Dead Car Battery

I just bought my first car a week ago. I stupidly left my GPS plugged in over night and the next day the car battery was dead. I got a charge from my mom’s boyfriend. I let it run for like 5 minutes and it seemed good. Went in the house. An hour later my mom asked me if I let it run for 20 min. I didn’t. I went back out and it was dead again. I got another charge. Her boyfriend told me to turn off and on quick and if it doesn’t come back on it I prob need to buy a new battery.

I bought a jump starter. My question is it possible to charge my battery with the Jump Starter or does the jumper start just gives you a boost and not suppose to charge? And how does leaving it on charge it?

Like I said this is my first car and I know 0% percent about cars. Thanks

01 Alero

If you just purchased this vehicle, and you have no idea how old the battery is, and you’ve already deeply discharged the battery, I wouldn’t even mess with it. Instead replace the battery with a fresh new battery.

This way you know you have a good battery and won’t have troubles starting the vehicle, and you have no chance damaging the charging system trying to keep a bad battery alive.


As you found out, 5 minutes of running the engine is not sufficient to charge the battery. And, if that battery is the original one in your '01 Oldsmobile, it is long overdue for replacement. By now, the battery has likely been depleted by deep cycling, which probably means that it is not going to recover.

Even if you can get the car started by jump starting it, the load imposed on the alternator to attempt to recharge this depleted battery is likely to kill your very expensive alternator. So, instead of just spending ~$60 or so on a new battery, you are likely to wind up spending…maybe $300 to replace your alternator + buying yourself a new battery.

Just get yourself a new battery and be confident that it should be good for at least the next 4 years or so. And, do yourself another BIG favor and take that GPS out of the car when you park it. In addition to the possiblity of discharging your battery again, you run the risk of a broken window when a thief sees the device sitting there. If you leave this thing in the car, you can count on another repair bill, plus the cost of replacing the stolen GPS.

What is an alternator and what are the chances I have to replace it? I thought it was just the battery. Thanks.

many auto parts stores will test your battery, but I believe if you get new GOOD battery all will be fine.

Our educational system needs a complete overhaul…

You have two choices…

  1. Buy a new battery…
  2. Buy a 5-amp or larger battery charger and try to charge your old battery…

“Alternator” is another name for “Generator”. It’s a belt driven device that supplies the electrical power your car needs to operate when the engine is running. When the engine is not running, the battery supplies the power. The alternator charges the battery, which is discharged by starting and running accessories when the engine is not running…When a battery is completely discharged, it takes several hours to re-charge it, no matter what source of charging power is used… Running the engine at idle speed will not do it…The alternator can not provide much power at idle speed. Some believe that today’s fragile alternators can not recharge a dead battery without the risk of destroying themselves. This disregards the fact that alternators have built-in protections against overheating and over-loading… But they ARE expensive, so why risk failure? If your battery is dead, use a battery charger to recharg it…

If you enjoy DRIVING cars, you should take the time to learn more about how they operate. Asking questions here is a good way to do that. I hope my response has been helpful to you…


The alternator is the battery charger in the car. You can have it checked as well as the battery at most auto parts stores for free. I agree with the others, chances are you just need a new battery. Five minutes in the drive way is likely to take more out of the battery than the charging system is putting in.