Author Topic: Car Trouble  (Read 13933 times)

Offline Griffin (OP)

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Car Trouble
« on: December 28, 2015, 10:41:12 PM »
I know next to nothing about cars, I have a 97 honda accord with about 120,000 miles on it. 4 weeks ago it stopped starting, the battery was dead, my breathalyzer would say power weak, before it stopped working. My lights and radio wasn't working either, I thought it might be because the light on the driver side door will occasionally come on because it thinks my door is open when its not I thought it might of stayed on a few days killing the battery. I replaced the battery 4 weeks ago and it immediately started and was working perfectly until 2 days ago.

Before I replaced the battery it would start when I jump started it, and I drove around for about 45 minutes to revive the battery. A few days later it stopped working again and that was when I replaced the battery. On christmas I got in my car to start it and it was completely dead, I couldn't even unlock the doors with the key fob. When it first started happening was when we got our firsts big snow, and on christmas it was snowing too and it has been really cold since then as well.

In Feb. of this year I gave my roommate a jump and I didn't close my hood all the way so it didn't latch. When I was driving to work on the highway it flew up and shattered my windshield and messed the hood up because it bent the hood backwards so it will no longer latch. I got 2 metal plates and put 5 screws in my hood and 5 in my car to hold my hood down for a quick fix until I could afford a new hood, which is one of the things I was going to do in oklahoma when I got pulled over and arrested for my dui.

Since the hood doesn't shut all the way, snow and rain can get under it because it is kind of bent up, I will post a picture so you guys know what I am talking about. I thought that might be causing part of the problem because this time and last time when I replaced my battery it was cold and snowing when it happened. I don't know if there is something electrical that might of gotten wet causing it, I know nothing about cars.

Now it wont even start when I jump start it, it doesn't make any noise at all no clicking or trying to turn over or anything like that. I have no idea what is wrong with it, my guesses after searching the web made it sound like it's the alternator or starter. Does anyone have any ideas of what it could be? Does it sound like I need a new alternator? Any Ideas or suggestions are much appreciated, also if anyone knows how much it costs to have your alternator fixed that is good to know if it is the problem. I am beginning to think that I must of been a terrible person in a past life.


If anyone was wondering about when my hood came up and shattered my windshield yes it was extremely scary, it was the second most scariest moment I have ever had driving a car.(the first was when I was driving down from blackhawk which is way up in the mountains and my jeep was messed up and all of the lights and electronics would go out for a few seconds randomly, so it was pitch black driving down a curvy road ontop of a mountain and every now and then my headlights would go out for a few seconds and I couldn't see anything)

When my hood flew up it covered my entire windshield so I couldn't see anything. It broke the braces that hold it up and completely shattered the windshield, I was going 55 and it was in a construction zone at night and their was no shoulder. It was 2 lanes with the cement median divider things on each side of the road. I tried to stop as fast as possible without getting rear ended, i was using my mirrors to see where I was in the lane and I got so close to crashing into the divider that I scratched my passenger side mirror on the cement divider while slowing down.

I was at the bottom of a hill and I was completely stopped in one lane so people driving on the highway couldn't see my car until they were about 40 yards away. I got out with my flashlight and pushed my hood down, but it wouldn't latch because it was bent, I was literally standing on my hood jumping up and down trying to get it to latch with zero luck, I ended up fastening it with zip ties I had in my car on the highway because the next exit wasn't for 1.5 miles. It was ridiculously scary, the type of thing nightmares and the final destination movies are made of.

so the lesson from this story is always make sure your hood latches when you close it because no good deed goes unpunished.

Offline Anti-hero

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 10:45:43 PM »
All I know is cold will effect
A battery
That's all
Scared to death
No reason why
Do one another
To get me by
Think about the things I said
Read the page it's cold and dead

Offline Guts

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 11:11:29 PM »
Check the leads connecting to the battery... maybe they are loose. Used to happen to me if I slammed the door to hard in my old Accord after I changed the battery. I was too lazy to fix it right so I'd just wiggle the wires everything it didn't work. Hopefully it's that simple for you!

Offline rusty puppy

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 11:14:25 PM »
Before you go spend a bunch of
money on a starter or alt. check your cables,
all the way to your starter,they may have corroded.
                                      Good Luck

Offline Thoms

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 11:24:29 PM »
Money is on the alternator. Autozone will check it for free.
Fear and self loathing in thoms.

Offline Guts

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2015, 12:09:55 AM »
If it was the alternator, I'm pretty sure it would still start when given a jump... at least for a little while until the battery dies.

Offline Griffin (OP)

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2015, 03:07:00 AM »
When I hooked up the cables the power came back immediately and my breathalyzer, headlights, and radio were all working. Then same thing happened when I turned the key, it didn't make a sound. I had it hooked up for about 4 minutes but the second I took off the cables after it didn't start all the electronics went dead, it had zero power, I couldn't even use the key fob to lock or unlock it. If that helps any.

When it happened the first time before I replaced the battery it started right up and was good for a few days. After I put the new battery in everything was perfect it would start right up every time. It has been less than a month since I put the new battery in, and it happened both times when it was snowing.

I think the world is actually just shitting on me, and that is the only reason it stops working when it snows. It knows that I will have to walk a mile and sit at a freezing bus stop in the snow, I am beginning to think I was hitler or the guy who killed jesus in a past life. Getting to the clinic is now a bitch, hopefully it decides it wants to work tomorrow, i hope it is a cheap fix, I can't even afford rent how am I supposed to afford a bus pass. I have to pay my insurance no matter what because of the sr-22... fml

Offline Guts

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2015, 04:47:06 AM »
Thoms is probably right then... most likely the alternator. I'm not sure but I think these newer engines are so wired to the electronics that they won't work without a battery. I mean, in the old days with carburetors and stuff, would a car keep running sans radio with a dead alternator when given a jump? If you're willing to try it Griffin, it'd be interesting to see what happens when you let the battery charge a bit longer. An alternator should cost around $100 and I bet labor is probably close to the same just to give you an idea of what it's going to cost.

Edit: We'll actually, if it's not making that chk chk chk sound, wouldn't that indicate the starter isn't working?

Sorry Griffin, I like cars and like to pretend I know what I'm talking about but I don't really know shit... I'll try to do some googling for yah :)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 04:50:29 AM by Guts »

Offline duck

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2015, 10:09:26 AM »
A car with a bad alternator will almost always still start when jumped. 

First thing I would do is to disconnect your battery terminals and clean them thoroughly with a wire brush and some wd40. 

next, make sure you tighten the battery terminals/posts once cleaned really well. I had really strange starting and charging issues not long ago and it is was all because my terminals were dirty/loose. 

if that doesnt fix it take it to OReiileys and have them test the battery. 

If the battery is good then I would suggest having a shop test your starter, which has to be removed to be tested. 


the chk chk chk sound could be from a bad starter or bad battery. 

make sure your shit is real clean and tight and then get back to us.

Offline Griffin (OP)

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2015, 02:45:53 PM »
Okay I will do that today. I got some lube stuff with the battery when I bought it that is used to clean corrosion and acid and protect it, so ill give it a good cleaning and report back. Not having family here sucks! My roommate is the only one I know well enough to ask to jump my car but he is super lazy and I already had him jump it for me twice and drop me off down the road.

His dad is the landlord so I don't want to piss him off or anything being needy. I have lived here since may and that is all I have ever asked him to do and he acts like I am pulling his teeth out. I don't know if he is just joking but there aren't enough places in Denver I can afford to rent so I am going to tread lightly.

 If I was in Oklahoma my friends would have taken my car apart and put it back together twice by now, you can't even hint of needing help or having anything broken or they'll be in your house trying to fix whatever, they are awesome.

I am hoping that it is something super easy because the 30 minute round trip it usually takes for me to get to the clinic took me 3 hours and 45 minutes today. 75 minutes of that was sitting at the bus stop and it is 6 degrees with snow on the ground. If I get my appeal for school approved, I will just have to make it until the end of Feb. and I can have it towed and fixed with some of my student loan money. The world hates me.

Here are some other things that I saw when looking at it today that may or may not be relevant. When I put the new battery in I lifted my hood to high and it cut the tube that my windshield wiper fluid goes through. It is close to the windshield in the corner on the passengers side of the car. It leaked some right there and there is a box of fuses there and also last week the front driver side wheel well cover that is directly above the tire got completely ripped off.

I can see some cables for my driver side headlight through where the plastic wheel well cover was. I don't know if a chunk of snow or ice could of flown up while I was driving and dislodged anything it was working great until christmas, it would start every time no weird noises or anything. Now it has zero power at all, the power came on when i tried to jump off then went away completely the second i took the cables off.

I don't know if my breathalyzer is playing into this as well, obviously it isn't making my car lose all its power and be dead, but maybe it is why when I am jumping it, it wont start. You are supposed to notify them if your battery dies, and you can't unplug it, for whatever reason my lease ended the 12th of this month instead of next month I don't know why.

Before it completely lost all power this time, I would blow in it and when I tried to start my car it would reset, which it is not supposed to do. Then it came back on and said sync and about 30 seconds later it said start car again, then reset, and when it came on the last time it said power weak which is what it did when all of this started happening last month. When I jumped it yesterday when I plugged the cables in, it said device unplugged before it said sync and then turned on and that is the first time I have ever seen that.

I don't know if it is not letting my car start when it has power to be jumped but I would think it would say lock out instead of letting me do everything like normal and after passing the breathalyzer test it has said start car each time. Every time I would try to start it while it was hooked up while jumping it, it would do what it did when it was low on power, it would reset, turn back on, then say sync, and then the 2 minute countdown that says passed-start car would continue.

That is what it was doing when it had almost no power left which makes me wonder if it has something to do with it. It shouldn't of restarted like it lost power when it was hooked up while I was trying to jump it. Is there a way that I did the jump start wrong? All the electronics turned on immediately is there something I could of done wrong, to make it not receive enough power to start up??

 Like I said I know nothing about cars. My roommate jumps cars differently then I was taught, he had me hook the cables on my battery before putting the cables on his and his car was on the whole time. I don't know if that would make any difference but i figured I would point all of it out just in case that has something to do with it not starting this time. Because before I replaced the battery it started right up when we jumped it and i put the cables on his car first that time.

That makes me think that something happened very recently that is causing this and more than likely my alternator isn't recharging my battery, and that is why it died after 4 weeks when I replaced the battery. It was the first time I've ever replaced a battery as well, I watched a youtube video to learn, I know that the postive and negative are hooked up in the right spot. Anyway thank you all for all the advice, help, suggestions, and support. This year fucking sucked and this is the cherry on top to finish it off.

On top of all this I owe my breathalyzer company $120 and my lease ended the 12th instead of the 12th of January. I don't know if they stopped recording on the 12th and I will be forced to pay for an extra month iff the dmv even lets me have it out and gives me my license back. Today is the 4 month mark which is when they are supposed to, but I don't know if the expired tag ticket, the lease ending 2 weeks early, and the hot ba from hand soap is going to make me have to keep it in 5 more months which would suck because it's $100 a month.

The time I failed the breathalyzer and blew hot, I blew zero and passed to start it 5 mins. before, and 2 minutes after blowing hot. I didn't know that you are supposed to air out your car, you also can't eat or drink anything, wash your hands or brush your teeth for 30 minutes before driving and if you work with certain chemicals like I do, you can't have your work clothes in the car and are supposed to roll down your windows while driving occasionally. The dough at my job will make you fail the breathalyzer if you eat it within an hour of doing the breath test.

They made me pay $90 after blowing hot to keep my car from locking out even though I had passed 5 mins before and 2 mins. after. They have a camera in my car pointing at my face so they can see me blow in it.

Plus I have to pay the ticket today or it gets doubled, and the bus now costs $20 more a month and .35 cents more per ride. Plus if I am not driving my car I still have to pay for my sr-22 insurance and can't lose it for any time period for the next 3 years or they will suspend my license.

The bus drove right past me when I was at the bus stop trying to goto the clinic at 530 this morning. It was 6 degrees and the bus stop was well lit, plus I had a phone in each hand waving my arms back and forth yelling and he just drove right past me making me wait 30 minutes.  I wouldn't be surprised if he flipped me off on the way by. Then my next bus left 8 minutes early so I had to wait another 35 minutes outside at that bus stop.

If the don't approve my appeal I might actually break. All I know is it can't really get to much worse, unless they take me to jail.


Offline Opus

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2015, 06:30:17 PM »
Duck is right that when trying to diagnose battery problems, the connections at the battery terminals should be cleaned really well and checked to make sure they're tight and not acting as a bottleneck for the power. Even a bad ground can cause electrical problems. It's a good idea to take the terminal connections off and use a wire brush to clean them off, also it can help to scuff up the terminal posts on the battery itself so's to increase the connection surface once you put the cables back on. Also, make sure the point where the battery ground cable attaches to the block or wherever has a good connection - a bad ground could easily cause all the problems you're having and those connections get corroded over time.

Do you have or know how to use a multimeter? If so, you can check the standing and running voltage of the battery, the voltage coming off the alternator and also for resistance to ground. Multimeters can be found for really cheap, $20 and under. They're a great tool to have and not hard to learn how to use.

Hero is right that cold batteries don't always function that well. Sometimes they'll put out a bit more juice like in the afternoon when shit warms up.

One symptom of an alternator that's not producing enough charging current is to watch the headlights when the car is running in the dark. If you gas it and the lights dim, it means the charging system can't keep up with the ignition, which would typically point to the alternator. Turn on a few accessories if you can when trying this, the point is to pull as much juice from the system as you can and see if you can detect a voltage drop with the engine RPM - if so, your charging system is weak.

Definitely check the cable connections and make sure the ground is connected to a good, clean surface. Again that could easily be your problem right there - you can't charge a battery that isn't grounded.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 06:32:04 PM by Opus »
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Offline Dustybowls

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2015, 08:41:10 PM »
Most likely a bad alternator. Your battery wasn't being charged at all so it's dead now.  A lot of times as starters die they get flat spots and get sticks you can hit it with a wrench or something and it will unstuck it so it will start.  I bet it's your alternator though. 

Offline duck

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2015, 12:25:55 PM »
To those suggesting it's the alternator, why won't it start with a jump?

Offline Thoms

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2015, 02:07:47 PM »
Because you have to have power to spark plugs, if the battery and the alternator are read than the car will run fine on jumper canes. Take the cables off and it dies. Unless I read the ops post wrong.

Truth be told a message board ain't gonna fix your car. You can get all three possibilities tested at an auto part store for free.

Let us know what happens.
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Offline Thoms

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Re: Car Trouble
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2015, 02:10:05 PM »
Oops I must the post above yours duck. My bad. I'd guess because the battery has had the fuck juiced out of it for a month and its fried to. He will need a new alternator and 85% chances a new battery as well.
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