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Battery/alternator good. Car keeps dying!

My car keeps dying when Im driving and when I try to jump it sometimes it wont do anything at all and then a few days later starts right up. Battery is new and alternator tested good. I charged the battery this morning, went and put it in and it started right up. Two minutes later it died. I tried to restart it and nothing. No cranking, no dashlights. I checked the battery with multimeter and it showed 12.8V. Im thinking maybe some wires? Theres no corrosion on my battery cables or connections. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sounds like loose wires could be the problem with the "Two minutes later it died, no crank, no dash lights. We need a little more info, though.

What do you mean by “dying”? Engine shuts off? Do the dash lights stay On? Will the engine crank? But not restart? Nothing at all?

How about “when jumped won’t do anything at all?” Won’t do what? Crank, or start? Are the dash lights on? Dome light?

What year Venture, engine and how many miles?

Do you have a bunch of keys on your key ring? If so try just the ignition key. Ground connection or starter connection could be bad.

It wont do anything. No dash lights no crank. For some reason if I let it sitand come back a couple days later it starts.(at least it did the first time it happened.) I think it may be my positive battery cable. Because when I went to remove the battery, when I started moving the cable I noticed the red light on the top of the dash start blinking. I can get one but I think that cable runs to a few different places and Im not sure if thats even the problem and Im not trying to waste anymore $ than I have to. I already wrecked my wiper assembly trying to get the alternator out so I hope I dont have to drive in any heavy rain! Thanks for the reply!

After sitting for awhile I did manage to get it to jump but I tried removing the negative cable(I now know not to do that) and it instantly died. But the alternator is good. So maybe its the cable between the battery and the alternator?

Its a 2001 with almost 200,000

The GM side mount battery terminals are notorious for causing the problem you describe.


I hear what your saying about the bad connection on the ground or the starter but would it be off and on like that? Would that keep my battery from charging. Because last time it died after a couple of minutes i checked the battery and it had a full charge. I dont know why I took the alternator out. I just didnt know what else to try. Now Im thinking its one of my wires so first Im going to take off all the nuts I can find that secure the battery cables, make sure theyre not corroded and make sure theyre tightened down good. then if that still dont work Ill get new cables.

With the age/mileage of your vehicle, I suggest you replace the cables.


Yeah I hope thats all it is. Ill update after I go and try it. Its stranded at my friends apartment complex and I suspect itll probably get towed tomorrow if I dont get it going today. Thanks for your help.

well I went and put the alternator back in and took the covers off of the battery cable connectors hoping it was just them keeping it from working. I had a plan that if it started I’d drive a block down the road to a publix parking lot so the apartment complex people wouldnt have it towed. So it started right up and just as i pulled into the publix parking lot it died. I turned the key just to see what it would do and it did nothing at all. No dash lights no crank, no buzzer when i put the key in, so the connection at the battery terminals isnt the problem. Ill go by after work tomorrow and try something else. Any other ideas? I still need to finish narrowing down the rest of the connections and wires but it was dark by the time i did this. Thanks again!


The corrosion doesn’t only effect the terminals.

But the corrosion can also leech down from the terminal into where the terminal is crimped onto the wire(s).

The battery is the only component that supplies electrical power to the vehicle.


yeah Im going to replace the cables. I just ran out of time today. Ill do the positive first since moving it around made the security light on top of the dash come on a few times. Im betting thats the one. Betting and hoping. Any opinion on one of them splicing kits that just replace the ends of the cables instead of the whole thing?

What did I say?

Replace the cables.


Yep. Ill let you know if that does the trick.

Hi I’m having the same exact problem, did you figure out what it was?

Whenever you have problems like this you should first clean the battery cable connections and battery posts with a battery post cleaning brush. If that doesn’t help then you need to check the wiring from the battery to the fuse panel under the hood. Power from the battery ties to that panel and from there power is supplied to the ignition switch, which then provides power to most of the electrical devices of the car when the switch is turned on. If power is getting interrupted somehow to the ignition switch and it is turned on and nothing happens the first thought is that the battery is dead, but it really can be fully charged. The real problem is within the wire connections between the battery and the ignition switch.

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Yeah my battery cable was tight at the battery but not at the other end. Id check both ends of the cables. They might appear to be tight but they might not be getting a good connection. You might even have to remove the cable from the battery and make sure theres no corrosion between keeping it from getting a good connection. Good luck!


Good follow-up from the OP above. fyi @Shianna_Lanae , there’s numerous problems that can cause this symptom. Any good auto repair shop will be able to quickly figure it out if you can somehow get your car to them when the problem is happening.

I got a new battery, cleaned, & lubricated the connections. The alternators fine, timing belt seems fine, and the fuses are good. With all that said, my car lost power after driving 20 miles. Charged the battery and the car starts right up. Next I will check the cables b/c I’m sure it wont hold the charge if I start to drive it. I’ve been looking for a mechanic, but in the meantime Ill keep taking suggestions and checking them out.