Good battery starts after charging by driving, but needs jump start after overnight or several hours no driving
5 year old car with 5 year old battery? Have the battery tested, it will likely fail. Then replace the battery.
This is just maintenance on any car. 5 years is a pretty good life for an original battery.
No…a brand new battery. Replaced that thinking that was the problem. Did I really say that?
Sounds like you have a high parasitic drain. Usual drain is <50 mA, this has to be in the 10s of amps to drain a battery after a few hours.
Check all the lights after you turn the car off. Is the cooling fan still running? Hear any sounds from the engine compartment? A mechanic should be able to measure the drain and isolate it by removing fuses.
Be warned, each time a car battery is completely discharged, some damage is done. A few times and the battery becomes useless.
There is also the possibility that your alternator is not working properly and only partially charging the battery. Have it checked or try using an external battery charger between starts.
Check if the dome light is staying on after you close the door. It happens a lot!
Some cars have 2 or 3 settings for the dome light. Check your owners manual for the correct setting.
When it won’t start how about other electrical items? If the ignition is switched to “ON” will the horn work, T-signals, radio, HVAC blower fan? Are the headlights bright? Or… are all these “accessories” inoperative, too?
Do your headlights flicker or are dim?/are there any other symptoms? Could be the alternator.
If there’s nothing obvious staying turned on when the car is sitting overnight, a shop can easily test the alternator to make sure it is charging the battery properly, and check for parasitic battery drains. That means they’ll put a meter in the battery circuit to measure how much current draw there is, and from that determine which circuit is causing the problem by pulling fuses. Once they know which circuit it is, pretty quick to find the cause of the drain.
One add’l note: If you’ve recently – just before this started happening – given somebody a jump start with this car, or had one given to your car from somebody else, that could have damaged an alternator diode, and could account for this symptom.