Nissan Versa - battery keeps going dead with good alternator and starter

Hi all! Thank you so much for reading and replying. The battery in my car keeps dying but runs great after a jump. AAA tested my battery, alternator and starter and said everything was good. When jumped, my car starts right up, and today I drove it maybe 10 miles and then left it running in my driveway for an hour. Went to start it 2 hours later and it was dead again. Any suggestions on where to start my search? Dying in 2 hours seems like to only quick for a parasitic drain, no? I’ve checked my interior lights and made sure all of my doors are closed tight. Drives great otherwise. If you do think it’s a parasitical drain, how can I check that? Not sure if climate could be a factor, but I live in Houston. It’s been a little cooler than usual but very nice out lately, not a lot of rain, temps around 70, etc. Thanks again.

1 Like

What year car and how old is the battery?

Check and if necessary cleans all connections.

2012 Versa, battery is 3 or 4 years old.

By clean all connections do you just mean the connections where I attach jumper cables? Because those are very clean and not corroded at all.

How many times did this occur and how much time between? Or just the one occasion you mentioned?

First put a voltmeter on the battery. You can get one for $10 that plugs into the cig. lighter socket.

But some cars turn off power to that socket when you take the key out, so perhaps an ordinary DVM with clip leads would work better.

Clip it across the battery. When the car is running, it should read about 14-15 volts. When you turn the car off, it should drop to about 12.6 volts. This is a quick check of the charging system. Not likely to show anything in your case, but an easy check.

you should also check the battery connections for corrosion. Or have someone do that. Although not probably a problem in such a new car. To do this, remove the battery connections, one at a time and clean the cable end and the battery end. Do this for both ends of the cable. Corrosion will prevent the battery from charging. It’s also possible that the cable is corroded internally,.

It comes down to a parasitic draw somewhere or a partial short circuit somewhere. Not easy to check this yourself, best to get it to a dealer or an auto electrical specialist. To check it, you need a good ammeter. After you turn the car off, remove one of the battery terminals and insert the ammeter in series between the cable and post. DO NOT try to start the car with this connection. You will read a fairly high current, in the amps, which powers the cars computers. After a period of time, perhaps 20 minutes, the current will decrease to a number such as 50 mA or less as the computers go the sleep. Do not touch the car as you wait for it to go into the sleep mode.

Did anyone do a load test on it when fully charged?

If this is the original battery that came with the vehicle from the factory it is closer to 5 years old. Probably time for. New battery.

1 Like

Hi Bill,

Thank you for all of the great information – I’ll pick up a voltmeter today. It died one other time, Friday morning, after running fine. At that point, because it started right back up and seemed fine, I assumed I’d just not shut my door completely, and then it happened like what I described yesterday, however, I am not someone who drives everyday, and I can’t remember if I drove it at all in between those two instances… probably not, based on what’s happening.

Gpierce001, I haven’t had it tested while fully charged – the AAA guy put a thing on it that printed out a little diagnostic report (unfortunately I don’t have that, he kept it) but when my battery was dead, it said “Good/Recharge” on his little monitor thing.

This is the time of the year we hear reports of “does not crank” which I assume is your problem too. It happens now b/c the temperature is getting cooler, and that adversely affects just about everything to do with the cranking operation. Here’s what I’d do in that situation

  • Batteries don’t last much beyond the three year mark in hot climates like Houston, so if yours is near to or over the 3 year mark, makes sense just to replace the battery. At that time the connectors and posts will be cleaned and tightened properly, so at least you’ll know you have a good battery for the winter, and it may indeed fix the problem completely.

  • If not, you may have a failing starter motor. Ask your shop to check for that. If you’re a diy’er there’s some voltage tests you can run yourself if you like.

2 Likes

Hello this has happened to a Nissan Versa I recently bought it has a new alternator and a brand new battery. With a full battery charge it drives about 40 miles with nothing turned on. When I cut on items such as the air or radio it drains after about an hr or 15 miles. It Sometimes stays cranked and goes into Limp mode before dying completely. Did you ever have any success with a definite diagnosis and repair?

Even though the alternator is new it can still be not working due to a fault within the wiring to it, like no exciter voltage getting to it. Make sure all the fuses are good under the dash and especially in the dash panel. If they are okay then the wiring to the alternator and to the battery needs to be checked out for a fault.

How is this battery being brought up to a full charge?

A fully charged battery should last a lot longer than 40 minutes with all accessories turned off, even with a bad alternator.

I would be checking the fuses marked “ALT” , I believe on Nissans there is one under the hood, and one under the dash

Hi karon did you ever figure out what was going on with the charging system mine is doing the same new alt new battery but not charging help please I have already spent too much on this hoping for a fix if possible

Make sure that the battery warning light works when you turn on the ignition. It passes current to the exciter inside the alternator. Also make sure all the fuses are good.

The battery light doesn’t work it comes on with all the other dash lights when I turn the ignition but doesn’t warn me when the battery is dying so what does that mean

Well since the light turns off when the engine is running it means the alternator should be working correctly. This could mean that the main wire between the alternator and the battery has a blown fuse or there is a bad connection on the line. Check to see if you have battery voltage on the large output wire on the alternator while the engine is off. You should have battery voltage there if things are good. If you don’t have voltage there then check the fuses in the panel under the hood.

Chances are it is either not charging when the car is running, or there is an electrical drain when turned off. My guess is the latter.

Continuing the discussion from Nissan Versa - battery keeps going dead with good alternator and starter:

I have a Nissian Versa Note SL 2014. I have been having this problem for the last three years. Where the battery all of sudden dies in the middle of the night after being used with no problems. I have had it happen at least ten times within the last three years. Each time we were told that it’s a bad battery. We replaced it each time. Then the last time which was January 18, 2021 we had a diagnosis electronically test done. Which everything came back negative. We then once again replaced the battery. Just the end of May the battery died again. Out of nowhere. It starts right up after being jumped with no problems. Sometimes it will work for a few months sometimes we have to jump for a few days at each use. I now have given it to Nissian with the back story, and they have reran all diagnosed and everything coming back clean. I’m at a loss. Where do I go from here… I need my car. I live in California, San Diego so weather is not an issue? Any help please???

Take it to an automotive electrical specialty shop, and tell them what you just told us, they’ll likely find (and be able to fix) the problem.

Do you know any in the area of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad in California! Thanks for the information

Google will be your friend in this case.