My car has been having issues starting up. I had recently bought a new battery and a new cable terminal since the battery was about 2 years old and the terminal was cracked therefore, giving me trouble starting, or so I thought. I had went to pepboys because I had a flat tire and once they were done my car did not want to turn on. They checked the battery and they told me the battery is drained and something must be draining the battery since its brand new. They gave me a jump start and I went on my way home. In about a mile away the car started stalling and it finally shut off. I bought a new battery the day after and the car was running fine until a couple days from today the battery made the car shut off again. Is this a possible alternator issue? or can it be something else because both my timing belt and my alternator belt are extremely cracked and I dont hear the squeaky noise anymore.
Mazda Q&AAsk Your Question
1994 Mazda Protege Question: my car doesn't start
Answer #1Superbob January 25, 2011, 11:06Master
A little basic advice about car electrics, a battery's discharged, because there's a reason.
a) Battery's no good, it's worn out, damaged due to chronic undercharge or being overcharged or age (2 years is not an old battery - 6 to 10 yrs is an old battery, depending on conditions and quality).
b) Something like brake lights, a glove box or trunk light staying on. This is called 'ignition-off draw,' which causes a discharged battery. I have often found added accessories like sound systems not properly installed, causing ign-off draw. Common problem which will ruin a good battery in time.
c) Battery is not receiving sufficient charge, could be a worn or loose belt, failed alternator or bad battery terminal connections or cables or poor alternator power cable connection. This causes chronic undercharging, ultimately ruining the battery.
I think you may have answered your own question. If the alternator belt is so worn out that it's cracked, and it's so hardened and slick that it doesn't even squeal (why didn't you tighten or replace it way back - maybe save you a couple batteries, and the troubles?).
You need to replace the belts. I don't believe that you mean 'timing belt' because it's covered and you can't see it. Unless the cover's missing. I believe you mean the other drive belt, I think one belt turns the alternator and water pump, the other turns the A/C and power steering on your car.
I want you to understand that the belt which turns the alternator and water pump could break, not only causing the alternator to fail to charge, but causing the water pump to stop working, causing engine overheating and damaging the engine. When a belt is cracked or obviously slipping (squealing), replace it.
You can get new belts and, after getting the battery fully charged, have the alternator and battery tested professionally. This is best done at an auto electrical shop or a motor shop. I don't think the big boys usually work at parts store franchises (Sorry guys, but it makes sense). You need to go where technicians are in the business of repairing cars, not just selling parts and installing them - it's not the same mode of operation.
If you KNOW that the battery, belt, or the alternator or starter is faulty, yes, go to a parts place that works on cars. That's the most efficient and economical. You don't have to go to a motor shop for a battery or tires, if you know you need them. But if you don't know what the problem is, find out first from a pro and save time, money and maybe big repairs later.