Why won't my car jump start?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by StageLeft, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. StageLeft

    StageLeft No Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2000
    Messages:
    70,217
    Likes Received:
    1
    04 MPV. I presume its battery was left on, but in any case I had a report that it was not starting. I get home and, yep, the battery looks fried. Lights inside are hella-dim and the battery was reading at 8 volts. I get it on some jumper cables with another car, have that one turned on, and confirm that I'm reading about 13.5 Volts between the positive terminal on my battery and a bar spot on the frame with the negative jumper. Unfortunately, the thing still will not start, the lights appear to be also still fueling from the very week battery. Now that battery is down to under 5 Volts and even with the key out there is a constant clicking from the electrical box in the engine bay.

    Assuming that something isn't fugged in the car that drained the battery and is responsible for it no longer working, what have I done wrong with the jump? Next up is to try and recharge the battery and see what's what, but this is weird.
     
  2. RichUK

    RichUK Lifer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Messages:
    10,054
    Likes Received:
    571
  3. Jugernot

    Jugernot Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 1999
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, I'm going to say the obvious.... get a new battery and install? Not trying to be a prick, just a suggestion and you don't have to worry about the jumping process.

    Jugs
     
  4. spidey07

    spidey07 No Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2000
    Messages:
    65,481
    Likes Received:
    2
    Rev the other car when attempting to jump, also check main fuse box?
     
  5. CptCrunch

    CptCrunch Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    0
    take it to your local walmart and have them test your battery. similar symptoms to my firebird that had a real dead (deep celled) battery. Got a new battery and it fired right up
     
  6. RagingBITCH

    RagingBITCH Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Messages:
    17,621
    Likes Received:
    2
    Are you using a smaller car/battery to jump your MPV? You need at least a vehicle w/ a similar size or bigger battery to give it a jump. (We used to have problems jumping our minivan with a sedan) It's probably not true all the way around, but from my experience that's what happened
     
  7. GalvanizedYankee

    GalvanizedYankee Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Messages:
    6,986
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the "dead" battery was very warm to the touch during the jumping process it prolly has a shorted cell or two. Replace the battery.

    Cables have been known to develope high resistance connections internally, like between the cable wire and the lug. Replace cables if there is any doubt about thier integrity.
    An ohm meter may indicate that a cable is good but it may not be when asked to transmit several hundred amps.
     
  8. StageLeft

    StageLeft No Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2000
    Messages:
    70,217
    Likes Received:
    1
    The cables were new, but I'm going to be charging it up very shortly.

    The thing is, shouldn't it at least have powered the lights? The starter requires a lot of amps, but the lights even wouldn't go properly.

    Would a completely messed battery override the fact that I had it hooked up to the jumper cables? Oh, and it was a fairly small jeep I had going on here. But, it's not that it wouldn't start, it was like the car completely ignored the fact it was hooked up as if the jumpers were hooked right but the electrical system was still going on that bad battery.

    Bat is 4.5 years old anyway I may get another but the last two cars I've had the batteries have gone for 8-9 years.
     
  9. Jugernot

    Jugernot Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 1999
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, if the battery has bad cells, it can act as insulator from the jumping vehicle.


    EDIT: If you're still unconvinced. Disconnect the battery and hook the battery leads of the mpv to the jump vehicle with the jumper cable leads and start her up. You should probably disconnect the battery from the jumper vehicle though. All you're doing is temporarily colocating the battery in another vehicle. :p
     
  10. Juddog

    Juddog Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,851
    Likes Received:
    0
    The exact same thing happened to me, and I had to replace the battery.
     
  11. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Messages:
    83,985
    Likes Received:
    9
    Down here you are lucky to get 3 years on a battery, even the top of line ones.

    Even my optima died within 3 months of it's 3 year anniversary. I have had interstate batteries as well that die ~30-42 months.
     
  12. StageLeft

    StageLeft No Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2000
    Messages:
    70,217
    Likes Received:
    1
    OK I recharged it and it's fine. I really wonder why the jumping didn't work, though...

    In regard to batteries, my '93 sentra when I bought it in '01 with 142k miles had a dead battery the day I bought it from sitting around the lot. It had lived its life in Alabama but we are quite sure it was an original battery. My '00 Maxima I bought in 02, first registered in '99 and spent most of its life in Alabama until the last two years had to get its original replaced in late 07 or early 08. Car had about 110k miles on it and 8 years, including 1-2 winters on it! Maybe the common theme here is Nissans rox0r!
     
  13. lurk3r

    lurk3r Senior member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    0
    5V is horribly low, even a dead battery should only read ~10v. Your battery is toast. Since you have charged it you can check for bad cells with a fully charged battery by using a hydrometer. At 5V I'm guessing you'll find 2 dead cells.
     
  14. GalvanizedYankee

    GalvanizedYankee Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Messages:
    6,986
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jumper cables could have an open or high resistance internal connection at one of thier lugs or they were not wiggled around enough to make good contact. Meh!

    Skoorb has always come out with the right answer for anything concerning cars in the past so he will figure this one out too. :laugh:

    Roger! Roger! Come help this guy. :D