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I own a 2005 Nissan Altima which has been having alternator/battery problems for past 1 year. My car has 112,000 miles on it. My car battery was past warranty so I had the battery replaced about a year back. The battery went bad in about 6 months (or car would require jump starts all the time). I went back to the shop and they replaced my battery as it was within warranty. However, same thing happened again in about 4 months time. This time they said they wont replace the battery as alternator might be bad and would do an electric test to confirm. They did alternator test and confirmed that nothing is wrong with alternator and I should take the car to a nissan dealership; they told me Nissans are known for their electrical problems.

Instead of going to dealership (as that seemed a lot expensive) I took the car to another mechanic. He said he thinks alternator could be bad even if electric test does not say so as he heard a cranking noise once from the alternator.

Should I agree to his advise and get my alternator replaced? Is this a known problem in any of other Altimas or Nissans?

Some extra information about my usage; I used to drive this car a lot - but these days for past 1 year or so - I drive it only about 2-3 miles a day.

  • If you are only driving it 2-3 miles per day, this could be the problem. You may want to use a battery tender on your vehicle when not in use. The short period of drive time may just be wearing your battery out. A battery tender will keep it fully charged and in good shape, even with the short drive times. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 21 '14 at 20:09
  • Do I need to disconnect battery tender when I am using the car? – Varun Soni Dec 28 '14 at 2:50
  • Yes. In fact if you don't disconnect before use, you'll destroy the tender ... at least that's the way mine was. I'd assume most tenders are the same way. They are only meant to keep your battery up and charged while not in use. They also condition the battery so they will not go bad as quickly (from the large discharge/charge cycles). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 28 '14 at 10:42
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I doubt that putting an alternator on this car will fix the problem. It sounds more like a parasitic draw causing this issue. You may have to take your car to a specialty electrical shop, where they deal with these things all the time. There are ways to detect a draw that is just big enough to slowly draw power from the battery, and since you drive very little, it never has the chance to recover, allowing the battery to become discharged to the point that the alternator cannot recharge it in such a short drive time.

Basically, there may be something electrical that is staying on when the car is off and just sitting overnight, which slowly lowers the voltage enough so it won't start in the morning. Eventually it cad permanently kill a battery as well. Unfortunately it can be a costly repair depending on how long it takes to find the issue. Inoperable this helps. Good luck!

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On my son's 2005 Altima he was having to jump start it frequently. The battery tested good. The local mechanic said the alternator was bad so I replaced it with a rebuilt from AutoZone. Charge light never came on.Same problem, every day or so a jump start was required. Thinking the battery may be testing good but actually be bad I replaced it with the maximum amps battery that fit in the slot. When I was replacing it I stuck a test light im between the ground on the battery and the the ground wire. I glows brightly (like a full twelve volt draw) for about 10 minutes and then goes into a blinking mode. Currently I am having him disconnect the battery at night. I guess the dealer is the next step. Jake

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