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Battery Problems

Hi, I have a 1999 Mazda 626. The other day, when I started the car, the battery light flickered for a few seconds and then turned off. I didn’t think much of it, just that I probably had to change the battery soon. The sticker on the battery says 4/11, so I figured it’s about time. It drove fine. Later that day, I was driving home, and the car started giving out and the battery light started flickering again. I pulled over, turned off the radio, lights and A/C and waited until the car seemed normal again. I was able to drive to my friend’s house. Once I turned off the engine, it wouldn’t start. There was no sound or anything. The lights on the dash kinda lit up a little, but nothing started. My friend’s dad looked at the battery and saw that there was a lot of acid build-up on the battery. He cleaned it off and charged the battery with a portable charger. It started fine after that and it hasn’t had any problems. I’m just wondering if it was just caused by the acid build-up, or if I need to take it in to get looked at. Also, we replaced the alternator last year, so I don’t really think that’s the problem.

Remove the battery cables and clean the cable clamps where they touch the battery terminals. It’s possible that the acid buildup is causing a poor connection. You said your friend’s dad cleaned the acid off the battery, but you didn’t say whether he pulled the cable off and cleaned the cable clamps.

Also check tension of the alternator drive belt and make sure it’s snug and not slipping. Then have the battery and alternator tested at a local auto parts store.

Sounds like an alternator problem to me. Part of the voltage regulator may have failed and you are not getting the full output. Depending on the quality of your (likely) rebuilt alternator, you may be due for another.

Just an FYI, there are what I call “drugstore” alternators that are rebuilt very cheaply to just last beyond the warranty sold at auto parts stores that look more like WalGreens than a real parts store (Napa) and then there are professional quality rebuilds meant to last.

Replace your 4 year old battery( as you say about time) and then check the alternator for proper operation in the charging circuit.

Could be worn out alternator brushes.
Usually the first thing to go.
Can save $$ if you DIY.
Mazda dealer can order them, ~$20.
Any shop will want to replace the whole alternator.

If your battery is putting corrosion on the post, it is starting to fail.