Is it my battery or another issue as well?

Lately, my 1990 Integra has been idling VERY low. Some mornings, while idling at a stop, the rpms fluctuate up and down to the point where it almost dies. Is it just cold? I live in coastal San Diego, so it’s not freezing here. This morning, had to keep my foot on the gas to keep the car from stalling before getting home from dropping son off at school. It died in the driveway. Started up just fine right afterwards, but idled down to nothing. Now it idles okay, but at a pretty low rpms, like usual.

NOW, the battery, a SEARS Diehard Silver, is near the end of it’s usable life. Prorated 84,000 mile replacement warranty, but I have had it for 8.5 years and have 1 82,000 miles on it. YES! I have been meaning to replace it, as it is leaking some nasty stuff at the terminals, but wonder if the weird idling is a symptom of something else, since the car still turns over.

Sorry for the long post!

by the way, the battery has 82K miles, not 182K, as my first post shows!

I don’t know any battery warranty that warrants in miles, versus months. I think you have an 84 month (7 yrs) warranted battery and you are past that. A leaking battery means replace now. You got this battery’s value out of it and it is time to move on.

I would get a new battery soonest. If vehicle starts, then get charging system tested as a precaution after the battery replacement.

Thanks for the post. You’re probably right on the 84 months…I keep an excel log of what I get done on the car and obviously entered the wrong units! Trying to find that receipt to see if they actually told me miles though, as I usually enter stuff off of accumulated receipts! I still worry that the car is going to stall on my way to get the battery!

If you wait long enough to get the battery, it’s guaranteed that it will :wink:

BTW, another incentive to get it replaced immediately is that if it gets too bad, it can overload the alternator and damage that as well. Alternators are a lot more expensive than batteries.

Well clearly you need a new battery, so I suggest you start there. I have a home charger, so I would charge my battery for a few hours at least. I suggest you do the same. Then try it again and maybe all will be good. BTY when instilling the battery, clean off the battery cables while you are there. Likely they are also past due.

I certainly would not bet that your problems will be over, but at least you will know it is fixed or it was not the battery.

I am going to guess That you are keeping up with all the maintenance items listed in the owner’s manual. (I would add if you have an automatic transmission, changing the transmission fluid and cleaning the transmission filter.) again I would not bet that it will fix anything, but it needs to be done and likely it was not listed in the owner’s manual.

Thanks again everyone for the great advice. Yes, I’m PRETTY good with the basic maintenance, as in oil changes, timing belt etc, but my car, which is 21 years old now, has always ran pretty well, so sometimes I don’t get those tune ups until I notice something odd. Guess the other times I replaced the battery were just when it plain died, and this one has not really died…just had the stalling issue today, which I worried was unrelated to the battery.
Now the question is, head on the freeway to SEARS for a new one and risk a stall on the FWY (YIKES) or surface streets to Costco, which someone mentioned has good batteries, or just go to the Autozone, which is 2 miles away?

When the battery on my 2000 Blazer was discharged to 12.1V (~25% charged), the truck had some drive-ability issues. Even though the truck started up easily, the idle was about 300 rpm higher than normal and the torque converter lockup would not engaged. Once the battery was fully charged (12.7V) the truck ran fine. So it is possible for a partially discharged battery to cause problems (at least on a 2000 Blazer).

At 8.5 years you are long overdue for a new battery. If the battery is failing the alternator will be working too hard to keep the battery charged. As a result the alternator would eventually fail.

Check the battery voltage with a multimeter. Harbor Freight or Radio Shack have inexpensive multimeters. For example,

Clean the terminals before using the multimeter. A fully charged battery should read around 12.7V and a discharged battery should be around 11.9V. If the voltage is less than 11V, the battery probably has a dead cell and should be replaced.

Good luck,

Ed B.

Costco sells, but does not install batteries. Sears, Advance Auto Parts do. Autozone and O’Reilly’s do not in my area. If you have another ride, I would do my own replacement and not risk driving the car. If you are not a DIY type or risk averse, have it towed to Sears or the battery installer of your choice.

Get the throttle body and idle air control valve (IACV) cleaned.
At 21 y.o. it’s time for this service.

How long since the valves were adjusted? Every 30k miles is a good interval.

OK…YOu know that your battery MUST GO…In addition you need to clean your battery terminals or replace them as needed to ensure that your new battery will be properly charging by your alternator. NEXT…Your idle is controlled by the IAC valve…This is the Idle Air Control Valve. If you had a perfectly running Honda or Acura and then unplugged your IAC valve your idle will bounce up and down all the time. This issue you are having may be related to your old battery OR your IAC valve is not immersed in the proper evel of coolant.
The IAC valve is basically a thermostatically controled Air Leak. The valve is immersed in coolant. This coolant tells the IAC valve how hot or cold the engine is and thus how much of an air leak to permit to the intake manifold to control your idle. More air = higher idle speed…less air = lower idle speed. If you dont have enough coolant then your IAC valve does not know how much air to permit to “leak” and so it will bounce all over the place…never finding the proper idle speed. Check your coolant level and burp the system if you find that you have anair bleed nipple on the top thermostat housing some have them, some dont. AND REPLACE YOUR BATTERY…itmay be the cause of everything. It s impossible to diagnose an issue when you know you have a faulty electrical device…one as important as your battery will affect almost every sensor and other component. so…

Get the battery tested. You might also need the throttle cleaned if it idles too low with a good battery.

OKAY! It WAS the battery, of course. Don’t think I’m a bad person because I did not change it sooner…I really did have it down as an 84,000 mile battery OOPS!

Drove car to Autozone, as I did not want to risk it stalling on the FWY, and it did stall every time I came to a rest or put it in neutral. The Autozone salesperson installed it for me, took the old battery away and then I drove to my mechanic down the street and it no longer had the stalling/low idle issue :slight_smile:
Mechanic tested to see if the alternator was still okay and all is fine!
Thanks for All of the advice everyone…