Battery trouble

I baught a new battery for my 98 Cadillac Deville back in December 09…This past Tuesday I stopped at a gas station turned the care off went inside for like 2 mins…Came back out tried to start the car and NOTHING…no ping because I had the door open with the key in the ignition, no dash lights(all digital), dome lights didn’t work either…Tried to jump the car and that didn’t…Called Triple A they came and couldn’t jump it either…Got a new battery and the car started right up…MY question is, why is it that a battery would go dead like that so fast? Is there something within the car that could drain the juice? I have a remote start but I don’t use it to start the car, just use it for the alarm.

How many miles on the Deville, and how often do you drive it? The alarm system, computers, etc draw power 24/7, and if the car isn’t driven often enough the battery won’t stay charged.

Have you had the alternator tested? If the alternator is not charging properly a new battery won’t last long.

I’d also look closely at the battery cable connections (both ends) and the cables themselves.

Miles are right at 130,000…It’s my everyday car. I did have the starter replaced in December once switching in the new battery didn’t work. Also had a tune-up about 2 months ago. Just incase that makes a difference.

No I haven’t had the alternator checked. I am out of my element when it comes to cars so I don’t know the things I need checked on a regular other than oil changes for the most part.

I think that you must have some other kind of problem. A battery doesn’t go from running your car just fine to absolutely dead (and un-jumpable) within the space of a few minutes. Did anyone actually put a meter on the battery to check its charge? How are those cables and connections? Is it possible that when the latest battery went in that it just corrected a very simple problem like a loose or corroded connection?

Major auto parts store chains will check battery & charging systems for free.

It can, actually, if it’s old enough. I’ve had it happen a few times over the years.

A battery can short out internally and in a matter of minutes become stone dead. Or they can lose an internal connection and “open up”, zero volts and very difficult to jump start either way…

Many years ago, when cars had generators instead of alternators, the car ran off the battery and the generator recharged it. With alternators, the car runs off the alternator instead and the alternator tops off the battery when necessary.

If the battery goes bad (short or open) you can still run the car until you turn the key off. I had a '69 Plymouth that I started the car, then took the battery out; everything worked! (Don’t do this now, you’ll burn out the electronics. Something has to be in the circuit in place of the battery now to prevent overload.)

I’m surprised that that a jump didn’t get the car started again but if you have a bad cable then that would explain why. Replacing the battery, all of the connections were tightened again so then everything worked. Before he just replaced your battery, he should have tested it to see if it was just drained or actually bad (dead or shorted cell).

Yes, it can. It’s not that the battery discharges when this happens, it that an internal connection inside the battery suddenly opens (fails).

Two common problems on GM cars from that era are a bad + battery connection and bad ignition switch. Both can cause the symptoms you describe. Keep the terminals clean and tight and make sure the spacer is in the positive terminal. Without the spacer, the bolt can bottom out in the battery and crack the case. A couple brass washers between the two positive cables works for me. If the ignition switch is going bad, jiggling the key around in the switch usually gets it working again. If it does, get a new ignition switch installed before it stops working altogether.

I still have the battery that they took out of my car from the other day. Do you think a place like Auto Zone or O’riley’s will be able to check the old on to see if that was the problem?

I have had the “check engine” scan done on the caddy right before the tune-up(that’s how I knew to have the tune-up). Would something with the electronics show up on the scan?

Yes it can - but the battery in there was purchased new 7 months ago (Dec '09). So it certainly wasn’t from age - perhaps it had a defect that took this long or just the right conditions to show up. But I still find that a lot less plausible than bad cables/connections.

Yes - if you take it one of those places it can be tested. If it is found to be defective it may still be under some kind of warranty after only 7 mos.

"But I still find that a lot less plausible than bad cables/connections."
I agree, just pointing out that the possibility exists.

So would you say that if I were to disconnect my battery one evening when I got home and knocked off any corosion or anything of that sort, and making sure my connections where tight would more than likely be a more practical fix than thinking its’ something more involved?

I’d have the battery tested. If it tests as bad, then that’s are far as you need to go, you’ll be good with the new battery.
If it tests as good, then yes you do need to find and correct the problem with the battery clamps or wires.

I really appreciate all the help fellas…It means a lot…Travel Light