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Dead battery theory

1999 Mercury Sable, 24DOHC, 103,000mi, auto trans. I am doing this a distance from the car–my son has it at school. For the past 3 weeks he has used the car only at night to go back to the library-so it gets driven about half a mile each way. He has had the auto headlights on so the headlights stay lit for abt a minute after you shut the car off. Yesterday, the car won’t start–just a clicking sound. My theory is the way he’s been driving it, the alternator hasn’t had a chance to fully charge the battery & over time it has run down. I told him to get a jump & run the car for 20-30 minutes to charge the battery. I’d appreciate thoughts on this theory about hat has happened.

Your theory is a good one, but if that battery is more than…let’s say…5 or 6 years old, the only solution may be to buy a new one.

Of course, before doing that, you should have your son clean all corrosion from the battery terminals and try running the car for at least 30 minutes to see if it makes a difference. If that does the trick, then he has to drive the car for much more than 1/2 mile each time that it is driven.

In addition to battery issues, a car that is driven like this needs to have its oil changed at least every 3 months, regardless of how few miles it has been driven. This type of use is very bad for the engine, the exhaust system, and of course, the battery.

Right VDC thanks for the input–the battery is only a year old. I told him he has to take it for a longer drive at least once a week. It should be driven longer distances on occasion (e.g. when he comes home for holidays).

It seems like a half mile would be a reasonable walking distance.

It is and he does during the day. At night he’d have to walk thru heroin addicts & other assorted crime areas–I’ve asked him not to do that.

I suppose that would be a problem.

The importance of your son’s health and well-being has to be placed far above the health and well-being of the car.