Question about 2006 Toyota RAV4

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2006 Toyota Rav 4-My battery went from fine to dead in :45. Help.

My battery went from fine to dead in 1 hour. I have a "good ear" for low batteries, so this really took me by surprise.

Situation: I parked my Rav4 in the garage and :45 minutes later, it wouldn't turn over. No headlights, and the interior lights barely came on; not even enough power to turn on all the warning lights that show up when you first turn on the key. I first thought of my headlights, but they were off, and it was daytime.

I then checked the voltage with my Fluke voltage tester and have 12.83 volts. So, I figured I needed to clean the battery posts and connectors. Still won't start. I pried off the battery caps and checked the water level. It was good.

I finally hooked up my gell "battery jumper" and gave myself a jump start. Started fine. I only idled it for 5 minutes and turned it off. Tried to start it, but it wouldn't start. Then, I hooked up my charger, and the battery won't take a charge either.

Is it really dead?

Questions:
1. Is there some sort of regulator that prevents a Toyota from turning over on a low battery? I didn't get the expected 'buzz' noise that I was expecting.
2. I used to drive my Rav daily and now only drive it few times a week. Could that be an issue?
3. Can I check my charging system myself, with my fluke? and where would I touch the pos and neg testers?

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Answering your questions in order:

  1. No, there's no such device to prevent the car from starting; a battery that requires a jump start would require more than 5 minutes running time to recharge. The battery needs to be charged to work again, (unless it has a dead cell, inexpensive battery testers will confirm). A jump start is still possible but wouild require leaving the jumper cables on for at least 15-30 minutes to provide enough of a charge to start the Rav again. Charging on a battery charger is preferable.
  2. Yes; short trips and lack of use will kill a battery over time.
  3. Yes; Here is a link to the basics of checking a charging system http://www.aa1car.com/library/charging_checks.htm
In summary, most should get more than 3 years out of their battery. You've already determined that the acid levels in the battery are good (most don't even check for fluid levels). Constant charging and discharging will kill a battery and this isn't apparent in your case.
If a battery charger isn't handy, try hooking up the jumper cables and leave the other car running for at least 15 minutes. I hope this answers your questions. Best of luck.
Greg

Posted on Jun 17, 2009

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