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I have a 2004 Kia Spectra 1.8, I have replaced the spark plugs, the alternator, and my battery is only about two months old. The car will start after a jump but it has to sit for about 10 minutes before the jump works.

I replaced the alternator and the car started off of a jump and even started back up on its own. I wanted to drive to the auto parts store but the car started to die after only 10 minutes of driving. The lights started dimming, the radio kept cutting in and out and then windshield wipers started moving slowly. Then the car just shut off completely.

I'm not sure what else to check before I take it to the shop and get charged an arm and a leg. Any help is useful. I'm new to the car thing so clear directions are the best for me.

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When it does start and run any warning lights on the dash lit? –  mikes Apr 8 '13 at 21:05
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When the vehicle dies after running does the engine crank/turn while starting or does it just click and not turn over? –  Mike Saull Apr 9 '13 at 14:47

4 Answers 4

If the battery dies whilst driving, but you can jump it off another car, you want to look at the alternator first (possibly followed by the battery, the wiring and any large loads, because either your battery is not charging or something is draining it faster than the alternator can charge it)

An alternator should give somewhere over 13 volts (often 14.5) to charge the battery; and a fully charged battery should also give you over 12 volts.

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+1 I'll second this. If the voltage drops like you described while the car is running, there are only two possibilities: either the alternator is failing to produce electricity, or there's a load pulling more power than the alternator's output and thus draining the battery even when the alternator is running. –  R.. Apr 9 '13 at 1:42
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Also, since the alternator is recently replaced, you might want to check and make sure it's connected properly. If the electrical connector is disconnected, or if the belt has no tension and it's not turning the alternator, then you would get no charge. –  R.. Apr 9 '13 at 1:44
    
Also, make sure the drive belt is tight. A loose or otherwise "wobbly" setup will prevent a good alternator from charging. –  Rubber Duck Jan 3 at 21:02

Your Alternator is not charging the battery. This can be verified by checking the voltage across the battery with the vehicle running less than 12.6 volts means you are discharging the battery. Since you've already replaced the alternator (it's possible it's bad) lets start somewhere else. There should be a 120 amp fuse between the alternator and the battery, if this is blown you can't charge the battery. An easy check for this if you can't find the fuse right away is with the car off you should have battery voltage at the big terminal on the back of the alternator, if not the fuse is blown or the wire is not connected properly.

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In addition to the supplied answers it could also be a faulty crank position sensor. If the engine is cranking but not firing then check this. It will cause a car to run for sometime then slowly die as described.

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I don't think this would cause the voltage drop OP described. –  R.. Apr 10 '13 at 3:00
    
I don't see anywhere where he described a voltage drop? Are you just talking about the dimming lights etc? Still worth looking at all options it's possible that battery died from too much cranking and a rough idle might not charge a battery very well. –  Mike Saull Apr 10 '13 at 13:49

I would look at an electronic reason as to why the car is stopping. The car should start IMMEDIATELY when it is jumped and it should stay running. If it doesn't run after a jump, and the battery isn't bad, the something in your charging system isn't functioning properly.

Try this:

  1. Start the vehicle and leave it running.
  2. Take a multimeter and test across the poles on your battery.
  3. If you are getting between 13.5 and 14.5 volts at that point, I would start turning on accessories and then testing again. If the voltage drops significantly and doesn't level off or rise, then you have issues with the alternator.
  4. If the vehicle dies, then you have some type of issue with your charging system beyond the battery/alternator.

Frankly, you may have to tow the car to a shop which specializes in foreign auto electrical systems and have them troubleshoot the issue for you. They probably won't charge that much and you can decide if it is something that you wish to do or something that you wish them to do for you.

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Not true. It often takes 5-10 minutes of revving the donor car into the best power producing RPM range before the car with the dead battery will start. –  Brian Knoblauch Jan 2 at 17:25
    
"Not true?"Really? –  Mistah Mix Jan 2 at 22:27
    
Not True? Really? Most people are loathe to attempt to troubleshoot a vehicle without seeing it in person. I have, however,seen enough cars acting up to suggest that the vehicle be taken to a professional rather than wasting additional time failing at troubleshooting himself. –  Mistah Mix Jan 2 at 22:30

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