Question about 2003 Dodge Neon

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Won't start (again); has new alternator & new battery

This has happened several times since I bought this car used (has 80,000 miles on it but in fab shape); car sits for 1 or 2 days (usually over the weekend) and then won't start at all! Even the alarm chirp is only a faint bloop sound.
No lights have been left on. No accessories like cell phone chargers have been left plugged in. The first time, we just jumped it 'til it started again.

The second time, we took it in to a proper mechanic, who found that the alternator was behaving bizzarro - charge would leap up & down the scale. Replaced alternator, and I think put in a fresh battery. Drove fine for 2 weeks solid.

I didn't drive it on Saturday & Sunday. Today, Monday, I turn off the alarm (near-regular chirp), pop in the car, stick the (grey-headed) key in, turn, and....nothing. Faint whirr like it is trying, then totally dead. Tried again, nothing. Got out, re-locked & alarmed car (Viper system alarm), very faint alarm arming chirrup.

I gave up & drove my mom's car to work. I am so upset over this stupid problem. Did I buy a lemon, or are 2003 Dodge Neon's just persnickety?

Please help if you can. I'm gonna take it back to the mechanic if I can get it charged again, but history could repeat...

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  • niyse Sep 25, 2008

    Okay - couple days later. The solution this time was replacing the battery. We're 95% sure that has taken care of the problem.



    Mechanic checked out the things you suggested (very helpful). I felt better knowing that draw and load tests were done and there's no energy vampires this time. Thanks, guys!



    The battery had not been replaced last time after all, as it checked out fine; the alternator only was new. Since he was doing the draw tests anyway, the mechanic did a second and third batterly load test after leaving the car sit all night, since the problem always occurred after sitting for a day or two. Sure enough, the battery pooped out completely on the second test. It turned out that the car had the original battery and after 5 years it was worn out, quite a long-lasting battery actually. Recently it stayed alive from sucking energy from the alternator & being driven around.



    Had that not been the case, I'm sure the solutions posted here would have been very helpful. I remember now with my first Neon, a '99 sadly totalled in an accident this year, the first few months I had a dead battery a couple times from unknowingly leaving the ignition in the wrong position when taking out the key. The third time it seemed dead I had absentmindedly put the car in Drive rather than leaving it in Park before trying to start the car. It won't start unless it's in Park. The fourth time was from leaving the map light on all weekend. The fifth time it died, it was the 4-year-old battery!



    So you can guess I was fully prepared for a report of 'user error' as well as 'car needs help!' Thanks again, people, I appreciate your willingness to share your solutions. If I'd just tried to recharge it again & leave it at that instead of taking it in for tests, the battery wouldn't have gotten a much-needed replacement this soon.

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    WHEN I BOUGHT THE VEHICLE HAD TO HIT THE ALARM BUTTON TO START THE VEHICLEW, AND AFTER AWHILE 2 WEEKS THE ALARM LIGHT IS ON SOLID AND INSIDE CHIRPING IS CONSTANT. TO THE POINT IT DRAINED THE BATTERY, AND LIGHT IS ON SOLID AND WONT START WHEN JUMPED OR NEW BATTERY IS PLACED IN

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What it sounds like is that you may have a loose ground somewhere,most likely a ground strap from the engine block to the frame to the battery. chances are that because of the loose ground your altenator maybe charginging properly but the looose ground the current is not going to the battery so as you are driving the battery is being discharged. if this doesn't solve the problem then i suspect that your alarm is the problem. it is hardwired to the positve side of the of the system and is drawing your battery down. please rate the solution...thanks

Posted on Sep 22, 2008

  • cjohnson3535 Mar 15, 2011

    kemo68 that is kinda what the mechanic told me he said the negative wire was dirty and need to be replace but he said the part was $200 and labor $130 does that sound right to you?
    thanks for all your help

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Something is staying on when the key is shut off.... have your mechanic do a test to see if there is current draw on the battery with the key off... locate what is staying on and fix that issue and you will be fine.

Robert

Posted on Sep 22, 2008

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