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2004 kia spectra won't hold charge


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marie0002
New User

Jul 4, 2013, 8:58 PM

Post #1 of 9 (1778 views)
  post locked   2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

Greetings,
I have a 2004 Kia Spectra with 130,000 miles on it. It has been a great car until recently. What happened: While driving my cluster panel/accessory lights began to dim and then went out, the radio shut off, the speedometer began fluctuating wildly and then the car just died. When I tried to start it, it would not start but made a terrible, very rapid clicking noise (this had never happened before).
What I did: Had it towed home after pushing out of traffic, removed alternator and tested it twice at two different places- it tested good every time. Checked all fuses, they are also good. Replaced the battery. Checked all fluids, also good. Checked ground wiring-also good. It can't be the starter because it did start after replacing the battery but it then died again the same day. I am thinking a possible short in wiring, or a fuse link, or a maybe an error code? I greatly appreciate any help that can be offered, I don't know with any certainty what is wrong and how to fix it. Thank you for your time.
Kindly,
marie0002


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 12:53 AM

Post #2 of 9 (1752 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

That's fundamentally typical that the alternator/charging system is not working. Doesn't mean the alternator is bad. An alternator needs belt to drive it and be tight enough AND is regulated to not overcharge as well. Off car testing may or may not be conclusive. I prefer to check them and performance in the vehicle.

All your symptoms would be expected as battery loses its charge while using the car so for now don't be too freaked over that it strongly suggests no charge or so low it can't keep up.

I don't have much specific info on this car but the alternator does need battery power to operate sometimes thru a fuseable link. Plain plug can be the fault OR (don't make me go look) if internally regulated could be that is faulty.

Are YOU fixing this or plan to get more help?

Either way if at all possible keep the battery charged with a charger right now. This normally would be a quick repair at a shop with it in front of them and be done with it,

T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 3:31 AM

Post #3 of 9 (1739 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

Agree with Tom. The charging system has to be tested in the car.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



marie0002
New User

Jul 5, 2013, 7:18 AM

Post #4 of 9 (1724 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

I will have the charging system tested again-but in the car this time as suggested. I am getting help from my boyfriend and his dad, we were trying to solve it ourselves (for financial reasons). I am just a basic automotive technician (I am new at it, so I don't have much experience) and his dad did mechanic work in the military many years ago, so we hoped we could find a solution.
We will follow up and let you know what happens after we try the afore mentioned advice. Thank you very much T, you are greatly appreciated.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 7:34 AM

Post #5 of 9 (1720 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

Things have changed since his days fixing a deuce and a half in the Army.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 8:20 AM

Post #6 of 9 (1708 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

Marie: On a budget and could still fail at this but you can get a small voltmeter for under $15 bucks, need that and perhaps best to get a plain test light recently at Walmart for ~$5 bucks.

With it running you check voltage while running and should read over 13Volts but under 15V then turn things on and see if it drops too low. Battery just sitting there is 12.2 +/- and more when running. You may not realize that just running with nothing on your fuel pump and ignition system is taking up power so cars use alternators to keep it right on the spot for the next start which is really what it's all about.

A no tool check is charge the battery so it will run for testing then put on turn signals noting the speed of blinks. Now turn things on like headlights, Rear window defroster and they will slow right down - kinda redneck but it is
a clue it's not charging but doesn't say why.

Needing this isn't uncommon for any car to go thru and by surprise most times. Just why is the key for the permanent fix,

T



marie0002
New User

Jul 5, 2013, 3:22 PM

Post #7 of 9 (1684 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

So, after having he charging system tested as suggested, it was indeed not charging at all. We replaced the alternator (even though it tested "good") and the problem seems to be fixed!
It appears to have been the alternator after all, which makes sense, but we were thrown off by it testing good when it wasn't. Using a multi-meter, it is now showing +/- 13 volts (success!), compared to the 10 and below volts it had shown before. We have been driving it off and on today to test it and it has been normal (yay!).
I am grateful for your help and advice. Thank you and cheers, Tom! Smile


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 3:51 PM

Post #8 of 9 (1679 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

You probably should have manually charged that battery before running it with the new alternator. They aren't designed to do that much charging all at once and will often fail when you do that to them.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 5, 2013, 9:22 PM

Post #9 of 9 (1657 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 kia spectra won't hold charge  

Sounds great Marie. It's not that uncommon to need an alternator and doesn't mean the car is going kaputs on you.

Just FYI if you don't have your own and have "house' power you can get a slow but effective battery charger that is automatic to charge a battery without using the alternator of the car which always helps. ~$20 bucks. It handy for almost any car owner. Home Depot has them here in tool department by Black and Decker. Have several but had to ask there to find the dang thing for 12V things, cars and other equipment with battery starters.

Sorry you were thrown off by the off car testing? I just never did it that way so can't say just what they did or perhaps for that moment it worked??

I'd say you are all set for now and wait for Mr. Hammer Time to close out this thread so you don't get spammed out but could be opened by any moderator if you see it locked and want it opened again. Good luck,

Tom







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