3

2015 Kia Forte

I’m hoping people can throw some ideas to this one, we are really struggling to pinpoint the issue. Many thanks in advance.

Issue Summary:

Intermittently, while driving, my car will experience a low voltage incident (seemingly no rhyme or reason why, but I will list the approximate dates and conditions under which this has occurred). My check engine will throw a P0562 - system voltage low error code. In these low voltage experiences the following will occur:

  • Lose power steering (and power steering warning light comes on)
  • ABS, Power Steering, Parking Brake/Break fluid, ESC warning lights will all eventually come on if ran long enough during low voltage event, but typically it’s the Power Steering, ABS, and check engine lights that come on first
  • After the event occurs and the car is shut off, the car will not restart (dead battery) After the event, generally speaking, simply jumping the car will resolve this issue for months at a time. There are two known exceptions (will detail in list of occurrences).

Low Voltage Occurrences:

September 2022: After having to heavily apply the break for a quick stop, low voltage event occurred. Made it to nearest gas station to stop. Once stopped, car would not restart (as if battery was dead). Jumping the car immediately resolved the issue and had no issues until the next occurrence.

November 2022: First really cold morning of the season, car started up fine, but within a quarter of a mile, voltage event occurred. Circled back home, turned the car off and it wouldn’t restart (again, as if battery was dead). Later that afternoon (6-8 hrs later) WITHOUT jumping the car, or doing ANYTHING to it, it ran again just fine, until the next occurrence.

April 2023: After running the car through a car wash, we sat in a parking lot and messed with the lights (practicing turning them on and off, high/low beams, etc. because my daughter was just about to go take her license test), while doing this, we experienced a low voltage event. Jumping the car (we also let it charge up for about 15 minutes) resolved the issue until the next occurrence. Note: In the days after this occurrence we tried to replicate the issue, messing with the lights every way we could, maxing out a/c, radio on, etc), and no issues would occur.

August 2023: Shortly after leaving the school parking lot, my daughter experienced a low voltage event. We were able to jump the car (didn’t let it charge long, maybe 5 mins max), and it started right up. After driving it about 2 miles, low voltage event occurred again (a first, as one jump usually resolves for months at a time). I was able to make it home, once home, we simply jumped the car (no extra charging time) and it’s been good so far since.

Things to note:

Battery was purchased in April of 2022.

Power steering is electric.

As of today, when idling alternator reads at about 13.1 volts, goes up to 14 volts when gas is applied.

Husband did a check of all wires leading to the battery (that he could possibly see) and everything looked good.

Car was taken to a shop in March of 2022 due to a rough idle issue. They couldn’t figure out what it was but suggested it could be the alternator pulley. They replaced the pulley. After they replaced the pulley, the alternator itself would no longer work and they had to replace it. Additionally, when they worked on my car, they unplugged the battery. In doing so, they somehow stripped the positive terminal and didn’t do the basic check of pulling on the cables after it was plugged back in, resulting in my battery disconnecting on the drive home from the alternator replacement.

Ever since the alternator issue my car didn’t feel the same, almost as if it was under powered (e.g. the power steering felt tight, as if it was always somewhat on the edge to go out). I know this is vague, but just doesn’t feel the same. I had the car since I purchased it new in December 2014, so I know the car well.

In November of 2022 I took it back to the same shop to mention these issues and that the rough idle was still an issue. They resolved the rough idle issue by replacing ignition coil #2 and splicing a new pigtail. They said they tested everything (alternator, battery, etc) and could find no electrical issues.

2
  • 1
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 13:02
  • 2
    Main electrical systems rely on clean, snug connections. More today than a few years ago. In order of current demand from highest to lowest; starter, electric steering, ac, abs, lighting. Electronics demand a well regulated voltage between 12.5v to a maximum of 15v with the alternator regulating an average of 14.5v. Crucial to electrical systems are the main battery cables and their connections including two negative connections - battery to chassis and chassis to engine block. Your repair shop fumbled on damaging the battery positive cable, adding to intermittent low voltage problems.
    – F Dryer
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

3

This very much sounds like your battery has an internal short which is intermittent. It could be the plates are coming in contact with each other some how and causing the short. Then when you jump the battery, it corrects itself. Sometimes when an internal short occurs, it is light enough to just barely be shorted. When a new power source is introduced, that short is eliminated allowing the battery to work again until the short re-occurs. This would be very hard to diagnose, but may be able to be shown while the battery is in the shorted mode with a battery health check.

6
  • Please forgive me for any stupid questions, I have very little auto knowledge, but if I understand you correctly, and that is the issue, if we took the battery to like AutoZone to get it tested (but when it was running fine, e.g. after it was jumped again), the battery would test as ok/no issues, but in reality it could have an issue with an internal short, correct?
    – jenhil34
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 16:21
  • @jenhil34 - First of all, not a stupid question ... it's very valid. Second, that's exactly right. It's the reason I said it would be "hard to diagnose" and for exactly the reason you stated. Realistically, it is the only scenario which makes sense. I've never seen it happen personally, but have heard of it from others ... we've had a couple of similar questions on here before concerning something similar. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 16:29
  • Thank you for your kindness. This would make sense. We got a battery right about time of the alternator issues. Do you think it would be worthwhile to rig a voltage meter inside of the car to watch for any trends, or just go ahead and try a new battery?
    – jenhil34
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 16:46
  • 1
    @jenhil34 - It really depends on your pain threshold and your pocketbook, I guess. It sounds like the issue does not rear its ugly head very often, but I'll guarantee you when it does, it will be at the most inopportune time. Murphey loves to make fools of us all, especially when we aren't looking. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 17:44
  • True. I am going to go ahead and mark this as the answer. It's a frustrating thing, because we aren't really going to know if it works for a long time since this doesn't happen but a handful of times a year. I guess if it goes for a year without issue we are in the clear. If it happens again though, I think we need to start checking sensors to see if something is telling the alternator to stop or something? Wish us luck, and again, many thanks for your help!
    – jenhil34
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 11:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .