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Battery Slowly Destroying My Car?

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Oct 22, 2014, 8:39 AM

Post #1 of 12 (1178 views)
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I am leasing a Jeep Liberty 2003 from a dealership pretty close to my home.

I've had it for about a year 1/2 now and it's done me pretty well.. Gets me from A to B, ya know?!

The first thing that stopped working (electrically) was the back left window. Just stopped working about 2 months after my initial lease.

Now about 2 months ago in August while driving down the highway, my radio randomly turned down all the way (the volume). I turned it back up and it worked for a couple seconds before getting very dim. Weird problem. Finished the rest of my 20 minute drive with and anymore. I couldn't get it to play the radio anymore.

The problem never really happened too often after that. Got in the next day and it was working fine, but occasionally (every 3-4 days) it would stop working until the next day or two.

Just really weird, random, and unexpected power to the stereo.. It became pretty annoying.

About a month ago the other rear window (right) stopped working as well. Just no power to either side when I hit the buttons (either buttons, the one on the doors themselves or the one in the driver's controls.)

Around the same time, the radio stopped working for what I was thought was FOR GOOD. A week went by, then another week, then a 3rd week!

Now we're all the way up to this week and the past 7 days.

The other day driving to the laundromat was fine. Car ran like always (except for 2 non-powered back windows and an un-powered stereo for the 4th week..)

However, after dumping my clothes off and doing a quick drive to the gas station, I noticed a really.... "Go-Kart" kind of sound. It just sounded like an electric toy car like you hear in cartoons.. (WEEEEEEEEE) was what the engine sounded like. I have no way to explain it!

The car didn't necessarily feel much different than it normally did, but the sound got higher pitched the faster I drove, and when I would decelerate from around 15MPH to a complete stop, something on the car sounded like a low toned loud grinding sound like a boat horn.. weird.

Took it into a mechanic and paid $350 to repair what he said was a "Broken/Loose Power Steering Tube". Service was fast; no big deal, had it in my possession the next morning.

The sound seems to have gone away and I feel like I have way more control over the car again like when I first got it. (with the steering wheel).

Drove it all day yesterday when I got back it and the radio STILL didn't work. (The power steering wasn't expected to fix the radio, just saying..)

Now this morning when I got in it to go to work, the radio was on and playing just fine for about 2 minutes. All of the controls worked; sounded amazing; I was so surprised that after a month of not having radio, it suddenly turned on for no reason..

Then it just stopped playing sound again. The weird thing is; all the buttons and display were working fine, it didn't even dim.. It just wouldn't play sound and the volume knob wouldn't change the volume number; it would just stay on 16.

I thought maybe powering it off and on would fix it, but when I held the power button to turn it off, it wouldn't turn back on again.

I've noticed that every issue I've had related to power. Radio, power steering, windows.. OH! And the other day the horn wouldn't stop beeping so I had to disconnect the fuse (that's electrical too, right?!)

So what is it? Is the battery broken? Or is it just such a minimal amount overpowered that it's slowly destroying every electrical component in my car?

If you read all this, thank you! If you have any suggestions to help me fix any of these issues, please let me know!

I currently have no horn, no power to rear windows, no stereo.

Thanks! :)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 22, 2014, 8:54 AM

Post #2 of 12 (1171 views)
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What a mess really? Lease on a car that old?!

OK - Possible that PS leak has wrecked belt or sprayed fluid where it doesn't belong and that was NOT electrical BTW. Other strange things and noises suggest more alternator issues or unregulated power perhaps with spikes in voltage blowing things as a guess.

Who is really responsible for a car you don't own at this age?



Oct 22, 2014, 10:12 AM

Post #3 of 12 (1164 views)
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The mechanic replacing the PS tube DID fix the sounds though; so I ruled that out, however I was unaware that PS Tube breaks were unrelated to electrical issues so let's forget about that for now.

So I mentioned the radio working for a couple minutes this morning and then freezing and not turning on again.

When I took my lunch break an hour ago, radio was working PERFECTLY. I synced my iPhone to it and was playing full playlists of songs with no errors at all.

After a month of not working at all, suddenly it wants to work again?

Also, I lied about the rear windows. They DO make a motor sound when you hit the buttons, those motors just don't do anything.

That could be good or bad. Either that means that it's a physical issue with a component in the windows themselves, or it's not getting enough power, but still getting a little.

I'd like to believe it's a power issue though, because once again, the stereo, the windows, and the horn are (or were for the stereo) all funked up.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 22, 2014, 10:42 AM

Post #4 of 12 (1152 views)
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Radio? Connections to it? Aftermarket one maybe if so frequently are a problem spot.

Windows: You hear them so high chances are regulator is broken inside. You might for a try just push with both hands down on the glass and it might slide down but at the risk of it not staying back up again without the fix most likely a new regulator assy for each.
Horn? IDK for sure of anything on the web really but a relay could be sticking OR worse a problem in the steering wheel that you don't want to hear about as it could be quite involved.

Again, who's car is this to fix or can you just get another or what? Sorry I just don't get it for leasing a car now well over 10 years old what the contract could read like. If you are expected to turn this in, in perfect condition with nothing wrong this sounds like a nightmare to me!

Why do you think battery in your subject line is killing this? Do you have to jump start this all the time?



Oct 22, 2014, 10:48 AM

Post #5 of 12 (1147 views)
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The car is mine to fix; the place I'm leasing from doesn't offer a warranty. I'd have to look into the contract to see EXACTLY how strict their "return" policies are, but I'm sure they'd take it back in 5 pieces haha. They're raking me over the coals for money anyway; I've probably already paid it off in full. Leasing sucks, but so does my credit.

I'm so stern on the battery because they all seem like electrical issues. I know it's not the radio unit itself because it works in other's cars. and don't you think if it was connections that it wouldn't just randomly shut off for literally one entire month and then just work again? Must have hit the right bump pulling it to my driveway?? Haha..

The horn; I pulled the fuse to keep the freakin' thing quiet. I'd check the relay but in the 2003 Jeep Liberty it's hidden behind the passenger side fuse-box and I can't even imagine how you'd get to it.

I don't think it's the steering wheel because if I put the fuse back in, the horn will work just fine; I just don't want it to start blaring for no reason in the middle of the night when the car is completely off again.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 22, 2014, 11:09 AM

Post #6 of 12 (1140 views)
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If you don't trust the battery for any reason have it tested for FREE at many major parts outlets but if it starts and runs it probably has nothing to do with other problems. You could check that when it's running it's charging within range of voltage for cheap voltmeter or multimeter.

The horn: Unplug the dang horns at the horns and maybe the relay will click for you to find it more easily? I suspect since it stays on that the steering column where you need to push to make it work is broken called a clock spring type thing but it's behind an air bag to even check so if just always on like being pushed and you are not that's on the list.

Your iPhone whatever working in another car has nothing to do with anything. This vehicle probably quit being able to switch modes from one thing to another or perhaps lacks ground or good connections itself not the whole car. If radio itself those get sent out usually to a specialty shop for that but you need to know it's that and not just a connection issue first.

Still shocked basics are your problem on a leased car and agree it suks. Wouldn't anyone like to lease a car out and get it back a couple years later all fixed up on the person! Understand routine work would be on you but not out of ordinary in any fair lease but clearly at the age it's already unfair.

I think you should read your contract on this car to know who is responsible for what. Technically in any place I know of not having a horn that works properly is a reason to fail an inspection and render this vehicle not legal to use on public roads until fixed - now what?

I don't know how to advise you on this as even you don't know who's responsible for what yet so go find out and let's go on from there,



Oct 22, 2014, 11:41 AM

Post #7 of 12 (1134 views)
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By the way just wanted to thank you for your well thought out responses before I continue! :)

The Horn: Great idea. I'll take a look at some manuals to see where the damn horn plug is and just unplug it from there, pop the fuse back in and listen for clicks. If the relay is indeed tucked behind the fuseback in the dash I fear I'll have to take off more dash panels than I want to, but whatever.

The Stereo: when I said "Works in other cars" I didn't mean my iPhone. I meant literally the stereo itself. The stereo face pops off of the main unit with a simple "detach" button and can mix/match to any other main unit. I tried the face unit in a friend's car with the same brand and it worked just fine, hence why I've come to the conclusion that it isn't the UNIT itself.

However, that doesn't rule out the possibility of wiring and connections issues like you've stated.. but how can wires and connections be good only 15% of the time? Why does the radio work PERFECTLY like nothing was every wrong.. but only 2 days out of the month?

It just doesn't make sense. When electronics break, they break.. they don't just 'works 10% of the time' break unless something is affecting it every now and then. I've pretty much ruled out "bumps" in the car knocking wires back in to place because I've purposely gone 20MPH over speedbumps to give it a good knock and it just hasn't done the job.

After having absolutely NO POWER to the main radio unit for 1 entire month's time, and then working flawlessy out of no where leads me to believe that.... hell I don't even know..

That's like.. not possible! Lmao..

I will take a look at my contract today; it's not fair that--as a leaser--I'm not only being given an old car that is prone to damage and wear/tear, but also given no protection or assistance in the repair that is inevitable, and then expected to return in working condition. $$$$$$ for them.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 22, 2014, 12:07 PM

Post #8 of 12 (1127 views)
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OK - Horn relay may not click with that test if stuck on hard enough.

Removable face radio: Well, have to wonder how many times that can go on and off before something wears out. Doesn't seem like a set up that came with the vehicle but if you found it works in another strongly suggests the dash unit isn't recognizing the face plate is back on? If it has clearly obvious contacts I guess you could try cleaning them. If you must have it you may have to get another as repairs are not usually cheap or possible depending on exactly what it is.

Pretty much I'm adding this stuff up to wear and tear annoying problems and might be costly. Guess you could do without working back windows. Hearing the motor as you said suggests a belt which is part of a new regulator seems likely. Being back windows makes me wonder why both though unless doors and windows were abused somehow but never know for sure.

See if you can get out of this dang vehicle as it has to be costing you way too much to really be fixing someone else's vehicle.

You said you've had it a year and a 1/2 so how much longer? I'd give it back if possible and figure something out that makes better sense than this. Repairs can easily outcost the value YOU are going to get out of it.

This thread isn't going on mechanical fixes but I'm looking at a total rip of fixing up someone else's vehicle. Routine stuff yes but not every last thing in it.

Read you contract. As said so far just the horn would be a problem for legal road use for most areas for an inspection. I can't imagine back windows or a radio being part of that inspection if up and you can see thru them at least.

Tough spot you are in,



Oct 22, 2014, 12:42 PM

Post #9 of 12 (1118 views)
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I'm just going to install an eject lever by my emergency brake and crash it into a bridge; I don't care. I love it. LaughLaugh

Thanks for the help. Once I get out of work I'm going to take a look at the horn and see if I can't get that bad boy to work.

Radio is working fine as of now so let's hope it stays that way.. If it shuts off randomly again I'll buy a multimeter and test the wires but I really don't understand how it can work only sometimes.

Windows; ah screw em. Haven't needed them anyway; was just curious

Contract/Lease.. I think half a year until it's up. Maybe less. Chances are I'll let them keep the POS and start leasing a better, newer car from a cheaper dealer.

Or maybe even start financing to buy/own a car in the future. Who knows! Owning kind of sucks because you end up finally paying it off 10 years down the line when the technology is old news.

But... It's hypocritical for me to say that because I'm driving an almost 12 year old car haha.

kev2 profile image

Oct 22, 2014, 1:00 PM

Post #10 of 12 (1112 views)
Re: Battery Slowly Destroying My Car? Sign In

  I am sure tom will walk you through some repairs ideas- etc.

Some questions I have might help paint this picture-

The radio - is it STOCK- a jeep product?
Have you scanned for codes - its free and a first step.
Is there a remote starter?
those back windows being inop - has anyone looked a fuses? the pillar to door harness? tried to operate using rear switches? - really I never open, AC is a godsend.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 22, 2014, 1:07 PM

Post #11 of 12 (1111 views)
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No, don't eject yourself out of the car over this.

Check on a better deal when this one is done with. Horn you could fake but wont say how on open web. Agreed about windows in back - some aren't made to open at all new or only go down part way and useless on many.

Radio/Stereo stuff. If not yours why spend a dime on it?

Laugh sport at 12 years old. My own newest car is almost 26!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not the point. Things wear out and plain sun, rain, hot, cold or worse abuse, miles way up there if so, and the ultimate killer is road salt used in many places for ice and snow really bites it!

When the time comes think hard about owning and buying and watch out for warranties on either beyond what they come with. For some leasing is the way but usually new cars and just swap out every 3-4 years for another for some.

Transportations costs no matter what you do and worth a lot of thought. Any car is more expensive to fix or fix up than just take good care of the routine maintenance right on time.

Have used anything checked out first before any purchase or lease if used and know exactly what you are in for.

Good luck,



Oct 22, 2014, 1:12 PM

Post #12 of 12 (1108 views)
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Radio is aftermarket Alpine but it came from the dealer when I started my lease.

Scanned for codes? On what? The radio? Where would I do that? And do you have reason to believe it's the radio that is broken even though it's currently been working for the past few hours (after a month of not turning on?)

Remote starter? For the radio or for the car? No to both of those questions, but I know that this radio DOES have the option to be synced with a remote control if you ever wanted to; however, this is not an issue for me.
Actually don't think anyone has looked at the fuses; I just assumed that because the switches (both driver and rear window switches) make a motor sound when you hit them that it's not a fuse because clearly power is getting to them.

But seriously this radio thing is boggling me and I've said it OVER AND OVER AND OVER on this post already.

It works PERFECTLY... but only 15% of the time. In other words; One day it will work all day. The next day it might shut off while I'm driving and not work for the rest of the night, but work the next day in the morning after the car has been sitting. The next day it may shut off and not turn on for an entire month.


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