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Battery trouble again, really need advice

I keep my battery disconnected, have no problem starting my '87 Toyota pickup after even months of un-use (since I replaced the bad fuel pump, re-built the carburetor and the starter motor).

I’ve built my own radios and other electronic equipment, calibrated them precisely. I have never needed such precision to work on a car. I use the VOMs I get for free from Harbor Freight for most purposes. You can calibrate with batteries you have around the house: 1.5V, 9V (smoke detector, if nothing else), 3V (lithium button battery).

Because I don’t want to lug my battery inside to charge it nor run an extension cord out to it, I don’t use a battery charger. Back when I had problems I bought a jump starter from the Mart of Wal, which worked for a few years.

Another idea is a solar battery charger.

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The OP isn’t leaving the car undriven months at a time. She is driving about 5 miles total once a week for needed essentials such as food.

The simple, recommended, works for 99.99%+ of car owners is to drive the car far enough each time to charge the battery more than deplete it.

So why confuse the issue with tales of no driving for seven months, disconnecting the battery, solar panels, etc.???

Good grief.


Is right. You don’t drive much, and you have had your car checked at a service place and have been given a clean bill of health. (The car anyway)

I think you just may need one of these, this is just a suggestion of one of many brands, I am suggesting this because it does have a battery indicater, and is current limited. . Skip buying the meter, put the money here:Trickle charger

It is possible that your battery is already damaged from lack of use, but your cig lighter meter will tell you that. There is only one other unlikely problem, a parasitic drain. But start with the Trickle Charger, and see what happens from there. If your meter starts reading about 12.8Vdc as soon as you shut off your car. Nothing else needs to be done. To quote

Good Grief!

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I’m just about done here but the last I saw, the voltmeter read 12.2 at rest with the doors open. That’s not good. The battery is not fully charged at this point. What is needed is the voltage reading when the car is running to determine if the battery is being charged. Pretty simple, plug it in and run it around for a couple miles and see what the thing reads, then at rest with the dang doors shut and the fan etc. off, see what it reads again. If still 12.2 at rest, it needs to be fully charged yet.

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You don’t know that yet, the battery may not charge past 12.2 if it’s not good, this is the 3rd battery.
Chronically undercharged batteries get ruined.


Hi again, went for a drive today and this is what the meter read as soon as i started the engine, we drove for a mile and i checked it again when we got in the driveway and it said 14.1 or 14.2 i think it was going back and forth.

Thank you so much i wasn’t to sure which one to get, i will be getting the one you posted

Really sounds like you need to use the trickle charger then if your not using the car when the meter reads below that voltage right after shutdown. It’s normal for it to go down to about 12.8Vdc.
Looks like your battery is still good. By the way, 1 mile will not recharge a low battery.


OK , this is where I make my last post on this then I am done.

A mile drive did more harm than good. Why can’t you comprehend that short drives may be the cause of your problems ?


Correct. Now I’m done as well.

@drivetime Such short drives are exactly what is causing your problem!!! You are killing your battery and your engine by not even getting the engine warmed up.

For heaven’s, go take a good 30+ mile drive for a start. Then in the future drive at least seven to ten miles when you go out each week and go for at least one longer drive every two weeks.


i was guessing but it was more likely 2 miles our block is a mile back and forth we road it 4 times, and i have said in the past my mom’s car only has 33 thousand miles on it so we have never drove alot in the past, this problem just started happening. We are driving more, we go out every other day which is more than we ever have in years. This battery thing just started happening. There is a lot more to this store, we need tires we can’t go on long wild goose chases and we never have like i said we used to go to the store 3 times a week with no problems with our battery, then we went 1 time a week after the virus but as soon as the people here told me that is not enough we now go out every other day.

Then you have a parasitic current draw, and don’t have the tech savvy, or tools
to find it. Time to find a recommended mechanic.

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14.x volts right away means your alternator and charging system is likely okay and doing its job.
I’m not going to scold you for driving only a mile.
Other posters seem to not understand that that short drive was to observe what the meter displayed with the engine running, not to charge the battery.
14.x volts right away is useful information.

So at this point you need to take action to get and keep your battery fully charged.
Driving more is one option. A smart charger or maintainer is another, if you have access to an AC outlet.
The third is a solar charger. That’s the option I choose.

p.s. a meter like the one I suggested can be used to measure parasitic drain

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Thank you very much for your understanding, God bless you

Ok first i want to thank everyone for their good advise and taking the time to help me. This will be my last post as well since I see some people here are getting annoyed with me ,there are extenuating circumstances. If you check my earlier posts i thanked everyone and was going to be on my way but some nice people kept giving me advise so i stayed and kept posting. I have repeated over and over again we have never drove our car more than 3 time a week and have never had a problem with the battery. There are extenuating circumstances why we only drive that much, i didn’t want to tell everyone a sob story on how we need new tires we can’t drive very far because of that, we don’t go out much my mom is disabled, but that is no ones problem but ours, so ok if your annoyed with me don’t post any advise but don’t assume i being ungrateful or not understanding your advise. So I’ll give a little TMI, to clear things up, If there was no virus i would have already gone to the mechanic and had them check for a parasitic current draw, but i was hoping it might be something else so I asked here to get some advise. I’m scared to go to the mechanic , they will want to keep our car, i will have to go home in a Uber, if i get sick who will take care of my disable mother and our animals? If i die from the virus what will happen to my disable mother and the animals? We have no other family. That is why when you post online and get harsh with someone you never met maybe you should consider there could be extenuating circumstances. My mom is on a liquid diet and so am i so we won’t be eating a big thanksgiving day dinner, neither one of us is feeling good, i had no intension on telling a sob story but I’m sick and tired of being a nice guy. I was feeling good about the help i was getting but then everyone started saying it’s going to be their last post well that’s fine with me. Just make sure you count all your blessing a big family, friends, a good education. I know God will help us and He sometimes lets people go through things like my mom and i are going through so when we come out the other side we will be more understanding to people who have had similar circumstances. We cant really be sympathetic until we have walked in someone else’s shoes. So when God brings us through i will help as many people as i can because i know how it feels. I again want to thank everyone for all their advise and taking the time to help me, even the people who got annoyed with me because you reminded me what a cold curl world we live in and to only put my trust in God and not man. I’m not jugging, sometimes I can be cold and curl as well but God still shows me grace and mercy i don’t deserve. And maybe I’m being to sensitive because of all the things that we are going through. For the people here who are having hard times like i am, call out to God, call out to Jesus Christ He will never fail you, man will fail you again and again but God will never fail, watch Joseph Prince on youtube he is the best and gives hope to the hopeless. God bless everyone.

I think the only reason for frustration is that we only get bits and pieces at a time. We know your alternator is working from the 14.2 v reading. We also know your battery is under-charged from the 12.2 v reading. You need to try to charge it, either by driving or with a charger. If it will not exceed and maintain a higher voltage than 12.2, the battery is shot. If it will maintain a higher charge, but goes dead over a period of a couple days, you may have a current drain or the battery has just become tired from frequent discharges. I don’t know how to be clearer.

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@drivetime I’m sorry you feel disrespected. Please realize that everyone has been trying to help.

In 100+ posts it is easy for us to lose track of all the details you mentioned. What stuck out in your comments for many of us was mention of driving about five miles per week. Then you first said you drove a mile to test with the volt meter.

The problem with cyberspace is that we lack real face to face communication, there is lag time between posts, many people chime in, conversation goes off on tangents, etc. You also run into an array of personalities.

This forum truly is a good place to get good help and advice. I hope you will stay around.

And I truly hope you can get this problem fixed.

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What works for months is even likelier to work for a week. 5 miles/week is probably better traveled in an Uber/Lyft.

Using an automobile’s engine to charge a battery is immensely wasteful and unsafe.

I’m not confusing it. I’m offering other choices. All of mine are safer and cheaper than driving a car unnecessarily.

It should not take over 100 posts to get out the info that is critical to the diagnosis.
Plus after that amount of time and text it gets hard to remember everything said, in the original text There was this…

And you did kinda repeat the mantra of “going around the block”, & “after driving one mile”
Can you see why people drew the conclusion we did? It’s up to you at that time to refresh the info, and not expect people to read the entire novel of posts. A summation of up to date info if you will.
I know how to walk you through finding a parasitic current draw, and at this point, I have every reason to think that’s what it is.
But you WILL need 2 things 1) a battery charger to keep the voltage up, and 2), a DVM, (Digital Voltmeter) which has a ability to read current up to 10 amps.
I was the one who sent you the link to a trickle charger on EBay, ( see my post below, for a much better one) and think that would work well, and not get a solar as panel suggested, which is too expensive and subject to the whims of weather, where you keep your car, wind, and basically are just not as useful and consistent as the above.
Let us genius’s ; ) know if you 1) Can do that… and 2) Want to do that. I don’t know if you have the means to buy both, but without those 2 things, we can’t really go farther. Or further? By the way, nobody here was “curl” to you, let alone cruel! I’ve never curled anyone in my life! Those 2 items won’t go over about $40