January 15, 2005

I may as well be living in Alaska

It's back into the freezer again, after a warm spell just long enough to cause massive flooding. I suspect that the older I get, the less tolerant of the cold I become. It was 19° last night and one of my clerks ran out to her car without even a sweater, while I was wearing my long wool coat, scarf, hat, gloves, and still shivering! In a little bit I'm going to bundle up and attach my brother-in-law's battery charger to my car so it'll start. Something is draining the battery overnight, and I couldn't get an appointment with my mechanic until next Thursday. Sigh. It's always sumthin'....

Posted by Susie at January 15, 2005 11:38 AM

I'm no mechanic or anything, but you probably don't even need your mechanic. Take it to your local "Advance Autoparts" or "Pep Boys" and they'll do a free diagnostic on your battery to see if it's keeping a charge. It it's not then you know where your problem lies and they'll replace it for you. (50-120$ depending on the battery)

If it's not the battery then bring it to your mechanic next Thursday. (I'd be guessing the alternator.) No sense waiting around for him.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Jeremy at January 15, 2005 02:35 PM

I would check the voltage regulator too. Sometimes, when that will go bad it ruins the alternator as well though. But if it's just the regulator, that's a much less expensive repair.

However, if the battery is being charged, but it won't start after sitting over night, check for a small power drain. Like the dome light not shutting off, or something like that. It could even be your trunk light. Even a very small drain over a whole night can easily kill a battery.

Posted by: GEBIV at January 15, 2005 04:22 PM

I had a similar problem once it turned out to be that the belt for the alternator was worn so when I drove at night the battery drained. I was using more power than I was generating.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at January 15, 2005 05:24 PM

Good advice above. Check your belts and lights, test the battery, if not it's probably the alternator or voltage regulator, and sometimes they're in the same housing so if you replace one you have to do both.

Posted by: Ted at January 16, 2005 04:42 PM