I bought this car when it had 120,000 miles on it, a few weeks ago, for a grand from my friend who sold it to me with the caution that it had a few issues. I am a novice driver and needed a car to get comfortable driving in. Not a brand new car that I might smash into the divider! The car had the check engine light on, but my friend said his mechanic had told him he could not identify any issues with it. Moving on ...
I had let it sit in the lot for almost 15 days without driving it anywhere. This was 1 months ago. But the car started and drove fine when I drove it around the city, highways included, and no problems (now that I think about it, I did find the car difficult to accelerate while on the highway. But I am a novice driver and did not think much of it then).
On that day after coming back home, I had left the headlights on when the car was shut down for about 20 min. That caused the battery to drain apparently. When I tried to start it the car made rapid clicking noises without the engine cranking. The battery light stayed on. I had it jumped and that fixed the problem and the battery light went off. I let it run while parked for 20 mins and had no issues when i took it around. But I never drove it longer than 20 mins or faster than 50 mph.
Yesterday I was driving on a highway with my mobile phone charging from the lighter port and the A/C at full blast. When I got on to the highway, the car would not accelerate smoothly, and did not get much above 60 mph no matter how hard I tried. A few min later all the lights on the dashboard went on, including the battery light. I turned the A/C off and unplugged my mobile phone which felt really hot to touch. The car radio started to turn on and off randomly all on its own, and kept doing that even when I tried to turn it off. I managed to drive off the highway, and drove for another 10 min to get home safely, parked and turned off the car. Then It would not start again, once again making rapid clicking noises when I tried.
I had it jumped again, and it started. This time though, the battery light continued to stay on. The car remained on for a few min. Then i tried to reach the driver side mirror and accidentally turned on the turn signal and that shut the car off right away. Now it makes those clicks again when I start.
That was the whole chain of events.
What do you guys think? Is it the battery? Or alternator? If I jump start again, and it stays on, will I be able to drive it to a mechanic that is 5 min away, traffic included? I don't want to have it towed unless I really have to.