Car problem...is this just the battery?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeAlletto, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    My saturn started acting up the other day, I thought it was just the cold but now its doing it still in the warm. I go to start and it kind of strains then starts up. The engine doesn't make the starting over and over sound when I turn the key and the initial normal sound then quiet then it starts after a few seconds (if that makes any sense). If it sits for awhile, for example overnight, it takes even longer to actually start. I haven't had to turn the key twice to start it but it takes longer and seems like its straining. Could this just be the battery? Once its started its fine, no odd noises or anything. I'm going to call them in the morning and make an appointment but I'm just wondering what you all think?

    I had a dead battery in my old car in college, and its kinda like what this is feeling like, but in my old car I new it was close to dead because I got in one morning and the clock and all the radio stations reset themselves. Hopefully this won't be expensive.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Usually it's one of 3 things:

    Battery going bad (can't hold a charge)
    Starter going bad, no ignition
    Alternator going bad, not charging up the battery.

    I'd go with battery not holding a charge well enough.

    How old is the battery?
     
  3. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    The car is only 2.5 years old 3.5 years old (man, time flies, lost a whole year there). When I had the oil changed last about 3 weeks ago they cleaned the contacts because there was a ton of 'gunk' around the battery contacts and it was running fine then which also makes me suspect the battery...
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I'd be more inclined to think alternator. I had three Saturns over a span of about 13 years and every one of them needed an alternator at some point - the 3.5 year marks sounds about right.

    This is actually not a knock on Saturns. It is mostly a climate and use thing in South Florida. Based on anecdotal evidence, I'd say an alternator replacement is one of the most common car repairs that gets done around here. Almost everyone I know has needed one on almost every car they own for more than three or four years. It seems to happen most often to GM cars, Pontiacs especially, but not by a wide margin. Something about the combination of year 'round AC, stop and go traffic and constant road construction just seems to wear the things out faster here than anywhere else I've lived. Don't know how things are in your neck of the woods, but I'd get it into the dealership and let them check it out, ASAP.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    It could also be.....a loose/slipping alternator belt. Dirty/corroded or loose battery terminals. Or depending on how you drive it could be you're not driving it long enough to recharge the battery as a result your power is slowly disappating. It could be a unknown drain from your electrical system as your car sits.
     
  6. david stark

    david stark Second Unit

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    Does it start fine after you have been driving it for a while. I mean if you drive it for 30 minutes or so, then leave it for 5 minutes then start it again does it start fine or is it just after you have left it for a longer time (ie overnight).

    if it is like this I would suspect the battery since it is charging fine and holding charge over the short term (when left stopped for a few minutes), but if left for a long time then it is losing charge and is more difficult to start.
     
  7. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Well I got in it this morning, turn the key, straining sound then click click click. All the lights light up fine and everything. I called AAA and they are going to come and jump it. Its out of warranty and I don't have an appointment so I'm just going to take it to NTB once I get started.

    It strained even after I drove it for awhile. I drove home from work last night, pretty constant driving above 40mph. Stopped to get my mail, turn off the engine and everything. Get back in and it strains a little then starts.

    Fun fun fun...i don't need this...
     
  8. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    It's probably the battery. I had to have my battery replaced a couple years ago in my '98 Saturn. When it died the starter made a clicky clicky sound and I had to have the car jump started. It's been fine since. The "no-maintenance" batteries that these cars come with seem to only last 3-4 years.

    My car had another electrical hiccup about a year ago that I fixed myself. The battery ground got corroded and was making poor contact, which made accessories (radio etc.) lose their memory, and the keyless entry system stopped working. When I started the car everything worked fine since the engine ground was fine and with the ignition on the circuit grounded out through the engine. I took apart the ground connection near the battery and cleaned it and it's been fine since.

    KJP
     
  9. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    if it's a 95-97 Saturn, I would say the alternator is suspect. Replacement part# 8107. Yhis is common, and most places will stock more than one of these.

    I replace close to 6-8 a month

    98-up is not as common but not unheard of.. replacement part #8232

    If you replace the alternator, please fully charge your battery on bench or replace it. Don't make your new alternator do all the work.
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I was going to say if it was the battery, you would know very soon. Once they start to go bad, a car battery will die completely very quickly (within a day or so). It sounds like this is exactly what happened to you.

    Fortunately, a new battery is a fairly inexpensive and easy repair.
     
  11. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Its a 2000 Saturn. NTB looked it over and they say its the battery. Should have it back soon. Thanks all. Nothing like a little adventure in the morning.
     
  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Do I win a prize? [​IMG]
     
  13. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    NTB took care of me when my battery died too. They put in a Sears DieHard, now that's a good battery.

    They do tend to crap out quickly. In my case, we were going to the movies, at a cinema about 40 minutes from home. When we left the house the car started fine and got us there no problem-o. Then after the movie, I get in the car and turn the key... clicky clicky... I had someone jump me and I made it to NTB, where it stalled out after I pulled into a parking space and went inside to get help. Fortunately they were open (this was a Sunday afternoon) and they put in a new battery and all is well.

    KJP
     
  14. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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