I have a 1993 Chrysler Concorde. I bought a brand new Mopar battery about 4 months ago. I don’t use the car very much, but I do start and run it at for at least 15 minutes at least once a week. Today it wouldn’t start. I last ran it about a week ago. Is it likely to be a problem with the alternator?
What do you mean by ‘wouldn’t start?’ The starter works, but the engine fails to start, or the starter makes a clicking sound or makes no noise at all. Do the lights on the dashboard light up?
Great question. The dashboard lights light up, locks work, the clock, etc. I get that clicking sound. It doesn’t “catch” at all: only the clicking.
Ideally you would now put a voltmeter on the battery to find out what it has for a charge.
Clean up your main power/battery cables at both ends and get them nice & tight. You may want to get a look underneath of the insulation for corrosion too.
Get it running in one way or another. If that means a jump start then so be it. Then take it to an auto parts store. Most will test the battery & charging system for free.
If all you do is run the car for 15 minutes once in a while you’re better off not running it at all or taking it out for a good drive of at least 30 minutes.
Thank you! That brings to mind another question: if a battery is new, should you have to run the car every week? Can you let a car sit unused for about a month or so and then expect it to start?
It varies. I’ve had cars sit for months and fire up without a problem. If your car does sit a lot you’re best off just picking up a “battery tender”. They’re not too expensive (but I do stay away from cheap generic stuff for things like this) and their job is to keep a charge on the battery.
Running it once in a while for short periods just leaves moisture in everything (engine/exhaust internals) and increases wear for no real good reason. A decent length drive allows everything to get up to full temperature. Its also the case that while an alternator does keep charge on a battery its not a battery charger. If the car sits a lot, & you start it for 15 minutes you probably just about replaced the battery power used when you cranked it up.
So I’d get a battery tender and only take it out when I know it will get a good “work out.”
Thanks again, cigroller and BustedKnuckles.
It would also be a good idea to have the current draw checked while the car is parked to make sure that is in line and not a problem.
It turns out that there’s nothing wrong with the car: the garage guys said that we simply need to use it more often. They said that, as cigroller mentioned, some cars can sit for month and then start up just fine, but that older cars, esp. American cars, need to be driven every few days.