMICAL FALLOUT, SALT, HAIL OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS INCLUDING NATURAL DISASTERS); (vii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES; OR (viii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR MARINE PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR MARINE USE.

The one I got is the Super Start Extreme or Extra or something... supposedly those carry a 3yr warranty according to my receipt. I just checked this morning and now it's blinking on the 50% level! So it looks like it really is working! I guess another full day and it should be done or close to done hopefully :) And hopefully the battery holds up for a good amount of time as well... btw: how much more life will I get out of the battery after having done this? At least another couple of years or once the warranty is up on it? I think the 'extended' warranty beyond the 36mo 'free replacement' period is something like 84 months, which seems crazy to me...

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2015, 09:20:19 AM »
It really just depends on the battery and the damage done to it from the discharge.  Some will last years after that kind of abuse, some won't last 6 months.  If you don't have very cold winters, it's easier on batteries, so it might last longer.  There's no easy way to tell.

I generally replace my batteries preemptively when they start to get weak, because I have no interest in vehicles that won't start. :)  But I also use battery tenders or solar chargers on less frequently driven vehicles to ensure the batteries are remaining full.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2015, 10:31:51 AM »
It really just depends on the battery and the damage done to it from the discharge.  Some will last years after that kind of abuse, some won't last 6 months.  If you don't have very cold winters, it's easier on batteries, so it might last longer.  There's no easy way to tell.

I generally replace my batteries preemptively when they start to get weak, because I have no interest in vehicles that won't start. :)  But I also use battery tenders or solar chargers on less frequently driven vehicles to ensure the batteries are remaining full.

I think this is good advice.  I've had a number of batteries that failed REALLY FAST.  By that I mean: there was one or two slow starts before there was total failure.  (And I have a  tendency to buy batteries with more than enough CCA... so I'm not talking about undersized batteries here.)  I've sort of learned that a couple of slow starts on a battery that's over half way through it's warrantied life means "my wife might get stuck somewhere" ... and that's just not a good thing.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2015, 11:27:41 AM »
One of my vehicles takes about a metric fuckton and a half of amps to start - I calculated I need an honest 700A flowing to start it between the glow plugs and the starter.  Two batteries, and probably not something I can easily jump start.  So I replaced the batteries on that long before they started actually giving me trouble - they were just sagging too much during start.

One thing that may be useful for people changing batteries is to get a battery heat shield - something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Thermo-Tec-13200-Battery-Heat-Barrier/dp/B000GVOQDK

It helps keep the engine heat away from the battery, and theoretically improves battery longevity.  Lead acid batteries don't like being hot, and they don't like being cold.  Pair that with a battery tender type device for a vehicle driven less frequently, and it should help a lot with keeping batteries alive.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2015, 11:43:19 AM »
One of my vehicles takes about a metric fuckton and a half of amps to start - I calculated I need an honest 700A flowing to start it between the glow plugs and the starter.  Two batteries, and probably not something I can easily jump start.  So I replaced the batteries on that long before they started actually giving me trouble - they were just sagging too much during start.

One thing that may be useful for people changing batteries is to get a battery heat shield - something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Thermo-Tec-13200-Battery-Heat-Barrier/dp/B000GVOQDK

It helps keep the engine heat away from the battery, and theoretically improves battery longevity.  Lead acid batteries don't like being hot, and they don't like being cold.  Pair that with a battery tender type device for a vehicle driven less frequently, and it should help a lot with keeping batteries alive.

Hmm, interesting on the heat shield... is that the same material used to line some cooler bags etc? As far as battery tenders, is the NOCO G1100 I have considered a "battery tender" or is that completely different ?

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2015, 11:49:38 AM »
No idea about coolers.

And, yes, your charger appears that it is designed for keeping a fully charged battery topped off, so it should be fine to leave it connected.

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #41 on: July 27, 2015, 09:07:15 PM »
. . . .

I'm wondering if i should just try getting warranty replacement via Oreilly though, because if I do then I'll have a brand new battery and won't have to deal with any of this hopefully for a while. Of course, there's the risk that it'll be void under warranty and I'll have to buy a new battery anyway... but I suppose that's the worst-case scenario.

Here's part of the warranty of an Oreilly Super Start Premium battery from their website.  Not sure if it is the brand you have because this battery only has a 2 year warranty; you mentioned 3 year warranty.  Their all caps, not mine.  Worth a try, you might get lucky.  But, you've done all this work so far, I think it is worth seeing if the battery will charge.  A quick test you can do now is to unhook the charger and see if the battery will hold voltage; if it just drops right back down to a few volts it is 99% chance bad.

Quote
What Does This Warranty Not Cover?

THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT EXTEND TO PRODUCT THAT FAILS DUE TO (i) ACCIDENT OR COLLISION; (ii) IMPROPER USE, INSTALLATION, MAINTENANCE OR SERVICE; (iii) COMBINATION OF THE PRODUCT WITH OTHER THIRD-PARTY PRODUCT(S) WHICH FAIL; (iv) ABUSE, MISUSE, MODIFICATION, OR NEGLECT; (v) FAILURE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS; (vi) AN ACT OF GOD (SUCH AS A FLOOD, CHEMICAL FALLOUT, SALT, HAIL OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS INCLUDING NATURAL DISASTERS); (vii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR POWERSPORTS, OFF-ROAD, OR RACING PURPOSES; OR (viii) INSTALLATION OR USE ON VEHICLES USED FOR MARINE PURPOSES WHERE SUCH PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR MARINE USE.

The one I got is the Super Start Extreme or Extra or something... supposedly those carry a 3yr warranty according to my receipt. I just checked this morning and now it's blinking on the 50% level! So it looks like it really is working! I guess another full day and it should be done or close to done hopefully :) And hopefully the battery holds up for a good amount of time as well... btw: how much more life will I get out of the battery after having done this? At least another couple of years or once the warranty is up on it? I think the 'extended' warranty beyond the 36mo 'free replacement' period is something like 84 months, which seems crazy to me...

I bought a used 2005 Taurus and had to replace the battery.  It was the original Motorcraft battery, 84 months old by the date code. It would still start the car but you could tell it wasn't going to last through another winter.  Motorcraft batteries are made by Johnson Controls.  So is the Sears DieHard battery which also has an 84 month warranty.  I got lucky and was able to buy a new DieHard with nice online discount for $80-90.  Since the Motorcraft battery was still working I was able to wait for a nice sale.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2015, 12:04:32 AM »
Cool, we're at 75% now on the charge. Guess it'll take probably another full day or maybe less to reach 100% - I just hope that after I drive it around, it's not going to completely crap out on me... so Sears/Motorcraft is a good brand to go with? Or should I get one from Costco? I didn't realize Costco sold car batteries. Last one I got for our Rav4 was from Walmart.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2015, 07:55:36 AM »
Cool, we're at 75% now on the charge. Guess it'll take probably another full day or maybe less to reach 100% - I just hope that after I drive it around, it's not going to completely crap out on me... so Sears/Motorcraft is a good brand to go with? Or should I get one from Costco? I didn't realize Costco sold car batteries. Last one I got for our Rav4 was from Walmart.

My opinion here is: brand doesn't matter so much.  By that I mean, you balance the cost of the battery with the warranty that comes with it.  I would not buy a cheap no-name battery with a 12 month warranty.  But I've regularly bought Die Hard/CostCo/Sams Club/Walmart batteries with 5 year warranties.  I usually go with whatever is cheaper that day.  You're sort of buying an insurance policy (the warranty)...  As long as they are going to be around in 4 years if the battery fails early... you are okay.

I live in a very hot area, so in my case I am careful not buy the maintenance free batteries.  From my understanding, the difference between maintenance and no-maintenance is the ability to add distilled water.  The sealed batteries I've had seem just as likely to NEED water added at some point -- there just isn't a way to add it.  The brutal summers here have a tendency to zap the batteries of water over time.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2015, 12:57:57 PM »
Cool, we're at 75% now on the charge. Guess it'll take probably another full day or maybe less to reach 100% - I just hope that after I drive it around, it's not going to completely crap out on me... so Sears/Motorcraft is a good brand to go with? Or should I get one from Costco? I didn't realize Costco sold car batteries. Last one I got for our Rav4 was from Walmart.

My opinion here is: brand doesn't matter so much.  By that I mean, you balance the cost of the battery with the warranty that comes with it.  I would not buy a cheap no-name battery with a 12 month warranty.  But I've regularly bought Die Hard/CostCo/Sams Club/Walmart batteries with 5 year warranties.  I usually go with whatever is cheaper that day.  You're sort of buying an insurance policy (the warranty)...  As long as they are going to be around in 4 years if the battery fails early... you are okay.

I live in a very hot area, so in my case I am careful not buy the maintenance free batteries.  From my understanding, the difference between maintenance and no-maintenance is the ability to add distilled water.  The sealed batteries I've had seem just as likely to NEED water added at some point -- there just isn't a way to add it.  The brutal summers here have a tendency to zap the batteries of water over time.

Say you get a battery from Walmart and end up having it discharge similarly because of a situation like mine where I let it sit out for a long time. Will Walmart accept the warranty return/exchange no questions asked? Or will they scrutinize and try to determine the cause of the "failure" and reject the exchange if they find out it was discharged due to sitting around for so long? It sounds like that's the case with O'reilly and other auto stores but maybe not so much with places like Walmart... then again, I'm just assuming and have no idea since I've never actually done a warranty exchange/return on previous car batteries (I actually didn't realize you could even do that until recently LOL)

Good pointer on maintenance free batteries - I think I'll avoid those. Being able to top off vented batteries seems like a better option to have. Although, I'm always scared of burning my hands and face off :O
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 01:09:40 PM by jplee3 »

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2015, 01:51:20 PM »
Cool, we're at 75% now on the charge. Guess it'll take probably another full day or maybe less to reach 100% - I just hope that after I drive it around, it's not going to completely crap out on me... so Sears/Motorcraft is a good brand to go with? Or should I get one from Costco? I didn't realize Costco sold car batteries. Last one I got for our Rav4 was from Walmart.

My opinion here is: brand doesn't matter so much.  By that I mean, you balance the cost of the battery with the warranty that comes with it.  I would not buy a cheap no-name battery with a 12 month warranty.  But I've regularly bought Die Hard/CostCo/Sams Club/Walmart batteries with 5 year warranties.  I usually go with whatever is cheaper that day.  You're sort of buying an insurance policy (the warranty)...  As long as they are going to be around in 4 years if the battery fails early... you are okay.

I live in a very hot area, so in my case I am careful not buy the maintenance free batteries.  From my understanding, the difference between maintenance and no-maintenance is the ability to add distilled water.  The sealed batteries I've had seem just as likely to NEED water added at some point -- there just isn't a way to add it.  The brutal summers here have a tendency to zap the batteries of water over time.

Say you get a battery from Walmart and end up having it discharge similarly because of a situation like mine where I let it sit out for a long time. Will Walmart accept the warranty return/exchange no questions asked? Or will they scrutinize and try to determine the cause of the "failure" and reject the exchange if they find out it was discharged due to sitting around for so long? It sounds like that's the case with O'reilly and other auto stores but maybe not so much with places like Walmart... then again, I'm just assuming and have no idea since I've never actually done a warranty exchange/return on previous car batteries (I actually didn't realize you could even do that until recently LOL)

Good pointer on maintenance free batteries - I think I'll avoid those. Being able to top off vented batteries seems like a better option to have. Although, I'm always scared of burning my hands and face off :O

I can only speak for my experiences...  but I have never had anyone (Walmart, Sears, Costco, etc) do anything more than compute the "remaining value" of the battery and give me credit for it.

I have a very old car that I don't drive much.  It has a bit of a "leak".  By that I mean, there is something somewhere that will draw just a tiny bit of amperage.  If it sits a month, it will drain it.  The right thing to do would be track it down and fix it.  But what I did years ago was just put a battery cut off switch in line and I started using boat batteries.  I've had that car since 1983.  And before the cut off switch/deep cycle batteries, I would generally get 2-3 years out of a 5 year battery.  In all those years, no one ever bothered to do anything other than say "yep, won't hold a charge" and give me partial credit towards the next one.  Now: as soon as I say that, someone will chime in and say they've had a totally different experience.... so... YMMV.

And don't worry about burning yourself.  You are just adding a couple of tablespoons of distilled water every now and then.  You're not pouring acid in there.

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2015, 05:11:44 PM »
Cool, we're at 75% now on the charge. Guess it'll take probably another full day or maybe less to reach 100% - I just hope that after I drive it around, it's not going to completely crap out on me... so Sears/Motorcraft is a good brand to go with? Or should I get one from Costco? I didn't realize Costco sold car batteries. Last one I got for our Rav4 was from Walmart.

My opinion here is: brand doesn't matter so much.  By that I mean, you balance the cost of the battery with the warranty that comes with it.  I would not buy a cheap no-name battery with a 12 month warranty.  But I've regularly bought Die Hard/CostCo/Sams Club/Walmart batteries with 5 year warranties.  I usually go with whatever is cheaper that day.  You're sort of buying an insurance policy (the warranty)...  As long as they are going to be around in 4 years if the battery fails early... you are okay.

I live in a very hot area, so in my case I am careful not buy the maintenance free batteries.  From my understanding, the difference between maintenance and no-maintenance is the ability to add distilled water.  The sealed batteries I've had seem just as likely to NEED water added at some point -- there just isn't a way to add it.  The brutal summers here have a tendency to zap the batteries of water over time.

Say you get a battery from Walmart and end up having it discharge similarly because of a situation like mine where I let it sit out for a long time. Will Walmart accept the warranty return/exchange no questions asked? Or will they scrutinize and try to determine the cause of the "failure" and reject the exchange if they find out it was discharged due to sitting around for so long? It sounds like that's the case with O'reilly and other auto stores but maybe not so much with places like Walmart... then again, I'm just assuming and have no idea since I've never actually done a warranty exchange/return on previous car batteries (I actually didn't realize you could even do that until recently LOL)

Good pointer on maintenance free batteries - I think I'll avoid those. Being able to top off vented batteries seems like a better option to have. Although, I'm always scared of burning my hands and face off :O

My DieHard battery is "maintenance free" but you can still pop off the two covers on the top of the battery.  Each cover fits into the holes for 3 cells.  I've added distilled water but very infrequently.  Some maintenance free batteries are completely sealed (except vent) though.

From what you said about warranty you should get full replacement within the first 3 years and between 3-8 years they prorate.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2015, 06:20:59 PM »

My DieHard battery is "maintenance free" but you can still pop off the two covers on the top of the battery.  Each cover fits into the holes for 3 cells.  I've added distilled water but very infrequently.  Some maintenance free batteries are completely sealed (except vent) though.


Bolded part is what I'm calling maintenance free.   

a1smith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: 44 15.478N, 082 50.088W
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2015, 06:50:06 PM »

My DieHard battery is "maintenance free" but you can still pop off the two covers on the top of the battery.  Each cover fits into the holes for 3 cells.  I've added distilled water but very infrequently.  Some maintenance free batteries are completely sealed (except vent) though.


Bolded part is what I'm calling maintenance free.

Maybe they should call them maintenance proof.  :-D

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2819
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Car Battery questions - is it dead?
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2015, 10:34:32 PM »
So it was still blinking/charging at the 100% mark but I decided I'd try giving the car a spin. It started up no problem at all! I took it around the community a couple times and ran the radio a bit as well as tested the windows, wipers, some lights, etc. Everything seemed to be fine.

After parking and plugging it back into the charger, I noticed the charge level was back down to 50%...! Is that normal? I looked at the voltage and it was showing up at 13.07v. Before driving it around while it was charging on 100%, I noticed the voltage was above 14v. I'm a bit worried at whether or not the battery will drain enough (to where the car can't start) if I were to take it into work tomorrow. Ugh, it's really hard waiting for it to finish charging because it's *so* close yet so much uncertainty... and the charging seems to take forever on it. I guess I'm in a better spot than I was a week ago though.

EDIT: nevermind about it staying at 50%. I just checked again (5-10mins later) and it's back on the 100% mark blinking, so I guess it just took a few minutes before getting a proper reading. So I guess it's fine. I just hope nothing else is going on with the car (e.g. the alternator dying out, etc)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 10:43:15 PM by jplee3 »