Honda Battery Issues


My Element, which has been very faithful to me, began having trouble starting up ever since I left my lights on at work one day. I jumped it and it worked ok for a few months, but then after a while the car wouldn’t start. I replaced the battery about a week ago, but for the last 2 mornings it has started to make the same pathetic coughs it used to make at startup. Right when I placed the new battery in, it started immediately and sounded healthy. Now it sounds like it did before I purchased a new battery…

Quick note, the alternator tested fine, and I have not had any other sort of problem like this before. Any ideas?

What do you mean by “pathetic coughs?” Is it cranking more slowly, as though the battery is getting weak? If so, try charging the battery and see if a charged battery helps start it.

“Pathetic coughs” might be caused by a number of other problems that would make the car hard to start, and would tend to drain the battery if you have to crank it repeatedly. So don’t automatically assume that, because it’s not starting right up, the battery is at fault.

The pathetic coughs emitted from the car definitely sound like it’s a problem with a weak battery. It makes a “chun-chun-chun-chun-chun” noise that sounds like the engine slowly turning, then starts up. When I replaced the battery it started perfect for about 3-4 days. That was a week ago though, so can I assume it’s not the battery this time? Might something be draining the battery? Or is there a problem charging the battery? I had the alternator checked, and they said it was fine…

How far do you drive on a typical trip (like to work)?

The next thing I’d look for is a slow drain on the battery when the ignition is off, but I’m not familiar with the Element so can’t suggest what specific circuit might be causing the drain.

You don’t mention how old your Element is, but sometimes, especially if it’s not a “new” vehicle, if you drain the battery enough you can damage the alternator by forcing it to work harder than it should. The alternator is really only meant to top off the battery’s charge, not bring it up from dead. If that’s what happened, then putting the new battery in didn’t solve the problem because the damaged alternator is now too weak to properly top off the battery. I’d have it tested. A lot of auto parts stores will do this for free, but you have to be careful - - sometimes the parts guy only thinks he knows how to test it, and comes up with a bogus reading.

I just logged onto this forum because I’ve been having the same problem with my Honda Element …
My 60 month battery died in less than 20 months - I was charging it with a booster for a while, until it finally wouldn’t start at all - Honda Dealer replaced the battery – and it still seems weak… I brought the old battery back to my battery guy and he said it was still testing “good” – He thinks it’s the starter - I’m wondering if it is some weird fluke with the electrical system… has any one else had this problem?

You should have the starter tested to see how many amps it is drawing. It may be defective. There may also be a problem with the wiring to the starter and should be checked also. Anything in the high current starting circuit is suspect.

What Is The Model-Year Of This Vehicle ? How Many Miles On It ?