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Old 10th Dec 2012, 10:44   #1
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Do I need a new car battery?

Having googled around I can't seem to come up with a definitive answer so I thought I would ask the source of all knowledge (aka the BT forums )

I drive a 2004 1.8 Diesel Focus which I bought 3, maybe 4 years ago - it's done about 60,000 miles iirc. To my knowledge it's never had a new battery - I've certainly never had it replaced. Recently, particularly with the cold weather, it's been really sluggish to start - on one or two occasions I've doubted whether it will start or not. My question is simple - do you think I need a new battery? Is there any way I can test it? I don't own a multimeter however...

Cheers

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Old 10th Dec 2012, 10:49   #2
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That sounds like a new battery to me. If the starter motor turns over, but sluggishly, it is because it cannot draw enough current from the battery. I would suggest that you buy a new battery.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 11:08   #3
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Yeah - it does turn over but is really sluggish... Even this morning when it wasn't that cold (3 degrees ish) it was fairly slow to get started... The only thing that's bugging me is the thought that it may be glow plugs instead...
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 11:11   #4
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Take yourself down to the local motor factors and see if they have a battery tester - they should tell you in a couple of minutes if it's knackered.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 11:15   #5
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Good idea - hadn't thought of that... Come to think of it I did notice that Halfords offer a free battery check when we were walking past the other day but didn't put 2 + 2 together!
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 11:18   #6
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Last time I got a "free battery check" Kwik-Fit just turned everything (but the engine) on and measured the voltage. A healthy battery would have sagged with that kind of load. Having knackered my battery the *******s wouldn't even jump me out their yard, thankfully it started and I got a battery from a mate for 12 instead of 60 kwik-fit wanted!
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 11:25   #7
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lol - maybe not the best of ideas then!
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 12:35   #8
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New battery is likely the way to go, had the same thing on my Civic - was on the original battery too and after 60k it had got to the point it wasn't giving enough current.

Diesels are harsher than a petrol on batteries as they glow-plugs require a lot more current to heat up than the spark plugs on a petrol do. Especially during the winter as the engine block and battery are much colder so needs more power to start.

Still got the original battery as it's great for camping - can run a full set of 12v lights all night for two weeks in the tent and charge my phone off it.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:17   #9
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Might just bite the bullet and get a new one - I'll probably just be lazy and get halfords to fit it (for the sake of a few quid I'd rather they were fumbling round in the cold and dark than me).

Anyone got any advice on which of these to go for?

Thanks for all the suggestions guys!

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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:26   #10
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Not worth the risk in cold weather. Remember that batteries are a chemical reaction and the cold inhibits it, hence why your battery seems worse than normal. Defo time for a new one. 60k and 8 years on a diesel battery is decent going , I think I got to 8 years but about 120k on my 2002 Pug 206 diesel.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:28   #11
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Do you regularly do lots of short trips? If you only go to the shops and back, then it may be that you are using more charge than you are putting in, especially with a diesel. If this is the case, either run the car for a long drive or use a battery charger on the car. If you have access to a power socket I would recommend an Optimate charger to do this, as you can unclip the battery very easily.

If you regularly drive several miles and still have this issue then it's likely the battery is dying.

If I had to choose a new battery, I'd go for the sliver top, as it is a very good battery. The one I had in my Discovery never failed to start the car unless it was really flat, and it has a five year warrantee as well.

Have a quick look on the net for instructions on how to change your battery. It might be easier than you think depending on where it is. With my MG I can change a battery in 5 minutes with a 10mm socket and a 10mm spanner. That said, if there are lots of electronics on top of the battery, like VAG do, then let them have the hassle of changing it. Same goes if its in an awkward place.

Hope this helps
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:37   #12
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Personally I'd go for the Bosch rather than the Halfords own brand.

Do you not have a local independant garage or motor parts store you can call into? Most will test for free and when I went (pretty much same symptoms as you on a 1.8 petrol) they tested it, showed me what batteries would be suitable and it came out with a better battery around 20 cheaper and fitted. Might be worth a drive around unless you feeling extra lazy.

Also make sure you do get a diesel battery, I'm pretty sure you need to be looking for something in the 650-700+ starting ampage range for a diesel
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:53   #13
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You sure its the battery?

Its cold weather and the glow plugs will have to work a little harder for turn over.

Flick the ignition over to position 2, waiting 30-45s then crank or if the dash has a glow plug lamp wait just a little longer after the lamp goes out.

If its still having issues then yes maybe a new battery.


Also to note, is the car difficult to start after its been driven and warmed up?
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 13:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK View Post
Anyone got any advice on which of these to go for?
I have a standard Halfords one and it's fine, no complaints at all.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 14:04   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamis_dk View Post
Personally I'd go for the Bosch rather than the Halfords own brand
This! you'll probably be looking at a 20 premium over the cheapo own brand ones but the Bosch Silver batteries are bullet proof, really great Amp rating VS standard batteries too. If you have a local Andrew Page you'll often find they're as cheap as the web for these (The one I bought from them was 40 cheaper than what Halfords were asking)
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 15:14   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enterobsidian View Post
Do you regularly do lots of short trips?

If you regularly drive several miles and still have this issue then it's likely the battery is dying.

Have a quick look on the net for instructions on how to change your battery. It might be easier than you think depending on where it is. With my MG I can change a battery in 5 minutes with a 10mm socket and a 10mm spanner. That said, if there are lots of electronics on top of the battery, like VAG do, then let them have the hassle of changing it. Same goes if its in an awkward place.
My 'normal' is a 25 minutes ~18 miles trip to work in the morning then home in the evening. Maybe some shorter trips in the evening / at the weekend but not really that many.

I might be tempted to fit it myself if it wasn't (a) dark every day when I get home from work and (b) freezing cold! I might do it at the weekend perhaps - getting them to do it is only 7 though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamis_dk View Post
Personally I'd go for the Bosch rather than the Halfords own brand.

Do you not have a local independant garage or motor parts store you can call into? Most will test for free and when I went (pretty much same symptoms as you on a 1.8 petrol) they tested it, showed me what batteries would be suitable and it came out with a better battery around 20 cheaper and fitted. Might be worth a drive around unless you feeling extra lazy.

Also make sure you do get a diesel battery, I'm pretty sure you need to be looking for something in the 650-700+ starting ampage range for a diesel
I was leaning towards the Bosch as well - for the sake of 20 it certainly seems a better deal... I do take my car to a local garage for service, MOT etc so I could give them a call - the convenience of Halfords was the main factor in considering them, but might be worth it - cheers for the suggestion.

The Halfords site brought up those batteries when I typed in my reg (and it did correctly identify my car) but the Bosch is only coming back as a 600A battery...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21 View Post
You sure its the battery?

Flick the ignition over to position 2, waiting 30-45s then crank or if the dash has a glow plug lamp wait just a little longer after the lamp goes out.

Also to note, is the car difficult to start after its been driven and warmed up?
The dash does have a little light - I always leave it a few seconds after the light goes out (which is almost straight away).

The car doesn't have any issues in starting after a drive - i.e. the other day I drove home but stopped off at Tesco on the way - Tesco is a couple of miles from my house so it must have been 15 miles from work to Tesco. It was sluggish starting at work (after sitting for 8 hours in the cold) but not at Tesco (I was only in there for 10 minutes). What would this point to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dire_wolf View Post
This! you'll probably be looking at a 20 premium over the cheapo own brand ones but the Bosch Silver batteries are bullet proof, really great Amp rating VS standard batteries too. If you have a local Andrew Page you'll often find they're as cheap as the web for these (The one I bought from them was 40 cheaper than what Halfords were asking)
I'd noticed the difference in the Amps too - it's 10-20% more than the other two.

Unfortutely the nearest Andrew Page is miles away...
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 15:39   #17
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Quote:
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The car doesn't have any issues in starting after a drive - i.e. the other day I drove home but stopped off at Tesco on the way - Tesco is a couple of miles from my house so it must have been 15 miles from work to Tesco. It was sluggish starting at work (after sitting for 8 hours in the cold) but not at Tesco (I was only in there for 10 minutes). What would this point to?
Well it could be some things, but it sounds like your car battery is charged okay by the generator, but then discharges very quickly when left in the cold. Other than that it could be the glow plugs.

Do you have a set of jumper cables and a mates diesel car? If your car starts without a problem running of your mates battery it is your battery at fault, but if it starts slowly then it might be the glow plugs.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 16:13   #18
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Quote:
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Do you have a set of jumper cables and a mates diesel car? If your car starts without a problem running of your mates battery it is your battery at fault, but if it starts slowly then it might be the glow plugs.
Might be worth a shot...
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 16:21   #19
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I had an issue with my battery last year, car was refusing to start the nxt day after being sat over night. Would jump and bump start.

It finally refused to start at tesco's car park and the AA came out and ran a full diagnotsic on my electrical system and found nothing wrong. Installed a new battery the next day and been fine ever since. So much for diagnostics
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 17:23   #20
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A car battery last about 5 years, sometime less. You know its done for, when it mysteriously lose its charge for no reason. I had to change mine, last week, I was overextending its life for 2 months : / You know something is wrong, when you drive and the voltage is under 12v.

Ps: Diagnostics are ****, they gave me a dead battery at the autopart store ! They said they were very sorry, that the battery was fine the day before... You know something is wrong when your car don't boot with a brand new battery. They gave me a 30 quid discount and freshly made battery :-)
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