I've got a Nissan Altima 1997. The other day it shut off while I was driving. First the headlights got real dim, the airbag light flashed on and off, the rpms started to drop, and then the engine just shut off while I was driving. I was able to jump the battery but it shut off on me again while i was driving. I brought the battery to autozone and they told me it was a bad battery so I bought a new one. Installed the new battery and everything was fine for a couple of days.
Tried starting it one day and it wouldn't start. I jumped it but ran into the same problems as before. I did a visual check on the alternator and the drivebelt seems just fine. It's in good condition and it has no problems rotating. I checked all the fuses and they're fine too. I can't get my car to a mechanic because frankly I don't have enough money to get a tow truck. Any help would be appreciated.
I just remember the air bag light going on and off just before all the lights on the dashboard started flickering and the engine dying.
The car has 185,000 miles and I received it when it had 165,000. Since receiving the car the alternator hasn't been changed so I couldn't tell you if it's a replacement. From the looks of it though it seems like the original alternator.
Replace it. The fact the car died while driving indicates the alt is at fault....more then likely the internal voltage regulator. While the car is running, the alt provides ALL power, not the battery. The battery is placed in a "charging" state. If i were you i would call around to some auto parts stores locally and price them out. Shouldnt be more then about $150.00 if that. Easy to install as well. Can you even start the car now, if the battery is dead? Do you have a multimeter to check the battery voltage BEFORE you try to start the car? If you do, check the battery voltage at the terminals first....record the voltage. If charged it should be between 11.3-12.5 volts.....If you can start the car, check the voltage again at the battery terminals, and record the reading. It should read between 13.5 on the low side to 14.0...maybe as high as 14.4. If the reading is above 14.4 or below 13.5 there is a problem. The alt needs to be at or near 14.XX volts in order to overcome the resistence of the 12 volt battery in order to recharge it AND power the car's electrical needs while doing so. Me thinks its the alt.
This is the definition of insanity. (Doing the samething over and over expecting something different to happen). I know this is frustrating, but if the battery is drained that low that you have to jump it to start the car, AND then it dies shortly after, the alternator is all that it can be. Again, if the alternator is healthy, once you get the battery jumped and the car started, it will continue to run. However if the alternator is not healthy, no matter how many times you jump the car, it will not stay running. You need to replace the alt.
Originally Posted by rpark
I must've jumped the battery about 10 times so far. Everytime i jump it, the car starts up and runs for a couple of minutes and then dies out again.
yep, sounds like alternator. Mine went out ~ 115,000 miles. Take it out, then to auto parts store for testing. I go to NAPA, but they're more $ for better quality parts.
beyond that, and it's not the biggest of your problems, but try soon to fully recharge the new battery using a ~6-8 amp charger, if you or your neighbor has one (I'd knock on doors even - if your short money).
Batteries, especially new ones can take full discharges (like what you've done) a couple or more times, then it starts to show on their lifetime duration. But the longer they're down in charge, the worse it is.
Any auto parts store, Sears, Harbor Freight Tools, Walmart has new chargers. $30?. Simple directions,
but read before hooking up if first time. Can last a lifetime. Sorry don't know your car knowledge; no insult intended
Yea the reason I jumped it so many times was to get the car home. Everytime I jumped it I would get about 5 blocks before it went out on me. I suppose the next step will be to take out the alternator so that I can bring it to an autoparts store for testing. I appreciate all the help guys.
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