Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Alero battery woes!

I recently got my first car (a '99 Oldsmobile Alero). It sat in my garage for a few months, longing to be of use, and when the time came it had some problems starting up. It is quite concerning so I went about doing simple things- cleaning the corrosion on the terminals, replacing the coil pack and spark plugs, and even got my battery’s charge checked. What leads me to believe it is the battery is when i start the car it needs a few cranks and a good shot of fuel to turn over, and every time this happens the clock on my dash resets. what should i do now?

Replace the battery to begin with. If it sat hooked up for a few months of not being used or recharged in that time, it’s likely too low to crank the starter.

The starter uses more battery power than anything else on the vehicle.

What do you mean by "a good shot of fuel to turn over’?

I have to crank it a few times and press the gas for it to actually turn over

Ok, so you’re saying the battery is strong enough to turn the engine over but the engine won’t fire up.

You shouldn’t have to pump the gas pedal as this is fuel injected.

Perhaps the pump has a faulty check valve allowing the fuel to flow back to the tank.

Next attempt to start, turn the key from OFF to RUN three or four times (pausing a few seconds at the RUN position) to see if the pump primes the fuel system, THEN turn it to start.

If you have a helper, have him/her turn the key to the RUN position (while you listen at the open fuel filler pipe)for the pump to make a buzzing or humming sound for a few seconds.

thank you, i will try this. Do you think that that is the cause of my resetting clock also? Or are these two unrelated problems?

The months of sitting combined with the clock resetting suggest to me it’s time for a new battery.

Have the battery “load tested.” If it passes the load test it’s a good battery. If not . . .

OK, i will go do that! thank you very much

Follow the battery positive cable and you should find that it goes to a junction terminal. All power to the car except for the heavy starter motor cable goes through this junction.

If that terminal is corroded or scaled over this can affect everything electrical on the car including the starter and the clock.
Also check the battery cables near the terminal and underneath the insulation in that area.

The part about the shot of fuel could mean that the check valve in the fuel pump is not maintaining residual fuel pressure when the car is at rest.
Turn the key on for a few seconds (not cranking the engine) and back off. Do this half a dozen times and then see if the engine will start right up. If it does, the check valve is faulty. No cure for that except a pump replacement. Hope that helps.