Question about 1999 Chevrolet Lumina

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Car battery consitently drains totally..battery is 11 mos, starter too and alternator is 10 mos...can't locate what is constantly causing drain...battery has been fully recharged and problem continues

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That's tough to figure out because these newer car always have a slight draw on the battery. What you can do is disconnect the negative cable from the battery and put an "amp" gauge (ammeter) in between the (-) battery cable and the (-) terminal of the battery (DO NOT TRY TO START THE ENGINE YOU WILL FRY YOUR GAUGE). If there's a substantial draw on the system it will show up on the gauge, now start pulling the fuses on at time until the draw goes away. That will tell you witch circuit is drawing the battery down, you may want to start with disconnecting the battery terminal of the alternator, I know you said it's new but if the diodes are bad it drain the battery. One other thing you could try, is leaving the battery disconnected to see if the battery goes dead on it's own, you may have a defective battery.

Posted on Dec 10, 2009


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You either have a faulty alternator or there is a constant power drain on the battery when the car is switched off as a result of a fault in the electrical system.
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If i it is not charging fully as designed the only other source of power whilst you are running the car is the battery. Thus the battery will drain.

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This will occur when the car is idle such as overnight. In this case, power is continually being delivered to a system on the car which is meant to be inactive due to a fault with the electrics. This can run the battery down so low the starter motor will not kick over when you try and start the car.

You need to get the car to a competent mechanic for tests so he can identify the cause and rectify it. For example if the old alternator is faulty and will not deliver sufficient charge to run the vehicle you will need to install a new one.

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A test for a battery drain in the vehicle is to place a test light between the battery positive terminal and the battery positive cable,with the cable disconnected from the battery.If the test light glows bright you do in fact have a power drain.Pull one fuse at a time until the test light goes dim or off and then you will know which circuit is draining the battery.If no fuse removal dims the light,then disconnect the alternator output wire to check for a bad diode draining the battery in the alternator.Do not open doors or trunk etc and cause a accidental drain masking the real drain.DO NOT try to use any accessory or start the car with test light connected.

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Can a dead electronic key cause the car battery to drain. I have a 2001 BMW 525i and the elec. key has been dead for about 6 mos and recently the car battery has been draining. easy to jump and start...

Then, yes, I would say a remote starter key with a questionable battery could cause the battery to drain. Could be that all the necessary components are not being de-energized.

I would add that it's a long shot, but it's worth a try.


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1 Answer

Just got new battery from Autozone 10/28/2010. One week later car turned itself off while driving. Not alternator. Not starter. And now battery is drained so we bought battery charger from autozone today...

The fact that your battery is drained makes me think you may have a short somewhere (where could be anyone's guess) This would put a constant drain on the battery. Have you checked your Voltage regulator or fuse? It's possible if the voltage regulator went bad that it could have blown a fuse causing your vehicle to shut off. -I had a lead wire come loose from the battery in a Van I owned. -while driving. The whole car went dead. -On the side of the road scratching my head looking at the engine. Ended up noticing some frayed wire... Got my wire strippers, trimmed it, re-attached and POOF! On my way again like new in 15 minutes. Have you installed any accessories recently that could have accidentally caused this?

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1 Answer

Car wont start. its not the battery because its new.

Well even a new battery can be drained down is you have something on all the time, in about an hour.

So start with checking for a drain.
Remove the battery cables in order to clean and grease them.
Then only put one on.
With everything off if you jump the gap of the cable that is off to the battery, with a test light, is should not light up. If it does, then you have a constant drain that will kill a batter over night.
You have to check for things like interior light, and disconnect everything, one at a time, to pin it down.

If you don't have a drain, then the next thing is to check continuity.
When you turn the ignition on, first the dash indicators come on.
The battery should read 12.5 volts.
Then you try to crank it.
The voltage should drop to 10 while cranking, and come back up after.
If it does not drop to 10, the starter is blocked and not drawing.
It could be the neutral safety switch, so try in neutral instead of park.
It could also be the ignition switch.
Use a test light to see of the small wire plugged into the starter solenoid (the small cylinder on top of the starter), get power when keyed to starter?
If it does not, then ignition switch or neutral safety switch.
If yes, then starter solenoid is probably bad.
But try turning the engine over at the alternator by hand or wrench, and try again. Could be binding between starter and drive plate.

Once you get it started, then rev the engine up and verify alternator goes over 14 volts, to recharge battery.
Otherwise battery will go dead in a day.

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just one click or a rapid clicking???? a bad connection could cause this, or if its one big click and nothing happens, the starter solenoid may be bad. have someone tap on the stater while you hold the key in the start position. if it then starts, replace the starter. Buy quality parts, NOT from AZ if thats where you get parts.

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