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Toyota Matrix 2005 model - Battery Issue

Hello- I have Toyota Matrix 2005 model. My car always had the issue where you don’t drive it for 2-3 days and then the car does not start unless given a jumpstart. Situation has just intensified in covid. 2 days ago I got Harbor Freight’s battery charger/maintenance. It has been 36 hours but it has not charged fully yet (not sure if device is doing its job). However, on disconnecting the cables I was able to start the car right away. But then I let it sit for 6 hours and the battery went down. I immediately plugged the charger back in and it showed 10 V. In 5 minutes it went up to 13.8 V. So it tells me that battery is not able to hold the charge and drains it pretty fast.

Do you guys still battery is dead or is there some another issue? If battery is bad then do you guys recommend traditional battery or AGM? Because of covid, car is not going to be driven often. However, regardless of the battery, I am planning to keep the battery charger hooked up all the times.

Thanks for help in advance.

#1. If battery gets from 10V to 13.8V within minutes, it’s a sure indicator it is dead for practical purposes, moreover, it is not a good idea to keep jumping it, as it provides little load-buffering capacity at this point and may (but necessarily “will”) result in some another electronic component failure.

#2. Use the same battery type your car came with, most likely it is standard “flooded” type. If your car has no AGM charging circuitry, you will get less lifetime and will pay more for AGM

#3. While you are there, make sure to check the connection between the battery cables and clamps. A friend of mine has same era Matrix (from new) and recently had one of cables to develop overheating and eventually failed at connection from the battery terminal clamp to the cable. From the outside it looked normal, but was heating up like crazy.

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If your battery is loosing its charge that quickly and it is not due to a parasitic drain, then it has an internal short. The problem is that right now, the short presents a very small load, some people incorrectly call a high resistance short.

These types of shorts can turn into a full on short that will draw a lot of current very quickly and without prior indicators. When that happens, if your are driving the vehicle and get into higher RPMs with the engine, you can overload the diodes in your alternator and blow them. Now you will need both a battery and an alternator.

You do not need special charge circuitry for an AGM battery and not having it will not shorten the life of one. AGM batteries are inherently a little more deep cycle than a flooded battery and generally last longer. But chemically and electrically, they are no different than a flooded battery.

Cars that come with an AGM battery from the factory need to only use AGM. AGM’s have an advantage with newer vehicles that have a larger parasitic drain or are driven off road a lot.

However the added cost of an AGM would not be justified on your vehicle. I would not get one unless my vehicle specified AGM only.

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This should have been addressed years ago.
But that is water under the bridge.

Install a new battery, have the charging system checked, check for parasitic draw. If all within specifications, car should be okay for a minimum of three weeks.

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I disagree. AGM need a different charging algorithm for optimum life.
Maybe not as picky as BMW etc., but different.

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/absorbent_glass_mat_agm

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Before first start of day battery should measure 12.6 volts then after starting engine 13.5-15.5 volts. What do you measure? I had to stop driving my corollA bc of covid issues and battery had to be rrcharged w bat charger recently took 8 hours thats normal when engine isnt run for long periods of time.

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@thegreendrag0n Thanks for the feedback. Regarding #3, I checked and it seems to be ok. I appreciate you sharing it with me.

Thanks for your feedback. To give you some more information, I had showed it to few mechanics in the past and they had mentioned there is some parasitic drain. However, they were not able to figure it out. As a result, I had to keep replacing batteries periodically. Fortunately all of them were under warranty period. We had even showed it official Toyota dealer. They concluded by saying Toyota Matrix of 2005 are meant to driven everyday for 20-25 miles So according to them letting my car sit for 2-3 days is going get the battery drained. I was baffled at their answer. So essentially I cannot let me car sit in weekends. For now I am thinking to get a regular battery and hook it up with Harbor Freight’s charger/maintenance all the times. Hoping that frees me up from jump starting my car every time :slight_smile:

Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. To give you some more information, I had showed it to few mechanics in the past and they had mentioned there is some parasitic drain. However, they were not able to figure it out. As a result, I had to keep replacing batteries periodically. Fortunately all of them were under warranty period. We had even showed it official Toyota dealer. They concluded by saying Toyota Matrix of 2005 are meant to driven everyday for 20-25 miles So according to them letting my car sit for 2-3 days is going get the battery drained. I was baffled at their answer. So essentially I cannot let me car sit in weekends. For now I am thinking to get a regular battery and hook it up with Harbor Freight’s charger/maintenance all the times. Hoping that frees me up from jump starting my car every time :slight_smile:

Today when I checked it was 10V in the morning. I have not mentioned right after starting since I hooked up my battery charger right away. In 5 minutes it went up to 13.8V though.

I would suggest you disconnect the negative battery cable when the car is not going to be driven.

Horse hockey! :poop:

What needs to be done is connect a current meter in line with the battery.
With everything turned off, doors closed etc., after a few minutes current should drop below 50mA.
If not, pull fuses one by one until the current falls.
Then you’ll know which branch is the culprit.

Any decent mechanic can do this.
Unfortunately, dealership shops aren’t so interested in troubleshooting 15 y.o. cars.

I agree with that, we don’t know when the OP bought or how long ago it was a Toyota service department looked at it. Seems the OP is going to live with the situation. However, since he is driving very little, he could leave it with an independent shop long enough for them to diagnose and repair.

I did a quick search, could not find any other Matrix or Vibe owners with this problem.

It could be as simple as a glove box light not turning off.

You should be able to leave your car parked for several weeks and still be able to start the engine if things are working like they should be. Your current battery seems to have little to no reserve capability going from what you stated about the charging time. After you replace the battery I suggest you have a shop do a load test on the charging system to make sure it is in good shape. Have them check the current drain on the battery also while the car is parked and things have gone into the sleep mode. If you keep a charger on the battery while the car is parked make sure it has a very low trickle rate for the current. I would hope for less than 1 amp. Over charging a battery is a bad thing, just as under charging is.

10v first thing am before starting says something def wrong. Either faulty battery or charging system or parasitic drain.