When key in ignition car will make a ruaa- ruaa sound as if trying to turn over… sometimes it will be prolonged as if struggling, sometimes it will turn right over no problem and sometimes it will try to turnover but unsuccessfully.
If we can get the car to turnover and we drive the car a while (like to work) it will start up no problem the next time (to go home). We have driven prolonged distances >500 miles with no loss in power while driving, headlights on, etc, no problem. If running errands (short trips, 5min or so driving) with frequent stops, the car will progressively sound worse as it increasingly struggles to restart and after the 4-5th or so it will not start at all.
Battery: had a new battery put in about 6 weeks ago now after car wouldn’t start. Battery tested fine. Mechanic said it was likely a bad cell in the battery making it difficult to start, even though the battery tested fine. So we replaced the battery, and now 2 weeks in are having similar issues. *of note: if anything is plugged into the cigarette lighter (phone charger) when tries to start always has issues.
Our thoughts are:
Likely not alternator, because no loss of power while driving…?
Likely not starter, because always makes an attempt to turnover…?
Thinking most likely parasitic battery drain?
Please any help/brainstorming would be greatly appreciated!!