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Q: battery or alternator problem? on 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser

About two weeks ago I went to start my car to go to work on Monday and it was completely dead, wouldn't turn over altho the lights and radio worked fine (only a clicking noise when I turned the key). I got a jump from my daughter and after driving around for 30 minute, went home and turned the car off. It worked fine for two weeks, then died in the driveway once again. I after consulting a couple friends (former mechanics) we decided it was a bad battery cell, so again got a jump from my daughter. Drove straight down and got a new battery installed from Elliott Tires on 4th (they matched the lowest price I found). I'm worried that might not have solved the problem as the battery & oil check lights still light up when I start the car (but do not stay on). I must add that I did not notice those two lights being on before the first time it died, but they were on when I first jumped it....and I discovered I had no oil in the car at that time so immediately put 4 quarts in - but had no signs of leakage on carport or driveway what so ever. I've been told that if I want to get an electrical diagnostic it will cost me between $45-85 - which I don't have right now. Should I be worried? I've been lucky it died both times in my driveway. I must add that I've had no problems with the car before this - altho I do need a tuneup (when I can afford it).
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i'm wondering what you did , I'm having the same problem
I have a 2005 pt cruiser base with 58000 miles, so i turned on the car the check engine turned on , but I kept driving and at my street corner my battery light turned (also i felt that it had trouble idling like if it wanted to turn off because the rpm was to low), again I kept driving and went on the freeway then i felt the car wouldn't shift gears at 40 miles per hours its rpm was at 4k (i tried putting the car in 3rd gear but it made no difference) then the lights inside the car shut off and then the car turned off.

Once i got towed home i installed a new battery from napa, the next day i decided to try again. When i turned on the char the check engine was on, still i got on the freeway again and drove. 5 miles afterwards the battery light turned on again and had to turn back.

Finally the day after that i turned on the car, check engine light on at my street corner (.2 miles) the car had trouble idling (low rpms) a few feet after that the battery light came on and then the car turned off. I parked waited a minute or two and turned the car on and went back home.
Because it was thanksgiving day and we wanted to cook something for dinner, I tried again turned on the car this time both the check engine and battery light were on, and i went on a 3 miles roundtrip to the store. and got back safely.

anyone has any idea whats going on ? my dad thinks its the alternator
the only mechanic open today near davis, ca wants 90$ for diagnostic and repair cost on top of that (i tough most would give me the diagnostic as credit towards the repair) but i also tough many code scanners cost like 90$

I checked and found I was out of oil...seems there is some sort of safety thing where the car shuts down until you fill up the oil and then it starts up like a charm after a couple hours. Who knew!
If your battery light turns off after a couple seconds you should be ok. Here's a good article on the charge light, it's a little techie but it may help you understand what is going on. When you start the car, it will typically stay on for a couple seconds before turning off. It's only a problem if the lights comes back on while the engine is running or if it never shuts off. A battery typically lasts 3-5 years before it gets weak and won't hold charge in cold weather.

The oil light acts the same way in most cases. It should turn off after a couple seconds. Sometimes the light is for oil level and sometimes it is for oil pressure but either way, you did the right thing by checking the oil. I am curious though, was it really 4 quarts low on oil? Have you checked the dipstick? The little 4 cylinder in the PT only holds 4 or 5 quarts. hope this helps
The oil & battery light indicators NEVER came on except for a split second before the car died the first time, which is why I'm still worried. Yes, when the car died the first time the first thing I did was check the connections to the battery and then checked the dipstick - it was completely empty - which I'm ashamed to admit as I get the oil changed (low milage as I don't drive to/from work much) at least once a year and go to the free top-off when ever I drive by a Jiffy Lube. This time it'd been a few months. When I got the new battery I also got a complete oil & filter change.
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