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Old 03-01-2013, 20:25   #1
costanza187
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Car Problem Question... Just Throwing This Out

Unfortunately, I am getting some this info second hand because I was not there when it happened. We have a 2009 Pontiac G9.

As it stands, the car is rolling down the road and the battery light is on.

The best account I can get from my wife is the car would not start, all the lights on the car started blinking, all the way down to the lights on the steering wheel. Of course the car would not start. So she goes and gets somebody to jump start it and she drove it home. BUT the battery light is still burning.

Are we lucky enough for this to be a battery problem, or is it the alternator, (hope to goodness not) security system?

Actually she just pulled in the driveway and shut it off. At least the car is at home now.
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:32   #2
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First, clean the battery posts and clamp connections then try to start it. Then test the battery.

Sulfation of the Battery posts used to be a frequent problem in past years.

We used to test this by turning the car ignition off and turning on the headlights. Then turn the key to start. If it is a sulfated terminal, the lights will go out

Try the simplest things first.
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:41   #3
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I had a very similar thing happen to my truck. Blinking dash lights is often a sign of a dying alternator.

1. Check the battery terminals. Clean and retighten.
2. Check the system voltage with the car running. Both battery connected and disconnected.

Report back.
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:47   #4
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OK.... well this is what 2nd hand info is worth... it was an orange light that's an ENGINE... not a battery. Her response was, "well it looks like a battery". Complete game changer I am thinking.
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:40   #5
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That is the "Check Engine" light. A mechanic with the correct tool should be able to read the "code" and tell you what the problem is.
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Old 03-01-2013, 22:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by costanza187 View Post
OK.... well this is what 2nd hand info is worth... it was an orange light that's an ENGINE... not a battery. Her response was, "well it looks like a battery". Complete game changer I am thinking.
And women wonder why mechanics take advantage.

Pull the code and see what it is.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by costanza187 View Post
OK.... well this is what 2nd hand info is worth... it was an orange light that's an ENGINE... not a battery. Her response was, "well it looks like a battery". Complete game changer I am thinking.
Most women should NOT be allowed to drive a car.

This is scary stupid.

I'm sure glad you didn't waste time trying to diagnose the battery and charger system.

Many auto parts stores will get 'check engine' codes for free, and will tell you what they mean. I know that AutoZone does.

Good luck. Don't let her drive the car till you know what is going on with it. If more warning lights come on, like 'low oil', she'll just keep driving it until you need a new car.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:12   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushflyr View Post

1. Check the battery terminals. Clean and retighten.
2. Check the system voltage with the car running. Both battery connected and disconnected.

Report back.
This
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:25   #9
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An older(I know, not that old) car with a 'check engine' light is almost a non-issue. They are $$ generators for shops. Now if you have a red light, it can be a different story.

Maybe get it read for free somewhere. One can't be wasting $200 every other day on unneeded repairs & expect to get ahead.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:34   #10
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Now that I know it is the check engine light, we can take it somewhere and get a code. The thing that really alarms me is the fact the car would not start. However, it did start back up easily when she got it home. After it was parked I got to thinking, uh oh...what if this thing has to be towed out of here. THAT is when I saw it was the check engine light was burning, NOT the battery light.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:21   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushflyr View Post

2. Check the system voltage with the car running. Both battery connected and disconnected.

Umm, do not do this.


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Old 03-02-2013, 06:34   #12
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Newer cars require a minimum voltage of 13.4v to run all the electronic crap . Anything below that it shuts down. I had a similar experience on a 92 Grand Prix with a 3.4 Quad cam v6 and mine was alternator. I had a buddy bring me a fresh charged battery. It could get me about 8-10 miles before it would die again.... Took 3 batteries to get home that day . Replacing the Alt was a 8hr 2 case beer job. ..... I've never hated a car so much in my life as I did that one... That car was the reason for my absolute disdain for FWD cars...
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:38   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushflyr View Post
I had a very similar thing happen to my truck. Blinking dash lights is often a sign of a dying alternator.

1. Check the battery terminals. Clean and retighten.
2. Check the system voltage with the car running. Both battery connected and disconnected.

Report back.
Bad info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NailShooter View Post
Umm, do not do this.


Nail
I completely agree with NailShooter.

Running an engine with a battery disconnected is the fastest way to do harm to the electrical system in your car/truck, up to and including 'frying' the diodes in the alternator, and/or damaging the car's computer.

Ever heard of "Alternator Death"??

A battery - even a 'dead one' is a ballast or 'load' on the charging system.

Running an engine w/o the battery connected will FRY the diodes in the alternator.

Also, giving a jump-start to another vehicle, without having the 'charging' or 'jumping' vehicle running, will cause "Alternator Death", too.
(Don't ask me how I know this!)
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:56   #14
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Quote:
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And women wonder why mechanics take advantage.

Pull the code and see what it is.
Yup, all mechanics are dishonest and just waiting to pounce on poor, unsuspecting, women.

As for the OP, get the light diagnosed. Some cars will trip the light when there has been a low voltage event, which is simple enough to clear and move to testing the charging/starting system.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:08   #15
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G9? I'm familiar with Pontiac's G3, G5, G6, and G8, but no G9.

Oh yeah, good chance you just need a new battery. How old is the one in there?

Last edited by method; 03-02-2013 at 09:12..
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:11   #16
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Damn! My wife's M&P Shield is in and I went out to the garage to take my 2010 Acura MDX to pick it up and it did the flashing dash light thing too! I had an alert about a month ago that the battery needed to be replaced but figured it was just operating off time because it seemed to be strong and the voltage looked fine on the gauge.

Charging it right now at 12A and hopefully will get it started and to my buddy's tire shop where they sell Interstate batteries. Either that or have him bring it to me.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:12   #17
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I guess that teaches me that when the MDX tells me "Hey dip****, it's time to replace X" I should probably just do it...
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:24   #18
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Auto Zone and Advanced Auto will do a code check for you free.

Add: And they will test your battery and I believe the alternator free also.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:31   #19
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Update: Sorry yes.. it is a G6, last night in my frenzy, I used the wrong name...it is a 2009 G6.

Fired up the car this morning... started up quickly, no check engine light.

Drove the car around a bit, starts up... no check engine light. Went to Autozone, they said the battery and alternator are fine...can't diagnose a check engine light that won't burn. The car has been driven all over town, shut off and started a few times, no problems, no check engine light

The guy at Autozone said that that usually check engine and battery are not connected, but possibly if the battery had been run down, it might trip the check engine light to say something had been wrong. It was his only guess. He said that a phone can run down a battery.

I called her and asked her was the phone charger plugged in when she had the problem, she replied "yes, I had been using it". MAYBE, if you leave a phone on a charger for 8-9 hours, it could run the battery down? I dunno.

Kind of odd, the car seems fine now.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:32   #20
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Got a new battery installed in the MDX. I was able to get enough charge in the old battery to get me to the store. Fortunately an MDX can handle having the battery disconnected for a few seconds without losing everything. All it needed was the security code and everything was pretty much there except stored GPS addresses which kinda sucks. They didn't have a cigarette plug adapter that could provide enough power because the MDX only turns on those plugs when the key is in ACC position, which means running lights and all sorts of other stuff is on too.

So now you know, it's not critical to maintain 12V while swapping a battery on an MDX, as long as you know your security code. Apparently it uses the hard drive in the nav unit to keep settings backed up. Didn't even need to reprogram my garage door button.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:36   #21
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So many things can be tied into a check engine light. Did you hook up a scanner to it, even without a light there can still be a stored code.
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Old 03-02-2013, 17:11   #22
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It should have had a "history" code in it for 40 drive cycles after the light goes out. It could have cleared itself, though, if the battery went dead again after the light came on.

A small electrical draw can cause modules to stau awake, creating large draws. I've seen led lights keep the body computer awake with the key off, this will discharge a weak battery overnight.

If I'm not mistaken, GM cars need the key on for the accessory plug in to work. If the key is on, there is enough draw to discharge the battery in a short amount of time.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:10   #23
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My 2003 GMC truck has a 'hot' charging plug even with the key out. Of course I about never leave the phone charge with the engine off. That could be an issue if someone left a phone charging with the vehicle off for a good while.

A bunch of short drives with no charge time could possibly run the battery down.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:07   #24
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It's a definite that the accessory plug will still charge while the key is out.

We used to have an old Dodge van that the when he engine was off the plug would not work. It is the only vehicle I have ever seen that was that way. Best feature (I think it's a feature), I've seen for my purposes in the world of phone chargers/GPS etc... I always unplug that stuff when I am not driving the car. It would be handy to leave it all plugged up all the time.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:24   #25
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I tend to be a bit proactive when it comes to our vehicles.
THey're all serviced religiously and the one thing that is a must for any vehicle is a good, strong battery.
All of our vehicles are garaged 100% of the time unless they're being driven and the "summer" vehicle batteries are on battery tenders.

Even with this, I replace our motorcycle batteries after two years and our vehicle batteries after four years.
For me, trying to get that last start or another season out of a battery that costs less $90, and ending up stranded isn't worth it.
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