Toyota Corolla 2005 starting problem

So here is my tale of woe:

About two weeks ago, in an abundance of caution as it wasn’t really due to be replaced until next year, we replaced our battery with a heavy-duty, 5-year one.

Until today it was working just fine. I drove to the gas station, filled up with gas, got back in the car, turned the key . . . click, click, click in rapid succession.

Absolutely dead.

So here is what we’ve tried/ruled out:

1. Not the battery. The battery has been working just fine for a couple of weeks and is brand new.

2. Not the battery. The voltage is fine across the battery terminals.

3. Not the charging circuit, we think (voltage regulator, alternator), because the voltage is fine.

4. Not the terminal connections. We scrubbed those clean.

5. Not the starter motor because if jump-started, the car will start.

Also, the headlights were dim when we first started moving, but they brightened when the engine was revved.

Plus there was a distinct “whining” sound that increased in pitch as we increased in speed.

Possibilities we’ve come up with:

A faulty ground cable

A short

Did we miss anything? We drove to the nearest garage, but we’re not sure of his abilities, so your good opinions would be appreciated.

This is proof of the theory: No good deed ever goes unpunished.

What was your reason for replacing the original battery? At only three years old it’s unlikely this was necessary. Who replaced the battery? Dealer? Independent mechanic? Parts store/battery store?

The “whining” sound and the dim headlights make me think your alternator is working too hard. Faulty ground? Maybe, but why, on a car so new?

You say the battery is fine, and this is a logical assumption since it’s new, but suppose it’s a faulty battery? These things happen, you know. Voltage across the terminals means next to nothing. A nearly-dead battery will still show decent voltage.

AMPERAGE is the true test of a battery. Take your car, with its new battery, to a parts store or an independent mechanic and have the battery “load tested.” The load test is the true test of a battery’s condition.

Have the battery and the charging system tested, preferably by someone who has no financial interest in a recently-installed battery.

Your possibilities are worth considering and looking into, but the only thing that’s been changed is the battery. Maybe you have a defective battery. Start with the simple things. Make sure, without a doubt, that the new battery is, in fact, OK.

There is very little reason to suspect anything else on a 3-year-old Corolla.

Thanks for your comments! We actually bought the car in October 2004 (it’s the 2005 model year - sorry if that was confusing). Anyway, we hadn’t thought it was a faulty battery just because it’s been working fine for the past couple of weeks. But anything is possible!

We replaced the last one (at a large parts store) because we weren’t certain if it was a 4 year or 5 year battery and the car was manufactured in July 2004, so the battery was likely well over 4 years old. We weren’t “sold” on it - it was our decision. Perhaps a little over-cautious, but there you go. Plus it had seemed a little sluggish turning the starter motor once or twice in damp weather. It wasn’t truly necessary maybe, but this scenario (being stuck at a gas station in freezing cold weather) was exactly what we were trying to avoid. We only have the one car, so making sure it’s always working is pretty important.

We’ll ask the guy at the garage to do a load test and see what that turns up.

“If jump started, the car will start”.

Recheck the the battery cable connection at the starter. Remove/clean and replace wrench tight.

I don’t have any idea what the whining noise is.

Do as mcparadise suggested, do an ‘in vehicle’ load test on the charging system.

I firmly believe a load test done ‘out of the vehicle’ allows for missed faulty wires/connections, etc.

I have a 2005 Corolla SE bought new in May of that yr. When the stock battery died in Sept 08 I purchased a new “top of the line”. Now if I do not drive the car in a 30 hr period the battery is dead. I went and got the load test done - they said batterys fine (low charge- but holds it ok) and alternater, charger good.
I went to dealership - soon as i mentioned yr and car they asked if I had the lo-jack or equivalent. (can’t find the paper woerk with the name) similar to lojack I could get online and track my car ) never used it though. They claim that is the drain (was an analog system then - had several reports… unquote). They wanted a few hundred to deactivate it.
'm still trying to locate it and disconnect it meanwhile have to keep my car on a charger when not using (since use motorcycle mostly). So if u have that guard alert or whatever it is called - look into that !!

Dim headlights would seem to indicate either bad connection or bad alternator. One other common Toyota problem are worn contacts in the starter, but yours is both newer than I’d think would have this problem, and it’s showing a symptom inconsistent with the bad contacts (dim headlights). How many miles are on it?