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Mitsubishi Lancer Battery Drain?

Question:

Kevin,

I have a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer that has a dead battery every time I turn off the car, but also leave the radio or air conditioner on, or leave any devices on whatsoever. This is weird because the radio is no longer playing and looks exactly like its off, but somehow, even with the car completely off and the keys completely removed, if the A/C or radio switches were left in the on position, then the battery will be dead if I return a few hours later, or overnight.

These devices never used to do this before — whenever I used to turn the car off and remove the key, these devices would not only go dead also, but they would also cease to draw power and deaden the battery.

Does anyone here have any ideas what might be going on? Im going to show this message to my brother, so if you have any ideas whats going on, he will be able to understand what youre explaining. Thanks.

- Rebecca

 

Answer:

I would do a full checkup on the charging system.

1. Remove battery, fully charge and load test it. Most parts stores can test your battery or a mechanic should be able to do it for you.

2. With engine running, check voltage, should be at 14 Volts or above. If not, your alternator is not working properly.

3. Check battery drain with an amp meter between the positive terminal of the battery and the positive cable going to the starter. You should be well below .2 amps. If you are above, then I would start pulling fuses from the fuse panel one at a time to see which circuit in the system is causing the drain. From there you will need to then find the offending electrical item (radio, trunk light etc.) on that circuit and fix/replace it.

Posted: 11th August 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

Nissan Electrical Problems

Question:

Stats: 2002 Nissan Sentra GXE, auto transmission, power locks and windows. No recent work, however I keep all the maintenance up to date.

Yesterday my car suddenly acted funny. While pulling out of my neighborhood, my CD player suddenly turned off, then faded back in as if I had turned it back on. At first I thought it was the CD, but after switching to my radio it did the same thing. The sound would disappear, then fade back in after a few moments. It did this about 6-7 times during a 15 minute trip.

I never lose engine power or the ability to control my car. I did notice the following though: The radio display and pre-sets are kept, for 1:5 sound drops my airbag light would come on, for 1:10 sound drops my odometer and speedometer would shoot up then return to normal, no loss in A/C. No other lights on my dash would light up, nor would any other gauges misread. Finally, I could hear a faint whine when Id shift gears. It sounded very similar to something I heard years ago in a friends car. He installed a radio that was too powerful, so if he ran the A/C and the radio at the same time it would make the same whining noise. It makes me wonder if my problem is a power issue.

On my return trip home, as well as on another ride that day, nothing happened. The second one was about an hour round-trip. At first I thought perhaps some water somehow got in the engine (we had a BAD t-storm the night before), or something like that. However, the problem came up again this morning, although not with the same frequency as the first time it happened.

Ideas?

 

Answer:

It sounds like an electrical issue in the dash somewhere. The whine you described is interference in the power wire, coming through the radio. It is most likely a symptom of a loose power connection somewhere under the dash. I would trace back the power wire from the radio back to the fuse box. It wont be easy, but you can lay under the dash and try to wiggle every connection you can see while the radio is on, to see if you can reproduce the cut-out of the radio. Once you find the offending connection, you can then determine why its loose. There is the possibility of water getting into a connection, but its more likely to be a bad/loose prong in the connector itself. You could also check the fuses in the fuse box, remove and re-seat the radio fuse to see if there was a bad connection there. Electrical problems are never easy to diagnose, since you cant see electricity and most people dont understand the basic principals involved.

Posted: 30th July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

Intermittent Start Problems.

Question:

My 1996 Toyota Corolla DX does not alway start. The first couple of trys the starter does not make a sound and the car does not start. Then when I try to start the car again it turns over like nothing is wrong. Do I need a new starter or something else?

 

Answer:

I would have the battery checked first, as well as the battery terminals and cables. Most intermittent start problems are related to corrosion at the battery terminals. Any competent garage can clean the battery terminals and inspect the cables for wear.

Posted: 20th July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

Electrical Gremlins in Ford Taurus

Question:

My car is a 2003 Ford Taures SES. Every other week , I get a hiccup in the electrical system, everything flicks out and comes back on, a few random warning lights will light up, go out and the car keeps running. There is no common denominator, like turning on the AC, when this happens. To make it even weirder, Ive gone out to my car to start it, put in the key, and when I turn it to the start position, I completely lose all electrical power, lights, radio, dashlights, the 1st time this happened, I turned the key to off, and then back to start and it restarted. The second time, I left the key in the ignition, and popped the hood to see if there was a loose battery cable, as I was lifting the hood, I heard the key in the ignition/door ajar chime start up, and I went back in and the car started fine. The 3rd time (this evening) I got the weird power flicker, but this time the car stalled, and when I went to restart it, I lost all electrical when I turned the key to start. it did finally restart after sitting for a minute or two. Ive checked the battery cable and the connectors to the fuse boxs but they are tight and wiggling them does not replicate the problem.

 

Answer:

It sounds like a hidden problem in the ignition switch or the wiring harness. These types of problems can be very tough to figure out, and as much as I hate to say it, take it to a Ford dealer (one you trust) and have them diagnose. They may recommend changing out the ignition switch, which would be my first guess to the problem, but they may also have a TSB on your car which spells out common causes for this issue. TSB stands for Technical Service Bulletin, and is communications that the factory gives out to their dealership mechanics about common problems and procedures for fixing them. Not quite a recall, but similar in that there is an offical number, and procedures documented for the mechanics to follow. If you are curious about TSBs you can check out www.autoeducation.com/alldata.htm where you can get a subscription for your vehicle. Along with the TSBs you get Recalls, Labor Guides and Repair Procedures for your vehicle.

Posted: 10th July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

Starter or Solenoid Bad?

Question:

Hey my question is when i go to start my vehicle i get nothing. Car is a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass ciera SL With a 3.1 Liter V6. Engine does not turn over. And starter does not turn over. I am wondering how to find out if its the solenoid or starter or possibly the relay for the ignition.

Please respond asap.

Thank you for your assistance

 

Answer:

First step is to pull the battery out and test that. Make sure it has a full charge, and then use a battery load tester to check condition of the battery. Most garages and auto parts stores have a battery tester.

I would also check both battery terminals and cables to make sure you have a good connection. Cables can corrode from the inside and create problems. I have seen more starting issue due to cables, than a bad starter or solenoid.

Assuming that the battery and cables checks out, you can jump the terminals on the solenoid to see if the engine turns over. If it does, then there is a problem in the ignition switch or safety system (brake switch, or neutral/park safety switch)

If you do not feel comfortable jumping the solenoid posts, you can use a volt meter to check for voltage at the solenoid ignition connection (typically marked with an I on the post) to see if the ignition switch is sending current. If you have voltage, its more than likely a bad solenoid. If there is no voltage, then its in the ignition switch/safety loop mentioned above. If you have voltage at the solenoid, and hear the clicking of the solenoid moving the starter gear into the flywheel, but the starter does not spin, then its the starter itself.

Posted: 8th July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

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