2000 Saturn SC2 battery keeps dying? Bad battery? Alternator? Bad luck?

Hey folks! I’m a longtime lurker, sometimes listener, and otherwise someone who generally knows very little about cars (my poor Dad – I grew up with him always making me change oil, replace brake pads, and a radiator, etc. But I ran as far away from that as I could!).

Anyway, we’ve been having some weird battery problems as of late with our 2000 Saturn SC2 and I’d love to get some ideas.

Basically, a few weeks ago, either my significant other (or myself, ah hem!) left our dome light on one evening. So, of course the battery died overnight! A quick call to AAA and a few minutes later, we get a jump and our on our way! We drive around town to charge the battery for around 40 minutes or so and finally park at a Target to do some shopping. We come back, only to find that the battery was dead AGAIN!

Another AAA tech was dispatched, jumped the battery, said the battery might be bad but he couldn’t really diagnose the problem. Anyway, things have been mostly good for the past few weeks until the battery died YET AGAIN on Friday! This time, I left an iPhone charger plugged in after a road trip. Oops! We get it jumped again, and it seemed fine.

Anyway, last night, I put something in the trunk and was paranoid that I’d find the car dead. Fortunately, the trunk light came on and when I went to look for something, the dome light came on as well. I even double checked and made sure it was off before I left the garage. This morning, my girlfriend goes downstairs to start the car and it’s DEAD. AGAIN. Arggggh! No lights, no clicking, no engine trying to turn over.

What the heck is going on? Is it most likely a bad battery? An alternator? Do I just have bad luck with cars?

I’d love some ideas or suggestions on what’s going on. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your help!

Yes you probably just need a new battery. And by now, with all of this dying & then jump starting you’re working on killing the alternator. FYI: one job of the alternator is to keep a charged battery charged. But its really bad for it to basically use it as a battery charger. Many auto parts stores will test the battery & charging system for free.

So have the battery tested. But if it tests good then the next things to worry about are the cables/connections and possible sources of parasitic drain.

While you are having the battery and charging system tested, ask for a “parasitic load test” too…

40 minutes will not thoroughly charge a dead car battery, it takes several hours.
Get a small (under 5 amps) battery charger and charge overnight.

My dome light uses 0.99 amps of current or rounded off, 1/10 of an amp. If yours is similar and your battery has a typical 70 amp hour capacity, then a good battery will run your dome light for about 70 hours. Overnight is too little time; looks like you need a new battery.