My car was running fine (no lights/warnings). The next day I tried to start it and it was completely dead not even a click sound like normal battery is going bad kind of thing. After I got it jumped and waited a few minutes it started up. Then it stayed idling for a few minutes so I drove 15-20 min to charge up the battery and had no problems. The lights were bright and no warning lights came on or flickered. After I turned it off I waited a couple minutes and it would not start up again. Just wanted to know if this is the starter/alternator/or battery?


2 Answers 2


Let's start with the most likely culprit which is the battery. The other components you mentioned could be an issue, but it's less likely given what you've told me. There are several things you should do:

  • Check the age of your battery. There should be little stickers on the top or side, usually round with numbers in them. One set of numbers will be the year and one will be the month in that year. Sometimes the month is defined by letter. Sometimes the year is only 1 digit. You may want to google your battery+how+to+tell+age to figure it out if it's not obvious. If your battery is more than 3 - 5 years old, it's likely just shot. If you aren't sure it is old/shot or just want to verify, you can follow these additional steps.

  • Check the voltage of the battery with a volt meter. A charged battery should be at least 12.5 volts DC. If it's less, charge it.

  • Check the battery terminals for corrosion. Significant corrosion can interfere with the ability to make a good connection from the battery to the starter. If you see a lot of white fuzzy deposit on the terminals, it's corroded. This can also be a sign that your battery is leaking fumes. It could just be old and needs to be replaced, but if it is causing corrosion but otherwise seems to hold a charge just fine, you could try getting an anti corrosion paste and felt washers. This will help prevent the fumes from leaving the battery and affecting your terminals.

  • If the battery voltage is low, put it on a slow charger and leave it for 3 - 4 hours. It takes more than 15-20 minutes to fully charge the battery.

  • If the volts are low and you are charging your battery, it may also be a good idea to pop the vent cap (little caps on top of the battery which can be removed with a flat-head screwdriver - or sometimes are screw on/off caps) and check to see if some of the cells are low on fluid. All cells should be equal level. If some are low, you probably have a leak and it's likely that cell is already dead due to the plates being exposed to air for too long.


In a word: Battery

You can check all of the things which maplemale suggests and that's not a bad idea. From your description, though, it points right to the battery being the issue. From your description of how the "lights were bright and no warning lights", this points directly to the battery to me. Pull the thing and take it down to AutoZone, Advance Auto, or the like, and get it load tested for free.

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