Yesterday, I used my car to drive literally 2mins. Away from my dorm building to get to my class building and back because of bad weather. 30+mins. Later I come back outside and use my remote to unlock my car door and it unlocks but as soon as I try to start it , it doesn't turn on . So automatically I think it's the battery . I found a campus police and he jumped it for me and it started to crank up , and he told me it could possibly be a light that was left on . Mind you the light in my car when you open and close the door does not work we have to get new light bulb for it , so I don't know if a door is closed or not . The handle that controls the lights were off too . Then a friend told me it could also be either the battery or the alternator. However, the police told me to leave alone for a good 15mins. And that I did . In fact I waited longer than 15mins to check the car . And it cranked up fine , so I left it alone for the rest of the day. This morning, i go check on it and see if it's driving normal and it shows that the engine was on C . I did research and it says it is suppose to be in between the H and C . As I drive it goes up slowly . When I used the break it made a noise then stopped , then it started shaking a little as I used the break. So i have no idea what is wrong with the car . Does anyone know what it could be so I can take care of it immediately because I'm a college student away from home. Thanks
You seem to have several concerns here, so let me try to address them one at a time.
- You are worried about the car starting up properly. Since the engine would not turn over when you tried to start it, then it started right away with a jump start, it sounds like it was only the battery you need to worry about. Either you left a light on or something else that drained the battery or the battery is old and is having trouble keeping a charge. If you experience this issue again and are convinced you didn't forget to turn off a light, replace the battery. It is likely not the alternator as this doesn't have any effect on starting the car and the car would have died soon after starting it up.
- As for the temperature gauge being between C and H, you are correct. At normal operating temperature, the gauge should be just below the halfway mark between Cold and Hot. When you first start the car, the gauge will stay at C for a few minutes, then creep up to the halfway mark as you drive it. This is completely normal and is what you want it to do. It doesn't sound like you have anything to be concerned with here.
- There could be many reasons for there being a sound when you hit the brakes. If it made a noise briefly, stopped, and hasn't done it ever since, you probably don't have anything to worry about. As for the shaking when braking, you should get it checked out immediately by a mechanic if it is severe. Check out this question for potential causes of shaking while braking.
As far as the battery issue goes - one other thing to check is the battery connections. Open the hood and look at the battery connections and feel with your hand if the two wires (positive and ground) are fixed securely to the terminals. A loose cable can cause intermittent problems because the normal motion of the car (going over bumps, etc.) can move/jog the cable enough to prevent starting the next time you try to use the car. This problem could lead to the symptoms you describe (unable to start, even though you didn't leave lights on or anything). Jumping the car would potentially work in this case because it could jog the cables enough to cause a better connection. I had this exact problem last weekend :) The solution is to remove the battery cables, clean the terminals and connectors (sandpaper works for this) and reattach the cables, making sure they are nice and tight.
If you do this, wear eye protection because the battery often sparks when you reattach the cables and this can (very rarely) lead to explosion of the battery gases.
After jump starting the car, turn on the head lights, heater, rear windscreen heater etc. if they all operate correctly, e.g the lights are full brightness and the heater fan sounds like it is running at normal speed, then your alternator is fine and the problem is your battery. If the lights are dim, then the fault is the alternator. After totally flattening your battery due to a faulty alternator, there is a good chance your battery will also be damaged now.