I've had my 97 civic for a year now and the battery died about 3 months after I bought the car. Each time it died, I'd kick start it, drive for a few days, then it would die again.

So I went to the electrician who told me that the battery is not keeping the charge and should be replaced. When I replaced it a few weeks in, that battery died as well. This time I went to a different electrician who tells me to have the dealer give me a better battery, because that battery isn't keeping the charge either. He did say that everything else seems to work fine. Could it be that there is something wrong with the car and not the battery?

Once the car switched off while I was driving and I had to wait two hours to kick start it and go home.

  • When it won't start does anything work, lights horn etc.? Does the engine click or try to turn over?
    – mikes
    Jan 31, 2014 at 13:21
  • the lights work, the horn comes and goes all the time, that's another issue I think. I do get a clicking sound from behind the dash if I try and start it normally on the passenger side (around where the battery is) Jan 31, 2014 at 13:32
  • Does the problem occur more often after you have driven awhile? As in it starts every morning but won't start after a 15 or 20 minute drive?
    – mikes
    Jan 31, 2014 at 16:23
  • You should take it to who sold you the battery, tell them what the second electrician said, and ask them to check it for you. Feb 1, 2014 at 2:15
  • @mikes no it's not a recurring problem. well, it only happened once while I've driven, every other time it only doesn't start up once It's been standing a while Feb 3, 2014 at 8:07

3 Answers 3


Did these electricians check your voltage with it turned off and when it is running? Should be about 10-12 volts dc when turned off and about 14-15 volts when running. You can check this yourself with a cheap multimeter from a hardware or parts store. It could also be your starter. Some develop dead spots as they get older. That clicking sound is either your starter relay or your starter solenoid. The other thing to check is the ground wires or straps. One should go from the negative on your battery to the engine or body. There should also be a ground from the engine or battery to the body.

  • 2
    You might want to update you answer ... A good battery should read around 12.5vdc when the car is off. Most vehicles charge at around 13.5-14.4vdc, depending on engine speed. If the battery is down in the 10vdc range, it needs recharged or replaced. Other than that, your answer has good advice. Jan 31, 2014 at 20:48
  • yes, the first guy check it, and then he asked to start the car as well Feb 3, 2014 at 7:55

Maybe you might want to check to see if you have an issue with one of your electrical components constantly draining your battery (whether your vehicle is on or off). If you have not already, you may want to get your alternator and starter checked for shorts.

If your battery is "new" and should be working fine, and you had technicians check your alternator and charging system, it sounds like you have a dysfunctional part somewhere in the system that is either shorting out or constantly draining your battery, i.e. some sort of light, door lock system, media player system, etc.

You can test this by using some sort of test light or multimeter and testing the battery/connections for drain while the car is off. Vehicle computer and clocks will normally have a small amount of current draw while the car is off, but most other components should not be drawing any energy. Find which wire is the culprit and find the source. Afterwards, you can try removing the fuse associated with the device in question when you have the car off to see if that stops your battery from dying. If the battery still dies, then there is probably a short to ground. If the battery stops dying, then you have correctly identified/localized your issue.

  • boo your opinion! Mar 4, 2014 at 13:15
  • sorry? did you try getting the old battery tested after you replaced it? Mar 4, 2014 at 21:50

The issue described is very common and one that I too have experience with. Luckily the solution is very simple and costs around ten dollars. An electric wire is simply a conduit, just as a pipe that carries a fluid. If the pipe is clogged, the fluid won't flow. On your car, the negative battery cable is corroded somewhere inside the insulation. Electricity is not returning to the battery from the alternator, since the circuit won't complete. Replace the negative battery cable.

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