I'm going to be a ditzy teen girl for a moment....

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  1. Shanna11 profile image75
    Shanna11posted 12 years ago

    I went out to start my car today and it wouldn't start. After eleven years, the battery finally died, and being the teen girl I am, I know very little about cars. I found a friend with jumper cables who's willing to give me a jump, but beyond that I'm not sure what to do. How long will the battery last on a jump- namely, how long do I have before I have to get a new one? Can a car battery die while I'm driving? Are batteries specific to the type of car, or are they one size fits all?Should I just sell the car and buy a whole new one? (Kidding!) Any help would be much appreciated.

    Growing up in the motor city had no effect on my knowledge about cars, apparently. Thanks for any help!

    1. livewithrichard profile image72
      livewithrichardposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Get over to Autozone, there are plenty of them in Detroit, and ask the service desk to check your battery, they can also put it on the computer to pinpoint what is wrong with the car.  It may not be the battery and could be the alternator in which case buying a new battery will do you no good as it will deplete as well.

      The service guy will tell you exactly what you need and they will change the battery out for you if you choose to purchase one there.  This is a much cheaper alternative than taking it in for a mechanical diagnostic.

    2. Pearldiver profile image67
      Pearldiverposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Don't Worry smile

      As long as you attach your jumper leads to Size D batteries and then only jump no more than 8 inches off the ground when you start your jump... you will be okay for about 3 weeks and maybe 2000 comments from passers by! smile

  2. petersavage profile image60
    petersavageposted 12 years ago

    You should consider getting a new battery ASAP - unless you want to jump start the car every time you want to drive it. It can also be a very dangerous thing to do - batteries can explode or catch fire.

    The car battery shouldn't die as you are driving, the alternator will keep things ticking over.

    You will need a specific type and size of battery - best to consult a mechanic or car battery retailer.

    1. profile image0
      Website Examinerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Bad advice. Batteries can catch fire. Driving with a defective battery is unsafe.

  3. Eaglekiwi profile image74
    Eaglekiwiposted 12 years ago

    It is unsafe, but more people do it than you relise (jumpstart)I drove with an unsafe battery for 2 months.It is not uncommon, though not advisable either wink..

    ( An overheated engine causes fires, but ya see smoke before that)  plus you have a light that alerts you to a hot engine.

    It is a pain in the butt and huge inconveniece to ask someone for a jump lol

    I just couldn't afford to get a new battery, but I did need to get to work,so ya do what ya gotta do..

  4. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago

    This is interesting. When I drove taxis, the batteries were open cell, meaning that when they went flat and didn't hold a charge, you had to re-fill the cells with distilled water (cooled boiled for from the kettle did the job).

    You then had to charge it either by plugging it into a charger, or by a jump start, and so long as your alternator was working as it should, your battery was good for another few months.

    Now though, the batteries all seem to be closed cell, so that once they flatten, you can re-charge them but they become a risk because if their acid has gone, they are dry. Or maybe they don't have acid anymore?

    In my experience, batteries flatten because of a problem elsewhere - namely the alternator stops being efficient, or a broken wire somewhere stops it from charging.

    Fingers crossed it is only your battery that needs fixing Shanna smile

  5. Shanna11 profile image75
    Shanna11posted 12 years ago

    Thank you for the replies! I hope it's just the battery that needs fixing. =/ It's a sturdy car that's never had any trouble before. I've got an appointment with Autozone on Tuesday, and a friend who's going to jump my car for me right before I go. I'm just going to drive straight there and hope all goes okay.

    It's a four or five minute drive, mostly just because of stoplights, so I hope that isn't sufficient time for it to overheat. Good thing I don't have to drive between now and then.

    1. paradigmsearch profile image60
      paradigmsearchposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      This is a plug for Sears Diehard.

      It's the only battery that served me well.

      Avoid Walmart batteries like the plague.

      Just my illustrious opinion. big_smile

      1. Shanna11 profile image75
        Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Ahah, I don't know anything about batteries other than that they make cars run! How pathetic is that? Lol, I'm not sure what types of batteries Autozone uses. The car has had the same battery in it since we bought it in 2001-- it lived double what it should have, so whatever battery that was, was incredible!

        1. couturepopcafe profile image60
          couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          You got eleven years out of a battery. I'd say you got your money's worth. Buy the best sealed battery you can. Even the best isn't all that expensive. If you start to see corrosion again it's coming from your cables. Just clean it off.

  6. Randy Godwin profile image61
    Randy Godwinposted 12 years ago

    As Izzy said earlier, if the acid is depleted the battery won't hold a charge long and may not hold one long enough to get you where you are going.  Since all of the vehicles now use and AC alternator instead of the old DC generators, your engine may not perform well on a low charged battery.  Your battery is long overdue for changing.

    A word to the wise because I know several friends and relatives who have experienced batteries exploding in their faces while jumping or charging them.  Always connect the negative cables--those with the black clamps--last and do not hook them up to the battery terminals.  Hook the red ones directly to the + battery terminals. 

    Find a metal object which is connected to the engine or frame and away from the battery to use as the ground. Finally hook the clamp to this object instead of the battery.  In this manner, if there are sparks when making the final connection--as there usually are--it will not be in the area where fumes are escaping from the battery cells.  Be very careful as having hot battery acid explode in the face and eyes is not something you wish to experience.


    1. Shanna11 profile image75
      Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for that information! Acid battery is most definitely not something I wish to have splashed on any part of myself.

      Do you think that a jump would get me at least .79 miles to the Autozone that's replacing the battery for me?

    2. Eaglekiwi profile image74
      Eaglekiwiposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Cute snake R !!wink (And ya know how I feel bout them hissy things,lol)

      1. Randy Godwin profile image61
        Randy Godwinposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        It's a genuine "Ewbie", EK!  A snake throwing a "hissy fit"! smile


  7. Shadesbreath profile image76
    Shadesbreathposted 12 years ago

    It might also be that the charging system itself is failing. Have your mechanic test the starting/charging system. It may well be that the battery is perfectly fine. You can guess all day, but the way to solve the problem is to have all the related parts examined before deciding what to buy.

    1. Shanna11 profile image75
      Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I'll be sure to do that, thank you! I'm just worried about being able to get the car to the mechanic.

      1. couturepopcafe profile image60
        couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Lesson #1: Auto zone doesn't employ mechanics. They're technicians who use computers and gizmos to analyze your car.

        1. Shanna11 profile image75
          Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Really? Thank you for that! I honestly have no idea-- I just hear their commercials all the time and they were the closest mechanic that offered battery replacement.

  8. Aficionada profile image80
    Aficionadaposted 12 years ago

    I don't know the difference between the "old" type of batteries and the "new" type of batteries, so what I say here may need to be amended by more mechanically-minded people.

    I do know that with the older batteries, after a jump start it was best to drive for a longer distance (rather than a shorter one) because that would enable the battery to recharge itself.  A shorter distance would deplete the charge without renewing it.

    Izzy, Randy, can you help update this info?

    1. IzzyM profile image86
      IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It's the same with any car battery, once it is flattened, it needs a longer journey as that gives the alternator time to re-charge it fully (short journeys will only partly re-charge it).

      I'm saying old and new as if I know what I am talking about, but the taxi batteries you could open to top up the acid (of course you don't add in acid, you add in distilled water).

      I bought a new battery for the van last year and it is flat again. The fan belt squeals so the chances are that it is failing to adequately power the alternator which in turn is not feeding the battery enough.

      But when I suggested topping up the battery I am assured it is a sealed unit that can't be topped up. I haven't actually looked, as I really never go out these days!

      So anyway, seeing I don't go out, it can lie there forever unfixed as far as I am concerned - saves me having to pay for diesel for it smile

  9. Randy Godwin profile image61
    Randy Godwinposted 12 years ago

    There are still some batteries with places to top up the fluid with water.  If the fluid acid/distilled water is very low the battery will not hold a charge very long.  I've seen some cases where when the fluid is topped up the battery would then start the vehicle without the need for a charge.

    The solution may actually act as a connection, or completed circuit between the six 2 volt DC lead cells in the battery.  Without proper fluid the battery cannot operate efficiently at full voltage.  it is easy to check if the battery has fill caps or not and some can be topped up despite the lack of them if you know how.  Everything on my farm has at least 1 battery and most have 2, so I've had lots of experience dealing with all types of them.


  10. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
    BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years ago

    Hello Shanna11.

    You got some really good advice from the people here. The battery issue is covered real well.

    Like Izzy said, “Fingers crossed if it is only your battery that needs fixing.”

    Not to scare you, but my vehicle wouldn’t start about a month ago and it cost me $1500 to get it fixed and I was without it for 2 weeks. I went in to the shop to see what was up and there sits my vehicle, with no engine in it. Not a pleasant sight.

    You must not have AAA or similar service or you would have called them to start your car. Time for a lecture, young lady. I have a daughter around your age. An AAA card for her is a must for flat tires, running out of gas, locking your keys in your car, not to mention not being able to start the car. If they can’t get it started, they will have it towed to somebody who can.

    couturepopcafe is right. AutoZone is good for batteries, but not much else. You need to find a reliable local mechanic. Hopefully you won’t need one this time, but you might in the future, particularly since you have an older car.

    Hey, you don’t have a prom dress you want to sell, do you? I just wrote a hub on the subject of prom dresses. Due to expenses like the $1500 mentioned above, I am looking for an alternative to paying $500 for a prom dress like I have done the past 2 years.

    1. Shanna11 profile image75
      Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      AAA- Hmm... that sounds like a good idea. How much does the service cost?

      I seriously hope it's just the battery. The car had a full tune-up and service before I left for college, but the battery was the only thing not replaced. I can't afford any major 'operations' on a car that's worth just 5 grand. Auto mechanics make me nervous-- I'll have to shop around for one that I feel comfortable with.

      Unfortunately, I never went to prom. I never had any desire to go to prom at my high school just outside of Detroit... so I never had any dresses. I think  that some department stores like Nordstroms or Parisian sell prom dresses that aren't hideously expensive. But I could be entirely wrong. I know that a lot of my friends rented dresses from online companies, so that's an option.

      1. leahlefler profile image95
        leahleflerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I don't know what AAA costs now, but it was well worth it when I was in college. I had a 1986 Nissan Sentra that would die on a regular basis (various issues). As a young woman stuck in a parking garage at 11:00pm, AAA was well worth the cost! Being able to run across the street and use the pay phone (now I feel old) to get help was worth every penny - I do hope your battery is the only problem! Good luck, Shanna!

      2. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
        BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Shanna, well there you go. Take your car to Hardwire. Seems to know what he's talking about.

        AAA cost me around $100 a year, but I have Plus instead of Basic. It costs $20 to add a child 16-22. It's based on Zip Code, so the price would vary depending on where you live. You can go to AAA online and get a quick quote.

        Hey Hardwire, are you going to write some hubs on car care?

        1. Hardwire profile image60
          Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Not sure, are you being sarcastic?

  11. Hardwire profile image60
    Hardwireposted 12 years ago

    12 volt car batteries 101. Just a little about them.

    When submerged in acid the lead plates inside the battery begin a reaction that creates Direct Current electricity. While doing this, especially while being charged, they also will bubble and give off hydrogen gas which is what makes them so explosive. On a flat battery, especially one that's been dead for so long, more than a year or so, they begin to build up corrosion on the lead plates thus stopping the battery from taking or holding a charge. Also if the battery is low on acid the plates can short circuit across the top inside. This is where the danger of fire or explosion comes in however the acid in the battery that is that old is most likely just water by now anyways.

    I guess my biggest concern with your situation is that by now the battery would most certainly be low on acid, the plates could be warped and it is very possible it could have a shorted cell. (usually 6 cells for a 12 volt) If this is the case then the alternator will work extra hard in trying to charge that battery and could become damaged by the time you reach your destination. By rule a battery should be at least 75% charged or have a minimum of 11.75 volts by itself with no cables or chargers attached to it before attempting to start the car.

    As one other person said above, your car may not run very well on a dead battery, especially if it wont take a charge. I know from experience that cars from the late 80's to the mid y2k were very sensitive to the 11.75 volt minimum required by the electronic control modules and other circuits. Once the voltage drops below this value the ECM or Electronic Control Module will begin to malfunction or get confused. The problem with this is that even tho the car may run, it may not run well and could stall half way to your destination. Then your stuck with a car that needs to be jumped again and could possibly leave you in a tough spot.

    My best reccomdation (sp) is to have the battery replaced where the car sits. Don't even waste your time with that old of a battery by trying to recharge it. Chances are its going to fail at the time when you need it most and cause damage to the other cars alternator who is jumping it. As for the new battery, when ever we put a new battery in a car we always checked the voltage regardless if the manufacturer said it was already charged. They lose their charge just from sitting on the shelf. We would more often than not put a charger on the battery for a half hour at 10 amps or so just to be safe. If this is not done your alternator could overheat and be damaged. I would hope the guys at Autozone would know this fact. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor and I hope this was helpful and not too confusing...lol.

    Jamie B - Advanced Automotive Technician of 18 + years

    1. Shanna11 profile image75
      Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      That's extremely helpful, but also makes me nervous about getting the car to Autozone. What companies replace the battery where the car sits? If I can find anyone to do that, I'd do that in a heartbeat as opposed to trying to charge it and drive it in. Thank you!

      1. Hardwire profile image60
        Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Tripple A (AAA) may do somthing like that, but I'd want to look into it before comiting to the idea. Another option would be to have it towed, granted that’s a little more expence, but less expensive than the alternative imo. smile

        Just curious what kind of car is it? year?

        1. Shanna11 profile image75
          Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          2001 Toyota Avalon.

        2. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
          BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Shanna has a 2001 Toyota Avalon. I know because I have been stalking her.

          Lol. Actually, you people have me all interested in car stuff, so I was reading some threads in the Auto forum. I saw a post on the "Good Car For A Teenager" thread where Shanna said what it is.

          This girl who lived near me last winter had a 2001 Toyota Avalon, coincidentally. Nice looking car. I had no idea it was that old until she told me. Anyway, she kept getting it stuck where it was parked in the snow and ice. On perfectly flat spots. The tires didn't look that bad. She would come to see me with this sad look on her face. I tried to get behind the car and push while she was behind the wheel. That didn't even budge the car. I have a Jeep Wrangler and I fastened my chain to the hook underneath her car and pulled her out onto the road where she could get going. I did that at least 3 times. I will say we had a very bad winter last year.

          So Shanna, I know you have a hook under the front of your car where somebody can hook up a chain and tow your car. But DO NOT have somebody do this to tow your car very far. Not safe. I see people doing it all the time.

          1. Shanna11 profile image75
            Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Lol, I was slightly worried there for a moment...

            It really is a good car, and beyond this, it's never had any issues. I guess I'll just see if I can jump it and cross my fingers that it makes it less than a mile down the road to the autoshop. That's all I can really do at this point.

            If it doesn't, except a long-winded, over-exaggerated Hub on the ordeal.

            1. Randy Godwin profile image61
              Randy Godwinposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              For heavens sake, Shanna!  As cute as you are you should have no problem finding a young male to properly change the battery in your car!  It only requires 4 nuts to be removed and replaced to get the job done while your car sits in your driveway.  I can't believe it'd be that difficult to find such a person, even with the apparent lack of interest in automotive mechanics exhibited by today's young males.  smile


              1. Shanna11 profile image75
                Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                Haha, I did find a guy who's going to jump it for me. But I go to a school that has an unusually high percentage of pampered guys who come from well-off families. They know even less about cars than I do! It was hard to find one that even had jumper cables, let alone knows how to jump the car or change the battery.

                1. IzzyM profile image86
                  IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  You should get yourself one of them and store it in your car for emergencies -

                  http://www.amazon.com/Energizer-84020-J … amp;sr=8-4

                  Then, day or night (they have a built-in worklight) you can inflate a tyre when out and about, or boost your battery from the mains if you are at home.

                  1. Randy Godwin profile image61
                    Randy Godwinposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                    A guy or the booster?  lol


                  2. Shanna11 profile image75
                    Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                    Lol, I wish you were referring to a guy that I can store in my car for emergencies, but the booster looks handy as well. I'll have to start saving. tongue

  12. profile image0
    Website Examinerposted 12 years ago

    Talk about a tempest in a teacup...

    1. Shanna11 profile image75
      Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      What if it blows up and I die? What if my car just falls apart in the middle of the intersection? What if I climb out of my car and get attacked by an angry driver stuck behind me? What if....

      1. Hardwire profile image60
        Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        lol, its not going to be that bad Shanna. What Blackandgoldjack said about towing it yourself was a good idea and could be a backup plan. Just keep in mind though that you will not have power steering or power brakes so it will be harder than usual to steer and stop the car. Aslo its important to keep the rope or chain tight at all times during the tow. You can do this by gently riding the brakes and helping to slow the vehical ahead of you doing the towing.

        1. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
          BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I told her NOT to do that!

          If you told my daughter to do that, I'd hit you on the head with a tire iron. Now there is another important automotive related issue teenage girls should be quite concerned about.

          Shanna, if you happen to get a flat tire, do you really think you can get those lug nuts off with the tire iron that comes with the car? Not unless you eat a lot of spinach. What you really need is one of those 4-way tire irons where you can get some leverage.

          Shanna, what color is your car? You are aware that red cars start better than black cars, right?

          1. Shanna11 profile image75
            Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

            I have no idea if my car even has a spare tire. AAA is sounding better and better...

            My car is silver- and I was not aware of that in the slightest. I'm a bit ashamed about my lack of car-related knowledge. I wonder if my college has an auto class...

          2. Hardwire profile image60
            Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Noo, actually what you said Blackandgoldjack (needs longer name) was to not tow the car "very far". You did not make mention to not tow the car at all.
            And this comment..."If you told my daughter to do that, I'd hit you on the head with a tire iron" Seriously? hmm
            And whats with the red car verses the black car? That makes no sence, I hope you were just kidding.

            1. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
              BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              Hardwire, I heard Colin Cowherd say that a couple weeks ago on his show. He has that thing “The Herd” on ESPN radio and TV.

              And yesterday I’m listening to his show on the radio in the car. He said that men are more attracted to and willing to spend more money on a woman dressed in red as opposed to black or anything else. The source he cited was some scientific study done by the University of Rochester.

              In other words, red starts a man’s engine better than black, just like it does a car’s engine.

              Speaking of starting engines, where is Shanna and what happened?

              1. Shanna11 profile image75
                Shanna11posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                My friend jumped it and I made it to the autoshop, where I was immediately besieged by several men in their thirties. Apparently they don't get much business, but they were very pleasant and immediately went to replace the battery.

                I seized upon the opportunity and used my feminine wiles to ask them if they could swap out my license plates for me, since the bolts were rusted and I couldn't do it myself. They willingly acquiesced.

                Long story short, my car runs fine now, but the manager tried to tell me that in a car of my age and mileage (just 91,800 miles) I would need a brand new engine in a year, so I needed to start budgeting out 1200 dollars.

                But at that point, a young woman and her probation officer entered and my car was done... so I scampered off before he could try to get me to buy anything else.

            2. Hardwire profile image60
              Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              Blackandgoldjack, are you seriously trying to tell me that if there were two identical cars sitting next to each other and one is black the other red that the red one would start better then the black one, every time just because its red?

  13. dragnhaze profile image60
    dragnhazeposted 12 years ago

    You may want to have your alternator checked as well as getting a new battery, as the alternator is the number one cause to a battery dying.

    1. Hardwire profile image60
      Hardwireposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Not too sure about this one. I use Interstate Batteries in all my vehicals. They are amugst the top rated batteries. I will usally go through several batteries to an alternator. More like this is the other way around. A battery with a shorted cell is more likley to take out an alternator. Then when a new battery is installed people go..geeze maybe it was the alternator all along hmm *does face palm*

  14. BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image73
    BLACKANDGOLDJACKposted 12 years ago

    Hey Shanna, when this matter is resolved, you should write a hub entitled "What a Ditzy Teen Girl Needs to Know About Cars."

    Keys, what about keys? Do you have a spare key and where do you keep it? Do you have those keys with the computer chip?


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