Bizarre Car Battery Issue - Input Wanted

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by khardbored, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. khardbored

    khardbored Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2012
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    Bizarre Car Battery Issue - Input Wanted

    Yesterday, I drove a short distance from my house to a gas station. Went in, paid, came back out, car would not start. There was no "reving," just 2-3 "clicks" then nothing. Turned the key several times (at least 7-10 times), no response of any kind. It was totally dead. Radio would not come on. Interior lights would not come on. Dashboard lights would not come on.

    Assuming I had a dead battery, I called my dad to come with his car (not too far away) for a jump start. While waiting for him to come, I figured I may as well get the jumper cables ready to go. Popped the hood, and when I clamped the red cable onto the positive battery post, the car radio started (bear in mind, the other end of the jumper cables were hooked up to nothing). So I turned on the interior lights, they came on!

    I turned the key, and the car started!

    How did my car magically start? And, what is wrong with the car and what can I do to prevent this from happening again?

    (If it matters, it's a Buick about 10 years old.)
     
  2. Jonyrose

    Jonyrose Member

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    I had a battery cable in college that was cracked, when it was cold, the load on the cable was enough to open the crack and cause the issues you describe and could be fixed by wiggling the battery or canle
     
  3. CyCrazy

    CyCrazy Well-Known Member

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    Battery cable is lose, broke or cracked somewhere.
     
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  4. arobb

    arobb Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked/cleaned the battery terminals? A poor connection can cause some weird issues.
     
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  5. cycloner29

    cycloner29 Well-Known Member

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    Did the security light flash at all when you turned the key on? Had that happen and it ended up being a broken wire in the steering column.
     
  6. ImJustKCClone

    ImJustKCClone Well-Known Member
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    Yup - clean the posts with a wire brush (they even make a special tool for that) and make sure the cables aren't damaged.
     
  7. Cycsk

    Cycsk Well-Known Member
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    I had a similar problem a few weeks ago. When I would try to start my truck, I would get something like you describe. Jumping it didn't work. When the auto club came, they could start it. Turns out it was the battery going bad. Thus, even though it started, I would advise you to get your battery tested.
     
  8. urb1

    urb1 Well-Known Member

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    I had the same thing happen. Had the battery tested. It was fine. After several episodes, I took it to the shop. They had it a day and called to say they tried it several times throughout the day and it started every time.

    I went to pick it up, and nothing. Mechanic came out it said it was my starter. If it wasn't in the right position, it wouldn't start. Put in a new starter. Problem solved.
     
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  9. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    Probably cable, but how old is your battery? If you are up in that 4-5 year area, throw a new one in when you clean stuff up.
     
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  10. brianhos

    brianhos Moderator
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    If it has been a few years, get a new battery and maybe cables.
     
  11. jdcyclone19

    jdcyclone19 Well-Known Member

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    Clean the battery terminals.
    Trace the battery cables to where they mount to the frame or starter/alternator. Unbolt them and clean the connection.

    If it keeps happening, your starter may be starting to go out.
     
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  12. Clonehomer

    Clonehomer Well-Known Member

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    Had the same thing. Randomly would click once and everything went dead. Open the hood, jiggle the wires and it would start. Turned out the negative terminal was corroded. Replaced that and all is fine now.
     
  13. RVD4

    RVD4 Member

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  14. cdekovic

    cdekovic Well-Known Member

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    Did you at least buy your dad a six pack or a cup of coffee?
     
  15. cyclones500

    cyclones500 Well-Known Member

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    Good suggestions so far for trouble-shooting.

    If there is corrosion build-up on a terminal, mix hot water and baking soda, pour it onto the terminal, most of the crud will dissolve, it could improve eclectrical-flow.
     
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  16. BoxsterCy

    BoxsterCy Well-Known Member

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    #16 BoxsterCy, Apr 28, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    I was going to go with an electromagnetic pulse from a North Korean nuclear bomb blast but the cracked cables explanation also seems reasonable. :rolleyes:
     
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  17. CascadeClone

    CascadeClone Well-Known Member

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    Agree with comments on bad post connections, cable loose or broken, etc.

    Clean your posts with wire brush, cover with PJ, AND make sure to have a tight connection. Had one once where the band around the post wasn't tight, and it must have been sparking, because it ate away at the post until it was partially disintegrated. They do make a post cover thing (like a thimble) that you can put over the post if that helps get a tighter connection with the cable.
     
  18. Brandon

    Brandon Well-Known Member

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    It's a bad connection.
     
  19. Cycsk

    Cycsk Well-Known Member
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    Is the battery 10 years old? If so, it probably needs to be replaced.
     
  20. nfrine

    nfrine Well-Known Member

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    You can replace the battery? I thought the OP should buy a new car.

    :rolleyes:
     
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