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Old 05-20-2010, 02:40 PM   #41
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I usually turn on all lights, headlights on high beam, and AC fan on high speed. That is enough to flush out a weak battery. And then, there is a ultimate load test: the starter.

Monitoring the voltage under the above conditions, and then while the engine is running is sufficient to tell if the battery is "weak", or the alternator/regulator i.e. the charging system is the cause.

I once helped a friend with his battery problem. This was in the late 70s, during the oil crisis. It turned out that this chintzy guy adjusted his car idle speed so low that the alternator couldn't produce enough juice to charge the battery, and he drove mostly in town.
So, with the various current drawing accessories you mentioned turned on, engine off and voltmeter connected, what voltage would typically indicate a good battery and what voltage would indicate a bad battery?

Isn't the voltage across the battery with the car running going to be determined by the voltage regulator (frequently part of the alternator these days) so that even a bad battery will show the charging voltage as opposed to its own voltage?

Not saying you can't note anything of interest using a voltmeter. Just saying that, for me and the reading I've done, about the only thing you can reliably check with a voltmeter is the unloaded voltage after charging (wait about 15 mins after removing charger) to estimate percent of charge.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:51 PM   #42
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A good battery does not drop below 12V with all accessories on. And then, when the engine is running, even at idle, the voltage should be up to 13.8V or so.

By probing around the connections, one can also tell the existence of a poor contact, or a bad wire. One time, a friend of mine was asking for help with his BMW 320. His battery ran down in the summer. I showed him that his alternator was putting out the right voltage as measured right at its terminal, but the small wire they use to connect that to the battery caused too much voltage drop, and the battery was undercharged in the summer when his AC fan was run on high at night when the headlamps were also on.

It is true that only an actual load test can determine the battery capacity and cranking amps. However, a simple voltmeter reading at various points will tell you a lot more about your car than just the battery. And these are things that a battery seller wouldn't care about.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:01 PM   #43
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True... True....

.....

As to you wanting to 'return' a battery... I agree with Walmart on this... who knows what you did with it (just saying).... it has a replacement warranty... did you ask to have it replaced

....

I actually do see the point about it being a replacement warranty and not a refund policy on batteries. The same as I do agree with auto insurance companies raising insurance companies on everyone to make up for the customers who make fraudulant claims. Though not happy that's a reason why rates go up, understandable.

In my situation, I know that they installed a battery, then my charger indicator went on the dash, and I'm not comfortable with going to them again for service. I know, my choice. It still doesn't feel any better since the battery was less than one month old.

What I really want more than anything else, is to know that when I turn the key, the car starts. To have Walmart try again, in the back of my mind, I'd be thinking, what more problem could they cause this time?
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:13 PM   #44
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what more problem could they cause this time?
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:33 PM   #45
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That's a good one. Bungy cords holding the battery together.

Acutally, I left a bit out of my story as to why I definitely don't want Walmart to touch my car again. I'm sure not all Walmart car service is bad, but 1) in my situation, they said, about 20 minutes, it took about 90 minutes, 2) my front liscense plate had a plastic frame around it that was split. After they installed the battery, the top half of the frame was missing (must have snapped off), 3) when I picked up my car, I see this iron pipe tucked under the hood -- evidently, they had left a battery wrench or something. Sloppy, sloppy work. To add insult to injury, now I find out that the battery that they did install (according to Car-X) is junk. That's why I wanted my money back or store credit.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:30 PM   #46
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do you wait the your car battery gives out, or replace it more frequently.
Since moving to Louisiana fourteen years ago, I have had one car battery give out. That was the cheap-o battery that came with my Solara when I bought it new, and it gave out after 2-3 years.

Luckily, I was at work when that happened so a co-worker was happy to jump my battery. I drove straight to Auto Zone, where they checked the battery and determined it was no good. Then I had them install their best new battery. I spent a total of 10-15 minutes at Autozone. The new battery lasted for another 7-8 years until I sold the car.

Not bad considering the heat down here, which is supposed to be very hard on batteries. I don't own jumper cables.
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:42 PM   #47
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now I find out that the battery that they did install (according to Car-X) is junk. That's why I wanted my money back or store credit.
I understand that a place like Car-X wouldn't be where you'd go to actually find out what's going on with your car, but did they ever actually give you any kind of feeble attempt at a diagnosis other than the battery was "junk?"
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:21 AM   #48
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I understand that a place like Car-X wouldn't be where you'd go to actually find out what's going on with your car, but did they ever actually give you any kind of feeble attempt at a diagnosis other than the battery was "junk?"

I really didn't press for Car-X's definition as junk.

That battery was kind of like if I buy a pack of AA batteries and it doesn't work, and there's already corrosion on the terminals. Looks like junk to me.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:09 AM   #49
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I really didn't press for Car-X's definition as junk.

That battery was kind of like if I buy a pack of AA batteries and it doesn't work, and there's already corrosion on the terminals. Looks like junk to me.

Did you see the date that the battery was made Maybe it was a very old battery... OR... maybe it was a bad one that someone else brought in....

Now, if it looks new except for the corrosion on the terminal... then we are back to something wrong in your car... I have never see a battery have corrosion as quickly are you are talking about...
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:23 AM   #50
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As for the corrosion, I think the folks at Walmart who replaced my bad battery were too lazy (or incompentent) to clean off the old corrosion from the bad battery. I really didn't look at the date on battery. I do have an old car, so I'm thinking perhaps the matching battery was sitting on the shelf self-discharging in Walmart for a long time. How old or new it was, either way that didnt' work for my car. But now I'm ready to move on from my battery experience...$80 poorer, but wiser (I hope ).

I drove my car yesterday from the one I got from Car-x and all is working fine -- no battery light showing up on my dash
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:35 AM   #51
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Since moving to Louisiana fourteen years ago, I have had one car battery give out. That was the cheap-o battery that came with my Solara when I bought it new, and it gave out after 2-3 years.

Luckily, I was at work when that happened so a co-worker was happy to jump my battery. I drove straight to Auto Zone, where they checked the battery and determined it was no good. Then I had them install their best new battery. I spent a total of 10-15 minutes at Autozone. The new battery lasted for another 7-8 years until I sold the car.

Not bad considering the heat down here, which is supposed to be very hard on batteries. I don't own jumper cables.

I'll have to consider Auto Zone the next time. Didn't even think of them (wish I did) when I ended up going to Wally World.
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