battery?

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Hi, I have a 1995 Geo Prizm manual, not sure what size engine. Bought it used a year ago from a mechanic who reconstructed it after it was cosmetically totaled, and have had no problems until the other day when it wouldn't start. I had driven it the day before and had not left any lights on so the battery should have been fine. It didn't even attempt to turn over, but the dash lights came on with each attempt. I jumped it off my roommate's car, drove it around for 40 minutes to recharge the battery, and parked. Next morning, same thing. I assumed it needed a new battery (don't know how old it is) so I took it to Sears where they tested the battery and the current. They said that both were fine, so wanted to tell me that the problem was the starter. Thing is, the guy testing the starter (he disconnected the engine and turned the car over a few times after connecting a machine to it) couldn't get the test results to register--it kept saying "invalid." He then wants to replace the starter because I told him when I tried to start it earlier, it made a single "click" before not turning--not because he actually knew what the problem was (he also didn't know why he couldn't get the test results to register but still wants to replace the starter). I asked him why the car would start when we jumped it if the current and battery were fine and he didn't know but said that jumping the car wouldn't help and all I had to do was continue to try to get the car to turn over. I left w/out having any work done b/c they didn't have the part there, and now the car is fine--not acting up at all. Could it be the solenoid? Please advise!

posted by  greenae

If it makes a single click, chances are it's your Starter Motor. I've no idea why it wouldn't register though...It could just be a loose connection on the starter though, so I recomend you have it checked properly! :thumbs:

posted by  Cliffy

try cleaning the connections, put some copper grease on them to stop them corroding.tighten it all up and see what happens, could be your ecu acting up, but unless you can find a secnd hand one then thats an expensive part.

posted by  cinqyg

My guess is the guy doing the testing didn't know how to use the equipment properly as some of his suggestions and proposals seemed inappropriate.

I'm with cunqyg on this one it has all the symptoms of a bad connection. Disconnect the battery and then remove the wires and clean connections the reconnect the wires with copper grease on:
Starter
Alternator
Solenoid
Battery terminals (both).

If it still drains the battery then with everything switched off remove each fuse in turn and use a multimeter set to the appropriate amps rage (The value of the fuse removed) in place of the fuse to look for a drain on one of the circuits. If anything is drawing more than microamps or less there's a problem.

posted by  HighWayMan

highwayman and cinqyg are probably on the track.

If you think you have a short, I always do the similar tests as highwayman but lift the negative battery cable from the terminal and use a touch light between the battery and cable.

If a short is noted and cant find it though the fuse box, it could be in the starter solenoid or alterantor internals

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Like the others guys said; check cable connections (both *ve and ground straps), but for my money it's battery. A stab test and hydrometer will soon tell you. Jumpers just add that little extra current to get it going. Have your alterantor tested for a crook diode.

posted by  Wally

If the battery is a sealed one, a load test by a garage, parts store or electrical shop, is appropriate

posted by  tbaxleyjr

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