Help me not get swindled by car mechanics
March 1, 2014 11:45 AM Subscribe
New (6 month old) car battery has died twice in the past month. From the pattern it's been showing, can you help me figure out what the issue might be, and help me avoid getting swindled in my attempt to get it fixed?
posted by raztaj to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
2 years ago I inherited my dad's 2002 Lexus RX300. When I went through the records, he seemed to be so-so about maintenance. Up until 6 months ago, it was running on its original battery, which I replaced 6 months ago during some major 90k maintenance. I drive it pretty infrequently, and only put about 1k on it since. I often go days without driving it.
It was running great up until a little over a month ago, when we experienced "polar vortex" on the East Coast, and had some extremely cold days. It was a little bit sluggish to start on those cold days, but only slightly so. Then I went 5 full days without starting/driving it - on the 6th day, it was fairly warm (45-50 degrees) and I attempted to start it. Some lights on the dash went on, but there was just a "rrrrrrrr" sound upon starting. Got a jump, and it started fine. From then on, things were ok - slightly sluggish to start on the really cold days, but fairly without issue (not sluggish when driven on subsequent days, slightly sluggish when skipping a day or two). That was exactly a month ago.
I was out of town this past week, and so my car sat for a full week without being driven, again in fairly cold temps. When I started it this morning, the dash lights again came on - radio even came on. But just a "rrrrrrrr" sound when attempting to start. No juice. Got a jump, and again it immediately started. I drove it to the dealer who changed my battery, and left the vehicle there for them to inspect.
Could the new battery be a lemon? Could it be the alternator? I had a full diagnostics done during the 90k, and am afraid of being swindled into a long list of more repairs than necessary. I'm told "the alternator could go at any time" and would not have come up during the diagnostics. Nothing was left on during either time the battery died.
From this pattern, what might you suspect is the problem?