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Car Won't Start

Hello everyone,

I have a 2004 Chrysler Sebring 4 cylinder that has around 60,000 miles.

Yesterday, I headed out for work and after I had driven about 1 block, my car starts to die while I am driving. I was able to turn over into a parking lot. My car wouldn’t start, and the electric things like the radio would not work. Just a couple nights earlier, my battery had died only after about one hour of of having the fan on and having one small light on inside of the vehicle for part of the time. So when it died this time I figured I had a really bad battery and it was just totally dead now.

So I walk back to my apartment and tell a guy that lives by me about what happened. He tells me that he has a battery charger and can try to charge it up for me. I take out the battery and bring it in. He hooks up the battery and we let in charge for one hour. An hour later, he takes a look at it and says it shows 12 volts. I go down and put the battery back in. When I turn the key, the lights, radio, etc all come on now, and the engine starts to turn over, but doesn’t start.

I assume at this point that it is the alternator, but am told by a few people online that if the battery is charged up, it doesn’t matter if the alternator is working or not. One guy suggests to me that it could be the starter, but another one reminds him that it couldn’t be the starter because the car had died while I was driving. Then, I am told by another guy that the battery may have not have been charged up enough. He informs me that though it had 12 volts, it may not have had enough amps.

So, I take out the battery once again, put it in a backpack, and take it down to Autozone. I tell them I want the battery tested, and the guy takes it from me. I come back three hours later and inquire about the battery. The guy that had taken my battery wasn’t there anymore, but someone had written on the sticker that had my name on it, “good”. “Oh yep, the battery is good. He wrote good on it” the girl said. She then notices, according to her, that it is leaking battery acid. I look down and notice that there is in fact some acid sitting on top of the battery. I didn’t really remember it leaking battery acid when I took it to autozone, but it’s possible I just didn’t notice. She told another woman that was standing there to go ahead and test the battery. The woman came by, clamped a few of those things on it, and immediately said “this battery is gone. You’re gonna need a new one.”

I feel relieved that it’s just the battery and not a bigger problem. I buy a new battery and head out. I put the battery in the car and hook it up. I start the key, and it does the exact same thing. Electric things come on just fine, the car makes the starting noise, but doesn’t start. I throw my head against the wheel in frustration. I have no idea if its possible that a certain part of the engine going out can actually make the battery expire, or if I was just gypped by the people at autozone and actually had a good battery. Maybe the battery acid was from another battery that was sitting on top of it and the woman didn’t test it correctly. I figure at this point it’s too late.

So basically, I have a fully charged, new battery, and a car that died as I was driving it and won’t start. I don’t know enough by cars myself to do any work on it, unless it is something extremely basic. I wanted to see if there were some basic things I could check myself first before having it towed, or if it was obvious that it was one specific thing, like the starter, that I could just unbolt and bring somewhere.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


My guess the acid caused corrosion of the cable connections and you need to get those connections checked/cleaned. I would also suggest checking the cables check the alternator to make sure it is not over-charging the battery.

You could have multiple problems, but first things first. What happens when you try to start the car now with a good, brand new, charged up battary? Does the car go rrr.rrrrr…rrrrrr…rrrr. Or click…click…click… or no noise at all? You might start your troubleshooting with grabbing every wire and tugging on it to see if any wires are loose, pay especially attention to the wires coming from and going to the starter and battary. That is what you need to start with.

I took it in. It was the timing belt. Thanks for the replies.

A timing belt makes no sense to me at all, but whatever - hope you are back on the road again.