I'm having some trouble with the battery in my wife's 2004 Jetta. The battery was purchased in November 2009, making it about 2 1/2 years old. The problem is probably best described with a no-so-brief timeline of events, all of which took place over the last week.
Wife takes the car to work at 7:45am (about 3.5 miles away from home, about a 10 minute drive). She goes to leave at around 4pm and the car won't start. She calls me at work immediately (as someone has to get our daughter from day care by 5pm) and I pick up our daughter then drive to where she works. I take them home (our 6 month old was getting cranky) and head back with our Passat to jump it. It takes about 15 mins to charge, but ultimately starts up (everything was completely dead, no clock, odometer, power locks, etc.) My wife swears she didn't leave anything on, and I believe her, but she and I both understand that she could have easily left something on and just didn't realize.
I take the car to Sears (about 5 miles away, 15 mins with traffic) where the battery was purchased, figuring if I need a new battery, I might as well just get it overwith that night. They test battery and alternator and both are fine, so I take the car home. I start it up one more time around 10pm with no problems.
As the Passat was still at my wife's place of employment, we take the Jeep together to drop daughter off, then I take her to work so I can get the Passat. I leave the Jetta home all day and try to start it again at around 7pm. It starts without any hesitation whatsoever.
I take the Jetta to drop my daughter off at daycare (<1 mile from home) and drop it back off at home to take the Passat for the Day. I didn't bother starting it that night.
Figuring that despite what my wife said about not leaving anything on, the car should be fine and she takes it to work as usual. This is where it gets a little strange (at least to me it does). She leaves at 4pm without any problem and drives to daycare (again, about 10 mins away). She stays inside for 10-15 mins and when she comes out, the car is dead again. I leave work to jump it, and after 5 mins it starts up with no problem. I take the car home.
Friday through Sunday
My wife and daughter were away for the weekend in the Jeep and I let the Jetta sit without starting it all weekend. I check periodically to see if the clock and odometer display are working, and they are.
My wife threw caution to the wind and took it to work today. It started up just fine.
At this point, I feel comfortable ruling out the battery and alternator. What the hell else should I be looking at?
-Battery dies, jump it it bring it back to life, Sears says no problem with battery/alternator.
-Drive it very little over next couple of days, wife takes it to and from work one day, then after being stopped for 10-15 mins, it's dead again.
-Able to jump it again and has been fine ever since.
-wtf is going on here?
98 wrangler build
the position being taken is not to be mistaken for attempted education or righteous accusation only a description just an observation of the pitiful condition of our degeneration
A loose contact will cause that all day. It's incredible that the guy at Sears didn't check for that first thing.
Battery cables will get a coating on them after awhile (I can't explain this). If the cable is a little loose you will not get contact. Take both cables off and clean the battery connections first. You can use many things but I would use a wire brush to make sure you get good contact.
Then clean the cables. They sell a gell or felt pads at any auto parts store for less than a dollar that keeps your connections clean. Then make sure the connections are tight. Not too tight. If you can move the connection at all it will cause the problems you note. Everytime? No, but it will make a car act this way.
Also......and based upon you saying the cable was loose I'm guessing not but batteries can develop a short in them. Work sometimes, and sometimes not. I'd say your problem is the cables though.
You're making a better (cleaner) connection.Why is the car starting as a result of jumping it?
Analogy = cut away most of the electric line running to your house - you'll soon have all sorts of niggling electrical problems which you then resolve by running extension cords from your neighbors - temporarily resolving the problem.
In your case, I'd say 95% chance of loose connection somewhere.
You would not think that a cable being a little loose would cause this but it will. Your battery is likely NOT dead, you just have poor connections. An absolutely dead battery will not charge up enough on a boost and small drive to restart right back up. It's not dead. IMO
Started up for my wife no problem yesterday and again last night. I didn't have much time last night and did what I could to clean it, which wasn't very thorough. This morning it didn't start, but a quick jiggle got it running. At least now I feel pretty confident that's the issue, so I'll try replacing the terminal an I should be all set. Thanks for the help.
So, I after my last post, I stopped by a reputable shop in my area to just have them replace the terminal. Looking at it in better light this morning revealed that I did a much better job of cleaning it off than I thought. They told me ~$40 to replace the terminal (probably about $38 more than it would cost me to do myself, but with the lack of personal time lately, I just wanted it done). The tech came back in and told me all he did was re-orient the terminal on the post and it tightened just fine (I did this myself last night, but I deemed it a ghetto-fix, so I switched it back). Was he full of sh!t or is that a sufficient fix? I always figured the orientation on the post shouldn't matter.