Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

What the heck is going on?

Lights and everything going dead! replaced with new battery, new rebuilt alternator, plugs and wires. Keeps going dead when driving every thing dims out (dash lights) everything. Stop vehicle and it’s ok until I shut it off and won’t start until I get a jump or charge battery.

This is going to take a bit of “back and forth”. In regards to recent events with your car,what was the first thing that went wrong and what was the first thing you tried to fix it? Has a mechanic been involved in any of the diagnosis and parts replacement?

What year is your car,what engine does it have and who has been taking care of the car so far? how many miles are on the car,are you the original owner?

1998 4c 16 valve just kept going dead. It just stopped working one day when we were driving it. and since then it kept doing the same thing no matter what we replaced on it. First they just changed the spark plugs. then we rebuilt the alternator. We also bought a brand new battery. 127,000. I am the 2nd owner. Took it to a reputable mechanic and he was not sure and recommended a new battery. He did find a pinched spark plug wire and thought maybe that could be it.

The battery goes dead if the car is just left sitting?

It goes dead during operation I think as the lights go dim, then when shut down it won’t restart. Needs jump or recharge from battery charger. I’ve even disconnected the battery during none use after charging and kept it on also after charging. It starts either way then take it for a ride around the block or for about ten minute ride and then the problem starts again. Something is draining the battery but what? Frustrating! Even tried not turning on any lights or stereo still get the same result.

This could be as simple as bad cables / wiring. Follow the wiring away from the battery & alternator, finding every contact point - clean and inspect. Its a good idea to slice some insulation off the main battery cables to look for hidden corrosion underneath.

I don’t know about Hyundai, but some makes used to use the alternater trouble indicater lamp circuit to supply exiter voltage to the alternator which enabled it to charge. It’s possible that you have a burned out indicator lamp or broken wire in the circuit. When you have a charged battery in the car and attempt to start it, does the alternator lamp light up on the dash?

Yes I replaced a terminal and cleaned the other, but did not check the rest of the cable. OK I will check it out, thanks. I use a meter.

Ok charged the battery and it starts up just fine. The only lights I see that come on is Battery and that one stays on. Don’t see alternator lamp light at all.

Do you have a voltmeter you can put on the battery? At idle you should get something in the range of 13.5-15V

At idle touching the battery it reads 13 on idle and off. There’s another smaller negative cable grounding to the chassis and when I touched that i got no reading. Although at the battery terminal that smaller negative wire give me a reading of 13 and when I touch the end that is bolted to the chassis it reads 0. Is that normal or is that grounding cable bad?

Assuming that the other lead of the meter is staying on the positive terminal/cable, then yes - that ground is bad.

Yes to that checking positive and negative. I also checked by continuity and did not get a response until I cleaned that area off using a wire brush. Recharged battery and it starts and just now when pulling out of the driveway it died. What the heck man! Help! Help! lol