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It takes me 2-3 attempts to start my car the last few days. Yesterday it didn't start at all (no noise, but the lights/radio worked) and started after I got a jump and pumped the accelerator. I'm not sure if this is relevant, but a few weeks ago the Radio would only power on sporadically. I checked all the fuses and they were fine, the mechanic said I have a "bad unit" but it's been working fine since then. Also it recently got cold where I live (30F at night). The carfax says the battery and alternator were replaced 3 years ago, and I didn't see any corrosion on the terminals. 2 days ago the Maintenance Light came on for the first time. Car is a 2008 Rav4 4 cylinder.

So do you think I need a new battery? Or is it another component?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! If the engine light came on, did you get the codes read? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 17 at 1:06
  • Welcome to the Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair forum. We're all passionate car owners so you'll get lots of good advice here. – Bevan Jan 17 at 6:19
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Welcome to the Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair forum. We're all passionate car people so you'll get lots of good advice here.

From my experience as a parts sales and technical support person, I'd say you have a Calcuim based battery and that it went flat recently (lights left on?). They never charge back up to 100% capacity on the car, it needs a special battery charger which your mechanic should have. Net effect is it's like trying to start a car with a torch battery! 3 years with cold nights would definitely shorten a Calcium battery life-cycle.

I assume the 'bad unit' the mechanic refers to was the battery? As @Paulster2 says, the codes should tell the mechanic "low voltage fail" - which you already know. I'd be externally recharging the battery as a first stem, and replacing it if unsuccessful.

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