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Car battery mystery

I have a new 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE. We went out of town for 10 days and got back last night - left the car in a parking garage near the airport. When we tried to start it, it wouldn’t start. Made a clicking sound. Tried jump-starting it (using portable jump-start machine) and that worked. Drove it home (approx 30-minute drive) with no problems. Woke up this morning, tried to start it, and it wouldn’t start again (same clicking sound). Tried jumping it again (first using a portable jump-start machine) but it wouldn’t start. Tried jumping it using cables and another car, and that worked. Drove it straight to the dealership service center. They ran a bunch of tests and could find nothing wrong at all. Nothing wrong with the alternator system or battery. Couldn’t find anything drawing power from the system either. Any ideas? I am afraid it won’t start again tomorrow morning! So strange…it’s a brand-new car.

it’s a brand-new car. That is your answer. You take it to the dealer and it is his problem and his dime to fix it. If you start messing with it, they may end up claiming you damaged it.

Thank you for the reply. I did take it to the dealer right away (it was the service center at the dealership that looked at it, and couldn’t find anything wrong). I guess at least now it’s documented in their records that I brought it to them first, right away.

Also, look into your state’s lemon law. Now that the problem has been documented, if the vehicle is out of commission for a certain number of days, and/or the dealer attempts multiple repairs and the problem recurs, you may be entitled to a replacement or refund.

Sometimes batteries fail in odd ways. One cell may discharge itself over a period of time but can be recharged back up and test okey.

I would have the Toyota dealership install a new battery and see if that corrects the problem.

Hope this helps.

We have the same problem but with a 2010 Sienna XLE. The dealer has replaced the battery twice but it continues to die if we let it sit for about the same amount of time. The dealer said the same thing that yours did, but we are going to have to go to the district office or something. The mechanics at the dealer might not be qualified to diagnose the problem. I will let you know what happens when we speak with the sales manager about going to district and see if he/she will bring in someone more qualified.

Some Google searches talk about the power doors not closing all the way, leaving a light on. Some also mentioned the rear door not closing and causing a battery drain.

Maybe a door sensor for the dome light(s) is not closing, leaving them on, draining the battery. However, I would think the car alarm would notify you of this if the door was still ajar.

Mr. Meehan is right, keep after the dealership and Toyota. It’s their problem.

If it happens again call the dealer have them tow it to their shop. Get a loaner car from them and let them do the diagnosis. No matter what it is, it most likely is a warranty issue, so let them cover the cost of the tow and everything.

Dealers, as a rule, don’t sell a lot of battteries. The two batteries the dealer installed in your car may have been “on the shelf” too long and were weak from the beginning. In the case of the OP, the car may have been on the dealer’s lot without being driven and the battery is defective. In both cases, I would bet on the battery.