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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Battery Died After 1.5 Years

This is actually in my mom's 2006 Impala. Why would a battery die so soon? The one she just installed is now her third. No extreme weather conditions (San Diego), alternator and starter tested fine. I just had AAA install a new battery instead of having her go back to pep Boys, where she got the one that just died. I know it had a warranty but she didn't want to deal with it. AAA was here in 1/2 hr and gone within an hour with the new battery installed for $100. Not bad.
I think maybe her car is drawing power from somewhere?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 10:23 PM
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Did you check the terminals, cables, grounds, fuses, etc? When you load tested the battery, what voltage did you read?

I would think that either the alternator isn't doing its job or like you said, there's parasitic drag somewhere. Then again, I would think that a mystery power draw would kill the battery a lot faster than a year and a half. Are these batteries decent quality?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 11:07 PM
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How do you know it died?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 10:36 AM
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You need to check for a draw causing it to die. If you are going through multiple batteries it's most likely the car causing it, not the battery.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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The battery voltage was 1.70. AAA tested the alternator and starter and they are fine. He checked whatever he could but I would need to bring it in to have them check more thoroughly.
The battery was Interstate bought from Pep Boys and AAA looked for a production date but couldn't find one.
The replacement is also an Interstate with a 6 year warranty, 3 year replacement warranty
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 08:19 PM
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Check your belt tension to make sure the alternator pulley is engaging properly. If it's not the battery or alternator, check for other causes by doing voltage drop tests on different circuits. Google is your friend here, just search "voltage drop tests on cars."

If you have a multimeter you can check for increased resistance on both the positive and negative sides of the system. This would tell you if there's a physical problem somewhere else in the circuit like loose/bad grounds, corrosion, damaged cables, etc.

Voltage drop test on the alternator:

Pull out your multimeter and set it to DC Voltage.

For negative drop: take the positive lead of your meter and touch the negative battery terminal. Then take the negative lead of the meter and touch it to the alternator case. Create a load on the system by turning on your headlamps, blower, radio, and wiper. Open the throttle so the engine is at 1500-2000 RPM. If your meter reads greater than .2V, you've got a problem on the negative side of the system.

For the positive drop, touch the positive lead of your meter to the positive output of the alternator and the negative lead to your positive battery terminal. If you read greater than .2V then that signals an issue on the positive side of the system.

Someone with more knowledge of this stuff will hopefully chime in, but hopefully this is a good start.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 08:33 PM
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 09:23 PM
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The way a car is driven can differentiate how long the battery will last too,if your mom only drives very short distances 2 or 3 times a day,or it sits a day or two and then gets driven to the corner store.......well that will most definitely wear down a battery faster. the battery needs fully charged every time you drive your car,thats one reason they say short trips are hard on cars.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have her mechanic check all those things.
She does drive short trips, mostly 5 minutes, maybe 10. That could also be the issue
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 05:09 PM
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short trips are a major cause of dead batteries.
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