I’m trying to decide if this car - a 2002 Hyundai Elantra Hatchback with 190,000 miles - is worth saving. It stopped running 120 miles from home and is still in a parking lot (I hope) off an interstate exit.

After an hour of interstate driving in the rain the CD player stopped working, clock went out, wipers slowed down to a slow crawl, and the car began lurching and jerking as if it was maybe losing power.
Pulled off at a rest stop to wait a few minutes. Car started and everything was working normally until I pulled onto interstate. Nothing on the instrument panel was working and car again stalled and lunged. Stopped at edge of interstate and car wouldn’t start again until almost two hours later.

It made it another 4 or 5 miles before coming to a complete dead stop at end of exit ramp and would not start again.

May be coincidental,but it seemed to run better at a higher speed and experienced the stalling and lunging when slowing down. It was also low on gas. Gas gauge has been malfunctioning for a few weeks by showing 3/4 of a tank after a complete fill-up.

When trying to restart it initially make a clicking noise, but subsequent tries were dead quiet but with instrument panel and lights working.

Does this sound like an alternator issue?

It might be an alternator, but whatever it is, you can’t just abandon the car. You have to get it either to a repair facility or a scrapyard. Eventually, they’ll come looking for you.

It does sounds like your battery died, and if ti did, then it’s likely the alternator is suspect. Did you happen to open the hood and look around at all? Are the belts (or belt) on the engine even there? Any squealing involved in all this?

Sounds like a classic battery draining till it was dead…like chaissos said…look at the engine…you may have thrown the alternator belt…and if not…the alternator sounds like it died on you. The battery dies bec the alternator wasn’t charging it any longer…due to a thrown belt or just alternator failure


I see a battery issue as Honda Said, knowing how old the battery is would help. Connection issues, cables and ground etc. could also be a problem. The rain adds an interesting facet as you could throw in plug wires etc. The better you document the conditions of failure the easier it is to conject a failure point. If it only happens when it rains would be important information.

I see this as an Alternator issue Barky… While by association it is also a battery going dead also…but the root cause is more than likely the alternator…or the belt driving it…either way…the alternator isnt able to do its job for whatever reason… The OP needs to tell us about the drive belt at the very least…the alt has little chance to do its job w/o a belt…LOL

Thanks for the helpful responses.

The battery is a year and a half old. The battery (both old and new) always has a build up of bluish-green corrosion at the connections.

I frequently have to replace bulbs in front and rear lights.

I have no mechanical knowledge and do not know if belts and connections are stable.

You need to go to a good independent, non-chain shop and get the charging system tested.
There’s no more anyone here can do for you verbally if you have “no mechanical knowledge”.
Click on “mechanics files” at the top of this page to look for a good mechanic.

Replacing the lights often may mean there is a problem with the voltage regulator or the alternator. Have a shop check the output of the alternator and also check for any AC voltage. If there is more than .1 volt of AC across the battery while the engine is running around 2,000 RPM then the alternator has a problem.