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2 problems in 1 week. Help. I'm a girl too

Hi. On Sunday my 2007 Toyota rav 4 limited with 4 wheel drive stalled on me. Turns out it was the alternator. Every time the battery was given power it worked but stopped as soon as the cables came off. Replaced it with a new but cheap one. Now the car shakes. It started when I was driving from the mechanic. The first hour or so it shook like crazy when stopped or started. Now it shakes randomly. The check engine light is not on. Up until then there were no real problems. The car has 101k miles and gets regular oil changes. Please help! What could the new problem be? Also, any advice on finding a good mechanic? I always feel like I’m being ripped off but can’t tell you how.

Maybe this will help you find a good mechanic.

" stopped as soon as the cables came off. "

I hope you meant jumper cables and not the battery cables in the car.

Yes, I meant jumper cables.

You may need to have the alternator looked at now. Make sure the main connections in the charging circuit are clean and snug tight.

Testing the battery and inspecting/cleaning the battery cable ends might be a good idea and it’s something that should have been done when the alternator was replaced along with making sure the charging circuit has not blown a fusible link due to the failed alternator.

I might add that I may have misread the post and took it to mean that the not running when the battery cables were disconnected is a current problem.

When a battery is disconnected the computer will lose it’s adaptive memory. Untill the computer relearns this adaptive memory by driving the vehicle, the engine may run rough and the transmission may shift a little differently. As long as the Check Engine light isn’t on, keep driving the vehicle until the computer relearns it’s adaptive memory.


I’m not sure what being a girl has to do with your automotive problem, but ten years from now, if you’re asking yourself why you don’t get the same treatment as your male counterparts, remember this moment.

I fully agree with Tester, but I also think you may have a serious problem with your battery. The charge and discharge cycles cause a scale to build up on the plates of a battery as it gets older. The scale will flake off and start shorting out the plates, causing the battery to not hold a charge. Usually once this happens, its a once and done for the battery, but you could have this as an intermittent problem in the early stages.

The bad thing is that if intermittent, it could be missed by your mechanic. It could also be the reason that your old alternator went bad and it could ruin your new alternator as well. It could also be the cause of a change in the voltage level provided to the computer, causing it to go a little wacky at times and disrupting its learning cycle.

If this is an older battery, more than 4 years old, I would suggest that you get it replaced. If its the original battery, then it is going on six years old and really should not be trusted.

Unless I’m missins something, that battery’s over 5 years old. It’s time for a new one. Without a good battery, the alternator can’t do its job. They go hand in hand.

The first thing I’d check regarding the shaking is to make sure whoever replaced the alternator didn’t accidentally knock a spark plug wire loose.

I bought a new battery for my daughters saturn last summer at a parts place that does free battery swap. I asked are you going to use a memory saver? I got the what look but he went to ask one of the more experienced staff. The guy came with a battey saver and said I don’t mind you asking, just last week we did a honda without one, computer hosed, would not run right and we were on the hook for $200 for repairs…

+1 to @db4690. 5 years is average lifespan for an automotive battery. Time for a new one.

All good ideas above …

@Dearnina84 … the best way to find a good inde mechanic is to ask your friends, relatives, co-workers, fellow church goers, etc, anybody you have a personal relationship with, for a recommendation of a local shop they’ve used and had good luck. From among those shops, choose one that has the most experience with working on Toyotas. Then – this is the important part – when you arrive at the shop, tell the shop owner who it was that recommended you to them. This gives the shop owner to give you good service, as if you are not satisfied, the shop may lose business not just from you, but from those that recommended them to you.

The next thing is to remember that cars are complicated, and even the best shops won’t produce perfect results. They’ll say the car is fixed, and after you drive it a few times, you’ll discover it isn’t. Or something else isn’t working. There’s always a bit of a guessing game going on with car repairs, and some experimentation, swapping out of parts, etc, is usually the most cost effective way to discover what’s causing the symptom. But a good shop will continue without complaint to work with you to solve the problem, for as long as it takes, until you are satisfied with the results.

Re your specific problem, if this were my car the first thing I’d do is take it to one of the Big Box auto parts/repair stores (like Sears) and ask for a charging and battery system test. Usually this service is provided gratis by these places. Then, if the problem remains, post the results of the battery and alternator test and folks here will be happy to offer opinions.

It may be that the replacement alternator is no good. If it was binding up, that could cause engine shaking. There are a lot of reports here of offshore rebuilt parts having problems right after installation. Many auto parts stores have testing jigs that can test alternators. That’s another option. But you probably would have had to purchased the alternator there. Or you could just buy an OEM alternator.