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Battery Life? Mine keeps dying.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CruzrJenn, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. CruzrJenn
    Joined: Jan 2, 2013
    Posts: 17


    I acquired my '57 Turnpike Cruiser about 6 months ago. If I don't start it every couple of days, battery dies. Time for a new battery or is this normal?

    Is there somewhere I can find a date on the battery? Previous owner just said "a couple years old" but who knows...

  2. Rich427
    Joined: Mar 14, 2012
    Posts: 75


    SOmething may be draining the battery
  3. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    Usually the date is on the label, but if not who knows.

    Sounds like you may have what they call a "parasitic load", which is when something draws current from the battery when the car's shut off. You can check it with a voltmeter tool that can check current draw.

    Set it to the max "amp" setting, and remove your positive battery cable. Place one lead on the battery terminal, and the other on the battery cable. This makes any current go through your meter. If you have any current draw that's your problem. Fixing it involves tracing circuits to see what's drawing current when everything's shut off.
  4. CruzrJenn
    Joined: Jan 2, 2013
    Posts: 17


    OK thx

  5. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,719

    junk yard kid

    You can take the battery cable off and then touch it too the battery to see if it sparks but that can be dangerous. It might also need some water. YOu could try driveing the car then unhooking the battery and seeing if the car will then start in a few days when you hook it back up. That might tell you if you have a draw.
  6. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,263

    Deuce Daddy Don

    Just replace it!!----No more worries!!
  7. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

    If the seller said that it was probably 4 years old when you got it. 5 years is average battery life for a good brand. Car batterys start to bulge out on the sides when they are shot. It you feel any bulges replace it. You can check for a drain by unhooking the negatve cable for a few days and see it still drains. If so it's time for a new one. Batterys usually show their age and condition in the cold weather. Make sure you're getting at least 13.5 volts when the engine is running to check the charging circuit.
  8. scrubba
    Joined: Jul 20, 2010
    Posts: 938


    When I was doing AAA Motor club towing , I'd carry a Volt - Ohm meter handy . Yes , a 12volt battery would read 12. Have someone hit the starter . if the ohm meter goes past 8volts , you need a DECENT battery. Hey, that's been my experience . scrubba
  9. deeddude
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 127


    Get a battery tender. I have several and no battery issues, some of the batteries are a few years old. You can find these fairly cheap on the net.
  10. All of the above. I have used the spart test, never had a problem.. not to be done if the battery has a big surphur stink to it. I've draped a wet rag over the top of the battery too while doing the test. Make sure the doors are closed and the hood light is unplugged if you have one.

    My rule of thumb with batteries, if they're over 4-years old and give me a hint of grief, I replace it.

  11. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,353

    Dan Timberlake

  12. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    Check things like a glove compartment light or trunk light that may be on due to a stuck switch. Either one will drain a battery in a few days and you usually don't realize they are on. These would be types of parasitic loads.
  13. Mercchev
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 605


    ^x2...I have them on all my cars, haven't replaced a battery in years.
  14. BaBa
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 114


    X3 I have the solar ones on some of my equipment that I run very occasionally. They always start right up.
  15. acadian_carguy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2008
    Posts: 793


    You can do the checks listed, but chances are the previous owner said "a couple of years old" ...probably is more like 5-6 yrs old. There should be a sticker on it somewhere indicating the date purchased. I bet you just need a new battery.
  16. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Several ways a battery can be drained while sitting:

    1) The battery may be bad and internally draining itself. Shorts develop between the plates and it will cause the voltage to go down over time.

    2) Something drawing juice when the car is turned off. Could be some accessory or even a bad diode in the battery. My ex wife had a Buick that would run fine all week but over the weekend it wouldn't start on Monday morning. Found it was the alternator was backfeeding, replaced it and no more problems.

    To check for something drawing juice, disconnect the negative cable and put a 12 volt test light between the post and cable. If you have any glow at all something is on. You can keep removing fuses until the light goes out and that will tell you what the offender is.

    Your battery is probably just old. They do have a certain lifespan to them, here in Florida it is a few years because of the heat I think. Only true way to test a battery is with a load tester that you hold down the button for about 10 seconds while you watch the meter. A volt ohm meter only reads surface charge but a load tester stresses the battery to simulate real world conditions while cranking.

    Take it to Autozone or Advance Auto for a free test, that will let you know for sure.

  17. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,727


    I had a battery that would do that till finally it wouldn't hold a charge. It was only a year old. Took it back and the parts store gave me another one, no charge. That one lasted about 4 months and the same thing happened. Went back and got another. The last one finally lasted.
  18. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,480

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Unless there is something drawing current, then the new one will die too!
  19. I think somewhere on most batteries you'll find a date code branded or stamped into the plastic case of the battery. You may have to do a little deciphering but this may help.

    As already stated, if it's more than 4 or 5 years old it's probably cashed. If it's less than that and you find and fix a parasitic drain it might be worth recharging. But a standard home battery charger may not do the job. Some newer batteries have a higher internal resistance and really need a higher amperage charging rate initially to get the charging process started.
  20. No this is not normal. There is some good advice here but to just replace the Batt first isn't something I would do. First I'd check the water level in it if it can be done. If the Fluid is low it could be an indication of Over Charging. That will damage a Good new Batt in a short time. By all means make sure you don't have any courtesy lights staying on as mentioned. Also check for a sticking Brake light switch. All of these are not that uncommon with these cars. I currently Own 3 - 57 Fords and have delt with these issues before. So my advice is to find the problem before you start throwing $$$$ at the end result.
    The Wizzard
  21. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,121


    Good advice on the OHM meter. Small, easy to use and can be a great diagnostic tool too. It isn't just limited to use on vehicles either.
  22. I agree with the don't throw the baby out with the dirty water mentality.

    Drive the car to one of your local auto parts stores that offer battery testing,,you may have something that drains the battery or it could be time for a replacement.

    A battery tender is not a bad idea. HRP
  23. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    These days all batteries have a sticker on the side somewhere with a date code of manufacture. The are usually round and have A/03 (Jan 2003) or 6/99 (June 1999) style codes on them.
    The labels up top have provision for the seller or buyer to pick out a dot for month and year indicating date of sale.

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