I own a 1998 Dodge Stratus (ES Sedan 4D, 2.4 liter, automatic) and driving to a restaurant on Friday I ran over a rather nasty pothole. It had once had a metal plate over it, but it was 3/4 of the way uncovered and I hit so hard that the front of the car bottomed out hard on the pavement. I made sure I hadn’t popped a tire and was on my way. Later that evening I got back in the car to go home and the battery had died suddenly. I knew I had not left any lights/systems on in the car. I got a jump and the car made it home, clicking, with lights flickering and gauge needles wobbling the whole way.
I left it for the weekend, and tried to assess the situation further after work on Monday. The battery in the Stratus is located under the driver’s side wheel well, so I removed the cover to check if there were any loose wires/connections and there weren’t. I got the car jumped and made it to an Advance Auto Parts to have the battery tested (again with clicking, flickering lights/gauges). Right before I got there, the battery light in the dash turned on.
The battery was tested almost completely dead, and it took about 30 minutes to get to the AAP from my house. It wouldn’t jump again, so I had to get AAA to tow it back to my house (It took the AAA guy about 5 tries to jump it using his tow truck’s battery, and it lasted long enough to drive it up onto the truck bed).
I didn’t want to buy a new battery, in case there was something wrong with the alternator and the new battery would just get sucked dry like the old one.
I am wondering if anyone has any ideas about what might have happened. It seems strange that a battery would just die so suddenly with no warning and I don’t want to get ripped off at a mechanic because I have no idea what might have happened (I don’t know much about cars except for really basic stuff.)
Thanks for your help! - Lisa