Possible pending electrical issue -- Want to get ahead of it
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Thread: Possible pending electrical issue -- Want to get ahead of it

  1. #1
    Nooblets
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    Possible pending electrical issue -- Want to get ahead of it

    I've installed a voltmeter in my car, and when I first got the car a little over a year ago, I would get readings of about 14.1v at night, with the headlights on and the ELD active. With the headlights off and the ELD inactive, I would get about 12.2-12.3v. I have noticed that slowly dropping, so that last night, I got 13.6v with the headlights on, and 11.9-12.0v with the headlights off, and today, both of those have dropped another tenth of a volt -- the rate of dropping definitely seems to be increasing.

    So far, I have not had any starting issues, and no factory warning lights are on, but I do notice that there is a little bit of "effort" when starting the car.

    So, one of the reasons to add gauges, other then the fact that they look cool, is to be able to see when certain conditions are developing and do something about it before you're stranded on the side of the road. I'm thinking I've got a weakening battery, because even with the engine off, but with the car on accessory (which means the alternator and ELD would not be in play), I'm getting about 11.9v, which is low. In my experience, a car battery should be closer to 12.5v with little or no load. Yes, there is some load on the battery when the switched to accessory, but the load should not be that much.

    However, I am open to input, as I like to have as much knowledge as possible before taking the car in for service. If it is the alternator, then my warranty should cover it, but I doubt it will cover a maintenance item like a battery.

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  3. #2
    Truck? What truck?! scottyrocks's Avatar
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    Although you got the car a year ago, how old is it? Is the battery original, or coming up on about 5 years? If so, the battery could definitely be on its way out.

    Have it load-tested at a shop or garage that knows how to do it (most do).
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  4. #3
    Platinum Member Teeps's Avatar
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    Start by validating the battery is still good.
    Make sure it is fully charged.
    Then do a proper load test.


    If the battery is over 3 years of service; there is a good chance that it's about to fail on the next cold morning.

    Also, it helps to know your location, year, model, trim level of your car; and, if there are any modifications.
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  6. #4
    Nooblets
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    Good point about the details of the car. It's a 2015 Honda Civic LX Coupe with a CVT. About 67,000 miles. Yes, quite a few accessories, but all are low current (no amplifiers or anything like that), with nothing new added in the past few months. Also, none of the accessories draw any power with the car off unless certain accessories are switched on (which they are usually not). The battery has a sticker that says "7/18", which I am assuming is the date of manufacture for the battery, which would only make it about 15 months old. I know that seems kind of soon for a battery to go out, but I have seen that happen before in other cars.

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    Platinum Member Teeps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    Good point about the details of the car. It's a 2015 Honda Civic LX Coupe with a CVT. About 67,000 miles. Yes, quite a few accessories, but all are low current (no amplifiers or anything like that), with nothing new added in the past few months. Also, none of the accessories draw any power with the car off unless certain accessories are switched on (which they are usually not). The battery has a sticker that says "7/18", which I am assuming is the date of manufacture for the battery, which would only make it about 15 months old. I know that seems kind of soon for a battery to go out, but I have seen that happen before in other cars.
    I would still start with the battery.
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  8. #6
    Greenhorn
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    Hi all. I would question why a (now) 5 year old car is on its second battery. Is the alternator going bad? Is the ELD going bad? Our 2006 CR-V ran an older battery to death, then toasted a new battery, all because the ELD was flaky. Had the alternator replaced then the ELD. Symptoms were dash gauges going on and off randomly and wild swings on the speedometer, etc. So now with a new battery, new alternator, and new ELD, it seems to be okay.

  9. #7
    Platinum Member Teeps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two_Civics View Post
    Hi all. I would question why a (now) 5 year old car is on its second battery. Is the alternator going bad? Is the ELD going bad? Our 2006 CR-V ran an older battery to death, then toasted a new battery, all because the ELD was flaky. Had the alternator replaced then the ELD. Symptoms were dash gauges going on and off randomly and wild swings on the speedometer, etc. So now with a new battery, new alternator, and new ELD, it seems to be okay.
    Batteries can be a crap shoot, these days.
    I've had them last 7 plus years; then the replacement craps out in less than 3.
    This was both motorcycles and autos.

    Your experience as posted above suggests a double or triple simultaneous systems failure. While not impossible are extremely unlikely; suspect faulty diagnosis.
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  10. #8
    Nooblets
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    Yeah, good point about why the battery was replaced so soon. For whatever it's worth, I believe the car was originally in Virginia, then was brought to Florida before I bought it. So, either the cold of Virginia or the heat of Florida could've had an effect.

    But at any rate, I took it to the dealer, and they did a load test on the battery and said it was fine. So, as long as it starts right up and doesn't throw any OEM warning lights on the dash, I won't worry about it for now. Plus, and this kinda makes me feel like an idiot, I saw the voltage drop to 11.7 today with the engine on and the lights off. So, I had my digital multi meter with me, and I parked and used that to test the voltage, and I got 12.6 at the battery and 12.4 at the power point/cigarette lighter socket (and the wire going to that socket is what I am using to power my accessories). So, it looks like it's just a wonky volt meter.

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