Car Battery Issue (Faulty vs Low)

I am trying to determine if my car battery is bad or just has a “low charge”.

Two times in the past two weeks, the battery has had problems.

a) While waiting in a line idling for 2 hours with lights and AC on, the battery warning light came on. Turned off both lights and AC and battery light went away.

b) Turned off car while waiting in ferry line and after 80 minutes off it would not restart and required a jump.

I took it to a local parts dealer and using a volt meter, he checked it out and said the alternator and starter were fine. Also the battery was fine, just it had a “low charge” and needed to be fully charged with a batter charger.

Friends say they have never heard of a “low charge” situation, but more likely the battery is bad/compromised. Do I need to replace the battery or just charge it up?

Year and mileage on the Camry? How old is the battery?

Used two methods to test your battery,one uses a conductance meter (google it) and the battery does not need to be fully charged to use this test. Then use the standard load test where he battery is loaded with a carbon pile,the battery needs to be fully charged for this test.

Between these two techniques you will be able to make a informed decision about your batterys state of health.

Note that your battery does not have to exactly meet the rated specifications for it to be a perfectly serviceable reliable battery.

Could your idle speed be to low and with a high current demand put on your electrical sysrem you see the warning light? I don’t consider warning lights or low voltage conditions at idle when a hign current demand situation exists anything to worry about.

GM has for yesrs put out service information addressing low indicated voltage at idle with high current demand,it is not a problem.

Just charge it up (with a battery charger) and hope it doesn’t happen again. It is possible as oldschool says, the demand on the battery is greater than what the alternator can support if you don’t do a lot of highway driving, or idle too long. Running the Air, lights, etc takes a lot of current, so if you’re not turning the engine fast enough to produce the amount of current being sucked from the battery, it will eventually run it down. Your battery might not be bad/compromised.

Most auto parts stores will test it for free and they usually do a good, if not great job. However if it is over 5 years, it is likely just due for a replacement. Have you checked the electrolyte level?