Author Topic: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues  (Read 1684 times)

mitchm

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car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« on: April 23, 2020, 01:16:03 PM »
Update:

Hi all,

Just wanted to come back and report on my progress:

I ordered a replacement BCM and successfully installed it! Unfortunately, it didn't fix anything except that the key fob now works 0% of the time instead of about 50%. Air conditioner also seems to run better/blow stronger but that may just be in my head. Anyhow, perhaps you could say a waste of $25 but it was actually kind of a fun learning experience and in a strange sort of way, well worth it.

More importantly, it made me realize how much mass-produced vehicles are held together by plastic and a few Phillips heads screws (on the interior at least) and got me thinking about other DIY fixes I could try. Flash forward to yesterday and I'm at the pick-n-pull. Pulled a master window switch out of a junked elantra ($15), swapped it out with the old one just now, and lo and behold all of the windows work now!

Front passenger side window still won't go down from the passenger side (have to put it down from the driver's side master switch) but at least I know it is not the motor and I can easily replace that switch too if I am so inclined.

Also haven't had anymore issues with the battery so thinking those 2 dead batteries in a row might have just been a fluke/been the result of a dome light left on, or something.

Anyhow, thanks all again for the tips. You've saved me lots of money and helped me learn some new skills!

Hi all, Hoping to inject some mustachian thinking into the conundrum I'm currently facing; sorry in advance for the long post...here goes:

I'd been living car-free for the last few years and not minding it; about 6 months I bought a friend's beat up 2009 Elantra with 113k miles on it for 2350 (clean title but car is definitely a beater). I've enjoyed having wheels more than anticipated and am also using it for work mileage at 58 cents a mile, which means some months it actually generates income!

Fast forward about 6 months and it is now clear that it has some kind of electrical issues. Some of the symptoms:
-Can put rear windows down from driver's side door but can only put them back up via switches in back seats.
-Battery has gone dead for ostensibly no reason twice in last few weeks (<1 year old battery). Easily revived with my battery powered jumper cable set.
-key fob works half the time and other times when I lock the door with the interior switch and close the door, it automatically unlocks (very weird). only way to lock it in those cases is manually with key in door.
-Front Passenger window wont go down or up at all...completely dead.
-As of last week, the Metromile device that tracks my mileage for pay-by-the-mile insurance is not recording any mileage (not sure if this is related or not).

I have checked and as far as I can tell, there are no blown fuses. Reputable Mechanic recommended to me wants $175 just to assess the electrical issued...even before any repairs. Car has no known mechanical/other issues except it needs a brake job which I'm happy to pay for; I love that since it is in bad shape cosmetically I dont have to worry about dents etc. I could literally care less about cars, I just want something for Point A to Point B situations. I unfortunately have no skills re: cars so DIY not really an option unfortunately.

Anyone have any thoughts on how to proceed? Here are the options I'm thinking of:

Option A: Do nothing and use my battery powered jump starter when necessary. Assuming this will work indefinitely and issue wont worsen to point where car wont operate, but I actually have no idea if that is likely or not.

Option B: Pay $175 for assessment/inspection and hope the fixes required don't cost much more. Perhaps determine a maximum "ceiling" I am willing to spend to fix it. Thinking maybe $600-700? Is that crazy for a $2350 car?

Option C: Sell it for whatever I can get and buy something else reliable for as little as possible...wouldn't want to spend more than 4-5k.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/thoughts!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 07:33:39 PM by mitchm »

JLee

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2020, 01:21:14 PM »
Regarding the battery issue, I would start by cleaning your battery terminals and making sure they are tight.  That's something anyone can do - you can use something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-BAF-BI-Terminal-Cleaning-Brush/dp/B0060YHP62/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=battery+terminal+cleaner&qid=1587669625&sr=8-4 and a basic wrench set to remove/replace the terminals. Just make sure to not short anything out while doing it (touching a wrench across both battery terminals, or from the positive terminal to anything else is bad).

six-car-habit

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2020, 10:22:00 PM »
 Perhaps spend the money to have the battery drain fixed, if its not cables / connections.  You don't need all the windows to work. Sounds like the drivers side still works, be happy with that.  People drove cars for 80+ years before a remote locking device became commonplace - use the physical key.
  Ask the insurance company for a new data logger "metromile" device, return the questionable one.  Option B, retain the car and mileage reimbursement. Save $$ towards a newer car over time.

Dave1442397

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2020, 06:05:17 AM »
Check all your ground wires. If one or more of them have come loose, it could cause all kinds of electrical issues.

chemistk

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2020, 06:07:32 AM »
I always recommend taking some time to visit forums related to specific vehicles, because there's usually a wealth of information and other folks who have had similar issues that can give advice and direction.

In your case, digging for ~10 minutes, I found this thread in an Elantra Forum (there are a few, surprisingly...):

https://www.hyundai-forums.com/threads/2007-hyundai-elantra-electrical-conundrum.664243/

The owner is/was having a lot of the same issues you're listing and for him, it turns out that the BCM (Body Control Module [The computer that handles all the non-engine related electronics]) was faulty.

Given the problems you've listed, a faulty BCM sounds like a very likely culprit.

Good news for you, assuming this is indeed your issue and preferably verified by a mechanic, is that a brand new off-the-shelf BCM is under $300:

https://www.hyundaipartsdeal.com/genuine/hyundai-module-assy-body-con~95400-2h100.html


Even better news, is that you can snag a used one off eBay for under $40:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=+95400-2H100&_sacat=0

At that price, I'd just order it anyway and either try the DIY swap or have the mechanic do it (good opportunity to learn how easy brakes are IMO).

It's possible that there are other issues - bad fuse, faulty harness wiring, or a whole host of other things. Electrical issues suck because you can't 'see' what's going wrong.

Good Luck!

Ecky

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2020, 07:02:45 AM »
Great advice from chemistk! I was going to advise checking out brand or model-specific forums as well.

How handy are you with a meter? Many things can be isolated if you're willing to put some time into poking around with a volt meter.

As for miles, in my mind 113k is still barely broken in. Between the three cars in my driveway I have nearly 800,000, and all are still highly reliable.

Cadman

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2020, 10:09:56 AM »
Just a heads-up that the battery discharging and jumping is very hard on your electrical system and puts undue strain on your alternator. Automotive batteries also aren't designed for deep discharges, so it's easy to kill a new-ish battery with a quiescent drain like this.

If I were in your shoes, and the BCM swap doesn't solve your issue, get a battery disconnect switch that mounts on the battery <$10 and just leave it open when you're parked. Easy-peasy.

mitchm

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2020, 12:24:53 PM »
Wow, even more great advice than I expected to receive. Thanks all!

Just ordered a used BCM from ebay and the video actually makes it look easy enough for me to attempt myself, perhaps with the help of a slightly more savvy friend just in case. Will try that and also clean the battery terminals as recommended.

When I mentioned I'm not handy at all, I mean it. I can use simple tools/follow basic instructions, etc. but I don't even know what ground wires and/or a voltmeter are! Gotta start somehow there, I suppose. Just would prefer to start somewhere that doesn't involve the possibility of electrocution/other grave injury :)

Anyhow, thanks again all. I knew this was the best place to come to work through this issue!

chemistk

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2020, 12:43:22 PM »
Wow, even more great advice than I expected to receive. Thanks all!

Just ordered a used BCM from ebay and the video actually makes it look easy enough for me to attempt myself, perhaps with the help of a slightly more savvy friend just in case. Will try that and also clean the battery terminals as recommended.

When I mentioned I'm not handy at all, I mean it. I can use simple tools/follow basic instructions, etc. but I don't even know what ground wires and/or a voltmeter are! Gotta start somehow there, I suppose. Just would prefer to start somewhere that doesn't involve the possibility of electrocution/other grave injury :)

Anyhow, thanks again all. I knew this was the best place to come to work through this issue!

Good luck! Remember to take your time and to allow yourself the flexibility of throwing in the towel if it becomes too much. Sometimes an hours' worth of a knowledgeable professional's time is absolutely worth it.

One thing I saw mentioned is that the key fobs will likely have to be reprogrammed to the new BCM, which is something you'll want to look into and decide how to handle that.

mitchm

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2020, 11:43:44 AM »
Yep, saw that too. Will probably ask the mechanic how much that would cost just out of curiosity, but don't have any problem just using the key.

Wow, even more great advice than I expected to receive. Thanks all!

Just ordered a used BCM from ebay and the video actually makes it look easy enough for me to attempt myself, perhaps with the help of a slightly more savvy friend just in case. Will try that and also clean the battery terminals as recommended.

When I mentioned I'm not handy at all, I mean it. I can use simple tools/follow basic instructions, etc. but I don't even know what ground wires and/or a voltmeter are! Gotta start somehow there, I suppose. Just would prefer to start somewhere that doesn't involve the possibility of electrocution/other grave injury :)

Anyhow, thanks again all. I knew this was the best place to come to work through this issue!

Good luck! Remember to take your time and to allow yourself the flexibility of throwing in the towel if it becomes too much. Sometimes an hours' worth of a knowledgeable professional's time is absolutely worth it.

One thing I saw mentioned is that the key fobs will likely have to be reprogrammed to the new BCM, which is something you'll want to look into and decide how to handle that.

ChpBstrd

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2020, 09:55:32 PM »
It's also possible the short that is draining the battery and causing other issues is in the power windows. E.g. the hot wire to your switches has a hole rubbed in it that connects it to the car's body. If the BCM swap doesn't fix things, consider disconnecting the driver's side and front passenger's side power windows completely for a few weeks to see if the battery drain still occurs. You could probably accomplish this just by pulling the fuse for these "accessories" rather than disassembling door panels. See owner's manual or fuse box label.

Last, note that some auto parts stores such as Auto Zone will check your battery for free. You can't assume it is good. I once threw a couple hundred dollars at a no-spark problem, only to find that the spark plug of all things had gone bad. Check the simple/free things first!

Model96

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2020, 05:49:58 AM »
Hi all, Hoping to inject some mustachian thinking into the conundrum I'm currently facing; sorry in advance for the long post...here goes:

I'd been living car-free for the last few years and not minding it; about 6 months I bought a friend's beat up 2009 Elantra with 113k miles on it for 2350 (clean title but car is definitely a beater). I've enjoyed having wheels more than anticipated and am also using it for work mileage at 58 cents a mile, which means some months it actually generates income!

Fast forward about 6 months and it is now clear that it has some kind of electrical issues. Some of the symptoms:
-Can put rear windows down from driver's side door but can only put them back up via switches in back seats.The Master switch in the driver's door need s replacing, or the contacts inside to be cleaned
-Battery has gone dead for ostensibly no reason twice in last few weeks (<1 year old battery). Easily revived with my battery powered jumper cable set. Check that the interior light or trunk light is switching off when the doors are closed/ locked, this can drain the battery
-key fob works half the time and other times when I lock the door with the interior switch and close the door, it automatically unlocks (very weird). only way to lock it in those cases is manually with key in door. Stop trying to lock it with the interior switch, just use the fob. It may be a safety system to stop kids locking themselves in the car.
-Front Passenger window wont go down or up at all...completely dead.Likely a blown electric motor mechanism. Cheap to buy a new copy unit
-As of last week, the Metromile device that tracks my mileage for pay-by-the-mile insurance is not recording any mileage (not sure if this is related or not).

I have checked and as far as I can tell, there are no blown fuses. Reputable Mechanic recommended to me wants $175 just to assess the electrical issued...even before any repairs. Car has no known mechanical/other issues except it needs a brake job which I'm happy to pay for; I love that since it is in bad shape cosmetically I dont have to worry about dents etc. I could literally care less about cars, I just want something for Point A to Point B situations. I unfortunately have no skills re: cars so DIY not really an option unfortunately.

Anyone have any thoughts on how to proceed? Here are the options I'm thinking of:

Option A: Do nothing and use my battery powered jump starter when necessary. Assuming this will work indefinitely and issue wont worsen to point where car wont operate, but I actually have no idea if that is likely or not.

Option B: Pay $175 for assessment/inspection and hope the fixes required don't cost much more. Perhaps determine a maximum "ceiling" I am willing to spend to fix it. Thinking maybe $600-700? Is that crazy for a $2350 car?

Option C: Sell it for whatever I can get and buy something else reliable for as little as possible...wouldn't want to spend more than 4-5k.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/thoughts!

I've made some mechanic comments in blue on your post, the one that may be hard to pin down is the battery going flat without being able to look and check what is draining it. Personally I wouldn't have bought the BCM until a mechanic had checked over the car....

Edited to add...your locking and flat battery problem may possibly be related to a faulty dome light and door light switch that senses if one of the doors is open. Hyundai cars often have problems with one of these switches, which makes the car think a door is open even though it's not, and it leaves the light in the door on and stops you locking the car doors with the fob. The light being on will drain the battery slowly...
Cheers, Paul.S
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 06:12:35 AM by Model96 »

Car Jack

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2020, 06:32:34 AM »
Buy a battery disconnect switch.  You then connect this with a short, heavy cable to the battery and the rest of the car to the other side of the switch.  When you shut off the car, turn this off.  Repeated draining of the battery to the point it won't start will kill the battery.  Then you'll buy a new one and it will be killed.  No, batteries do not survive deep discharge and jumps for long.

If you could do this work yourself, you'd have done the tracking of the current draw and the other problems already.  Since you came here and asked, I will assume you can't and will end up paying a mechanic thousands of dollars for diagnosis and replacement of parts and fixing stripped wire insulation.  And then you still have a POS car that has working windows.

If you can't live with non-working windows or power locks, then you should just sell the car.  The beauty of a cheap POS car is that you don't care if there's no power anything and you have to switch off the battery every time you shut off the car and maybe the ac doesn't work and you need to bypass the headlights and fuel pump with hard wired switches.  I've done all that with a POS car and it got me from point A to point B until I no longer needed the car. 

mitchm

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2020, 07:32:58 PM »
Hi all,

Just wanted to come back and report on my progress:

I ordered a replacement BCM and successfully installed it! Unfortunately, it didn't fix anything except that the key fob now works 0% of the time instead of about 50%. Air conditioner also seems to run better/blow stronger but that may just be in my head. Anyhow, perhaps you could say a waste of $25 but it was actually kind of a fun learning experience and in a strange sort of way, well worth it.

More importantly, it made me realize how much mass-produced vehicles are held together by plastic and a few Phillips heads screws (on the interior at least) and got me thinking about other DIY fixes I could try. Flash forward to yesterday and I'm at the pick-n-pull. Pulled a master window switch out of a junked elantra ($15), swapped it out with the old one just now, and lo and behold all of the windows work now!

Front passenger side window still won't go down from the passenger side (have to put it down from the driver's side master switch) but at least I know it is not the motor and I can easily replace that switch too if I am so inclined.

Also haven't had anymore issues with the battery so thinking those 2 dead batteries in a row might have just been a fluke/been the result of a dome light left on, or something. 

Anyhow, thanks all again for the tips. You've saved me lots of money and helped me learn some new skills!

ChpBstrd

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2020, 08:19:57 PM »
Woo hoo! It was the power door switch like I thought. Apparently it is possible for a switch to fail in a way that creates a short.

As weird as it is, I guessed this because I had just diagnosed a similar problem with a Taiwanese 50cc scooter that had been crashed and the left switch assembly was cracked but still appeared to work. Replacement of the switch assembly instantly resolved a battery drain issue (after I had replaced everything else of course!).

Moral of the story is to replace the known broken parts before doing further diagnostics. I wonder if you reinstalled your old BCM if the key fob would work all the time now?

mitchm

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2020, 10:39:40 PM »
Woo hoo! It was the power door switch like I thought. Apparently it is possible for a switch to fail in a way that creates a short.

As weird as it is, I guessed this because I had just diagnosed a similar problem with a Taiwanese 50cc scooter that had been crashed and the left switch assembly was cracked but still appeared to work. Replacement of the switch assembly instantly resolved a battery drain issue (after I had replaced everything else of course!).

Moral of the story is to replace the known broken parts before doing further diagnostics. I wonder if you reinstalled your old BCM if the key fob would work all the time now?

Was wondering about that actually. Will try it later this week and report back!

Ecky

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Re: car advice: high mileage elantra with electrical issues
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2020, 02:22:54 PM »
Congrats! For someone who claims to not be handy, this seems like huge progress. Very few people I know would attempt to replace a window switch.