Civic '90 battery drain quickly

Discussion in 'Civic' started by bin yan, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. bin yan

    bin yan Guest

    My '90 civic seems to drain battery quite quickly. It was out of power
    this morning (after 4 days of not use). I could jump start it without
    any problem. After running the car for a while, I shut off the enginee
    and restarted the car, no problem. But after a couple of hours or so,
    the battery seems getting quite low, to a point that it just barely
    started the car after a few trials.

    The battery is probably more than 5 years old (diehard). I think it is
    time to replace the battery. But could it be the alternator or
    something else? I am pretty novice on cars.

    Any suggestions for me to test it further before taking it to a shop?


    bin yan, Nov 29, 2004
  2. bin yan

    Caroline Guest

    Some ideas:

    Could be but you're about due for a new battery anyway. On my 91 Civic, the
    average lifetime of any battery (including one Diehard) in it has been 4.5

    Old batteries do tend to wear down alternators. It's prudent to replace them
    before they die completely.

    I suggest replacing the battery and then getting back to the group. Interstate
    is a very popular battery name around these parts. For the first time ever, I
    broke away from Sears Diehards and bought an Interstate a few months ago. Costs
    about $20 more, but I think it's got a 7-year warranty.
    Autozone will do a free test of the battery but I personally haven't had the
    best experience with them in this particular matter.

    You could go buy a voltmeter from Radio Shack or similar, check the battery
    voltage with the engine not running, then with it running and the headlights on,
    and get back to the group. You should have at least 12 volts with the car not
    running. It should go over 14 volts with it running and headlights on.

    Do check that, say, the overhead interior car light switch isn't stuck in the
    "on all the time" position.
    Caroline, Nov 29, 2004
  3. And it is prudent to check the charging voltage after putting the battery
    in. It should be between 13 and 15 volts (low when the weather is warmer,
    high when the weather is colder). I replaced a friend's alternator (the
    diodes were almost completely toast) and checked the charge voltage. 17
    volts! Replaced the regulator (separate device in his Ford), and he wanted
    to give the battery a chance to prove itself. Once he replaced the battery,
    the system worked like a champ.

    I was looking for possible low voltage, but I'm glad I checked. A battery
    will put up with that for a couple of minutes, but no longer.

    Michael Pardee, Nov 29, 2004
  4. bin yan

    Howard Guest

    The life of a battery can differ significantly depending on where you live.
    Here in this part of the country (South) most car batteries won't make 4
    years. Heat shortens their life measurably.
    If you haven't heard, Honda has changed their battery warranty to 100 months
    with free replacement up to 3 years if defective or fails. And their price
    is very competitive right now. Make your decision soon if you do get a Honda
    battery because the price is going up a little on December 1. Up until then
    the price for the 100 month battery is the same as the previous 60 month
    battery. The Honda batteries are currently manufactured and distributed (at
    least here in the south) by Interstate. They make very good quality
    Howard, Nov 30, 2004
  5. bin yan

    fish Guest


    while we are on the topic, maybe you, or anyone really I dont mind,
    could answer a question i have. My car is a 2001 honda civic with
    about 50,000 miles, so i am about due for a new battery. I have a low
    voltage charger that i use on my lawnmower battery (12 volts), so my
    question is, can i squeeze some extra life from my car battery if i
    give it a good charging every month, or every weekend from now until
    it dies? I dont seem to have any starting problems at all right now.

    fish, Nov 30, 2004
  6. bin yan

    Howard Guest

    That would not assist you unless you leave the car unused for a week or more
    at a time. Your car has an alternator and a very sophisticated computer
    that monitors and keeps your battery at peak efficiency. The only thing that
    hurts the state of charge is abuse by forgetful owners who repetitively
    leave lights or other power draining systems on, an electrical problem on
    your vehicle or the age of your battery
    Howard, Nov 30, 2004
  7. bin yan

    WaterWatcher Guest

    One thing you can do for an old battery is use a charger that has a
    "rejuvenate" setting. I have a Vector charger (available at Wal Mart) that
    has such a setting. The theory is that when rejuvenating the charger uses
    high frequency charging to vibrate the sulfates off of the plates, therby
    adding time to the battery's life. YMMV.

    WaterWatcher, Dec 3, 2004
  8. bin yan

    bin yan Guest

    Thanks all for your inputs. My civic actually works fine now. I
    cleaned up the battery a little. And no problem whatsoever for 4 days
    already. Of course, I never tried leaving it for more than overnight.
    But I will stay put till problem comes back up.

    I didn't think I left anything on last time if failed.

    bin yan, Dec 3, 2004
  9. bin yan

    DaveD Guest

    The life expectancy of your battery is not correlate to your mileage. Many
    factors affect battery life. Temperatures in the area where you live, your
    driving style, and the amount of care you give your battery. A car battery
    is designed (internal construction) to operate thusly: high current draw for
    short periods followed immediately by recharging. A slow charge, such as you
    would get with the lawnmower battery charger, certainly won't hurt your
    battery but I doubt that you would expect any significant extension of
    battery life. Things you can do to increase your battery life: 1)
    Cleanliness, clean the battery itself with plain soap and water, after
    neutralizing any acid residue with a soda solution; clean the terminals and
    the battery cable ends; 2) Check battery connections. Check the cables at
    the battery, the ground, and the starter. This ensures that the circuit does
    not have any inordinately high resistance values; and 3) About once a month
    ensure that you drive for a couple of hours to charge the battery fully. Of
    course, you should check the alternator output from time to time. All of
    these things are even more important during the winter months because
    driving times usually are shorter, lights and heater blower motors consume
    more of the alternator's output requiring even longer recharging times. Hope
    this helps

    Dave D
    DaveD, Dec 4, 2004
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