2012 Chevrolet Equinox on 6th battery

I bought this new in 2012. I am on my 6th battery because every nine months to a year the car will kill a cell in the battery and it will need replaced. nobody can figure this out, not even the tech guys from GM. does this sound like something that should be happening? I don’t think so.

Exactly what happens when you have to replace the battery. Does it just fail to start? does the starter turn?

Have you had the parasitic current checked? that is the current draw from the battery when everything is turned off, after an hour or so. It should be 50 mA or less.

I had a car where the dome light would sometimes stay on when the car was parked. If I didn’t use the car for a few days, the battery would be drained, and a drained battery usually has been damaged.

edit: hopefully you are keeping records so you can hold the dealer responsible, assuming this started while the car was under warrantee.

You could check the current draw when off, or have it checked. That could be a battery killer. Has the battery needed to be jumped often? https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/car-technology/a5859/how-to-stop-car-battery-drains/

In addition, get yourself a little voltage reader that plugs into the accessory port for $15, and read the voltage being put out by the alternator. If it is too high, it could be over-charging the battery all the time if the voltage regulator has failed. It might be intermittent so need to check quite often. It’ll also tell you what your battery voltage is at rest and you can see if it has failed or not.

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I have a 2013 Equinox with 68k. Still have the original battery with no issues. I have one of those voltmeters that plug into an accessory port. I used it this morning on the drive to work. When I start the car the voltmeter reads a steady 14.8 - 14.9 volts. About 15 minutes into the drive the voltmeter reads 14.1 to 14.5 volts. I’m assuming these are the normal readings.

My guess is your alternator is overcharging the battery, but I would think it would not be this hard to diagnose. Perhaps a second opinion would be in order.

Ed B.

Those are normal readings, it is not overcharging.

The initial voltage is high as the alternator delivers more current to the battery to make up for the charge lost by starting. Once that is made up, the charge rate drops, thus the lower voltage reading.

I get about the same numbers on my car with a 4 year old battery.

Most of the suggestions I could make have pretty much all been made. But let’s bottom line it here. No, of course you shouldn’t be going through batteries like that. And yes, it could be overcharging, undercharging, excess starter draw, poor ground or grounds here and there or any number of other things. I think the best advice would be put a volt meter in the car, either the ones that plug into the lighter or rig up what you’ve got and monitor it. Before you start it should read like right around 12.5 volts. If it’s pegging up around 15 volts or more after it starts, your starer is taking way too much power to start. I just had to change mine over that…of course I had just had major back surgery so it was a huge pain. It’s very common for the windings in a start to start getting messed up. Little dead stops will develop and it’ll still work and might not even sound any different or be any slower but it’s taking a lot more power than it’s supposed to in order to get the motor to start.

There are other things to think about like stuff running in the background will use juice, you couple that with living in a cold climate, not driving the car long enough to recharge it, not driving it often enough to put enough back into the battery, poor grounds, maybe a light that’s supposed to shut off but is still running…you name it, there are way too many possibilities to list. But it doesn’t take much to kill a battery nowadays. They used to last a good ten years with proper maintenance. Now they can ready for the junkpile ina couple of years even if everything about the starting and charging system is good. They started a few years back doing something different due to new EPA restrictions…something about the chemical used in making it or what’s in battery acid now…can’t recall exactly. But, they’re not going to live as long as the older batteries did. The one in my 57 dodge has been in it for 15 to 18 years and I don’t even charge it over the winter, I just fire the car up a few times over the winter, (I live in Michigan), and it lives another year and another and another.

Good luck,


Overcharging/undercharging, excessive loading, parasitic drains, overheating, vibration and quality of the DC feeding it.

One would assume a fairly competent mechanic would have checked a number of those.

Is the battery loose in any way? Vibration will kill the battery.

Have you added any significant load above the factory equipment?

What is your typical usage? Very short trips with a lot of sitting in-between for example?

What is your climate like where you live? Is it very hot?

Has anyone used an oscilloscope to LOOK at the DC recharging the battery? Excessive ripple is not good and may not show up on a standard voltmeter.

Just some thoughts…

I hadn’t even thought about the oscilloscope idea, probably because I don’t have one LOL, but that is a very good suggestion. Also, I didn’t think to ask if the battery was loose and shaking around a lot. Older batteries were pretty good about tolerating that sort of thing, modern made ones, are pretty crappy and pretty sensitive. Very good idea to make sure it’s mounted down well.

Thanks for your reply, I learn something new, hopefully, everyday.


If you have a DVM, verify 12.6 volts DC at the battery before the first start of the day, then 13.5-16 V immediately after starting, dropping towards 13.5 volt over time as the engine runs. You can place your voltmeter in AC mode, and measure the amount of AC ripple voltage at the same time. Not as good as an o-scope assessment, but better than nothing. I’d guess the AC ripple should be less than 0.5 volt rms; however I’ve never done that measurement, so it is really just a guess.

If nothing turns up from all that, and you don’t have a constant problem of dead batteries in the AM, only once in 6-12 months the battery fails w/a dead cell, I’m guessing either

  • the place you are buying the batteries from has a stock of poorly manufactured ones on the shelve, so next time buy your battery elsewhere. I had a problem with dome light bulbs like that one time. they’d work for 3 weeks, then fail. I’d buy another, it would fail in 3 weeks. Eventually I bought a bulb from another vendor, and it worked for 6 years.

  • the battery and hood are bouncing around enough to occasionally short out the + to the chassis ground, so look for burn marks in that area on the underside of the hood, likewise for burn marks on the insulation of the wiring harness.

  • you are driving on really rough roads, and the vibration and shock eventually ruins the battery. I used to work a summer job on a cattle ranch in Colorado and the vehicles we used got pretty rough treatment. The batteries didn’t usually last more than 2-3 years.