: battery wont stay charged

02-05-06, 12:50 PM
yesterday morning went out to the car no charge at all, battery was completely dead. Jumped the car then drove 25 minutes to work. Parked when to check if it would start and dead again. Got the jump box from work jump the battery and moved it into the service bay to be charged.Charged the batt on a charger for about 5 hours. Left work car rank fine, towards the end of my trip home my cf player say the volts was 10.8 when i left the dealership i had 13.6. what could be causing this? The battery or the alt?

02-05-06, 10:32 PM
Obvioulsy check the Alternator & the battery cells. If both the Alternator and the battery are good, then it could be the cable; have a service tech check that power cable. I had a problem and it turned out to be the cable that ran from the alternator to the battery. That cable was frayed and it wasn't sending enough of the alternator's juice to the battery. That solved my problem for awhile. Then later the ignition switch (inside the steering column) was faulty. Even the key was taken out, the switch was not totally engaging the power off, therefore the car was draining battery power while the car was off.

I have a 97 Catera and 2005/2006 has been an electrical problem bonaza for my car. Hope this helps

02-06-06, 04:04 PM
I agree with Ondale.

But also please do not ignore the possibility of a steady state battery drain from an unanticipated source. Any good auto electric shop should be able to check your car for this possibility without too much expense, assuming it is an honest shop.

There would be two steps:

First, with the car off check at the battery to see if the drain exceeds Catera norms. If not, this is not your problem.

If battery drain with the car off is too large, you will have to locate the cause of the excessive drain. This may take some time and a bit of expertise, but a good auto electrical shop with a Catera wiring diagram for your year car should be able to handle this task.

Good luck!

02-08-06, 11:53 AM
You will first have to check to make sure the battery will hold a charge. Any auto parts place will test your battery for free. Some will swap it for you for free. Since the battery on a Catera takes a few more minutes to swap than a typical car, they may not want to do it for free. If the battery is good, you'd check the charging system next. If you want to definitely rule out the alternator, pull it and take it to a parts store. They'll test that for free too. That is going to take you some time. Catera alternators are not the easiest to get out.

If you have what we geezers call a "stuck draw" (the battery discharges over a short period of time sitting still - say, overnight) There is a very simple method of testing for this:

Remove the negative off the battery.
Setup a multi-meter on amps.
Connect the leads of the multi-meter between the negative post of the battery and the negative cable you just removed.
You should now see the amount of power your car is drawing just sitting still. (make sure you close the doors and turn off everything that will still run with the ignition off.)
Just sitting still, your car should draw a small amount of power for the stereo memory and the computers.
If it's drawing more than an amp, you have a problem.

If you want to trace down which circuit is the problem, pull a fuse at a time then replace it until you find the one that drops the amp reading on the meter dramatically.
Don't forget the fuses under the hood and any in the passenger compartment.
Relays are notorious for causing stuck draws - don't forget them too.