2015 Buick Enclave - intermittent starting trouble

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Old 06-28-18, 02:02 PM
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2015 Buick Enclave - intermittent starting trouble

Had car serviced at dealer about a week and a half ago, basic oil service, brake fluid replacement and rear brake service. Also free 27 point inspection. Last Saturday night my wife was leaving the supermarket, about 5 miles from home, car won't start. warning message says something like "battery low, start car immediately". just clicking, won't start. interior lights are on but dim. rear hatch wont open.

Car was purchased Jan 2015, so 3.5 years old (original battery)

Called Buick roadside assistance, they came and jumped battery, said battery was fine, was showing 6 or 7 volts before he jumped it. started right up.

Car was ok again until today, my wife drove about an hour away, then came home. about an hour after that, car won't start. Same issue, just clicking. Could this be alternator not charging batter? very intermittent. I figured if it were alternator it would be happening all the time.

I am going home shortly to jump batter, then drive to dealer. They will have to troubleshoot. Hoping it's something under warranty, unless they sabatoged my car the last time I was there. Definitely time to find private mechanic.
 
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Old 06-28-18, 02:15 PM
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said battery was fine, was showing 6 or 7 volts before he jumped it
That low voltage would be considered just about dead. The battery needs to be +12v for starting.

It sounds like a battery or charging issue. If you had a basic voltmeter you could check the battery voltage when running. It should be over 13.8vdc to be considered charging.

I severely doubt the dealer sabotaged your car. It may be coincidental.
 
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Old 06-28-18, 06:14 PM
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Battery

OEM battery life at about 4 years would not be untypical. A battery reading of an otherwise good battery at only 11 volts would probably not turn over the car. 6-7 volts probably means a short in one or two of the 6 battery cells, I am pretty sure your battery has failed. The good news is your car starts with a jump so it is clearly a straightforward battery/charging issue.

But first check that there is no interior light switch left on, or the door open/close light switch keeping interior lights on, sometimes these switch items stick or short and can discharge a battery quickly.

It is possible that the alternator has failed, but sometimes a failing battery can cause the alternator to overwork and it fails, so the cause of a failed alternator at lower mileage is often battery related. Still means time for a new battery.

Some stores can load test a battery and determine its condition, but even then I have had batteries diagnosed as good when it turns out they were not, so these tests are not definitive, but no doubt helpful for the store to deal with spurious battery warranty claims. The roadside service fellow can not load test a battery. There are simple voltmeter checks that can test whether the alternator is charging, but even these can be unreliable if the battery itself is in a failed condition and require more direct voltmeter checks to the alternator itself.


Proactively replacing a battery every 4 years is not unreasonable, given the price of a Costco battery and considering that so many problems and strandings are bad battery related. And don't think that a longer battery warranty means a better battery, just means you get a credit when it fails, and it will fail statistically regardless of the warranty attached to the battery. Unless you want to spend big dollars for eg. a Northstar pure lead AGM battery, which if you do a lot of short run driving might not be a false economy.


As for the dealer, if the car was starting fine at the time there would not be much to have seen via inspection, but they might be embarrassed at a failure so close to the service date, and cut you a break. At 3.5 years (plus however long the car sat on the dealer lot, usually there is a battery manufacture date on the battery sticker itself), I suspect your car battery is just off warranty, and surprise that's exactly how long it lasted! You might get a dealer goodwill replacement if the warranty expiry is close enough. But accusing them of sabotage and bad faith will probably not get you this outcome, so take the high road, stuff happens.
 
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Old 06-29-18, 09:37 AM
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Jumped battery and drove to dealer for night drop off. dealer says battery defective, dead or shorting cell. he also says its not covered under warranty as car has over 50k miles, but under 4 years old. I have the extended warranty taking it up to about 80k miles but he says battery may not be covered as it's wear and tear item. if that's the case, would it be covered under the original 50k bumper to bumper if it's wear and tear? If not, why bring that up. They are checking to see if it could be covered. if not, I need to pay for battery plus $80 charge for electrical check? so much for warranty. Lessons be learned!
 
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Old 06-29-18, 11:01 AM
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I would not expect the original warranty to cover the battery at that age but the extended warranty should. You need to check the fine print as there are many loopholes in those extended warranty policies.
 
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Old 06-29-18, 01:44 PM
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You're not kidding about loopholes... battery not covered under extended warranty, as it's considered wear and tear. Doesn't make sense, as the battery is covered under ORIGINAL bumper to bumper, whereas brakes are not (wear and tear item). If I had an aftermarket 60mo battery, after 42 months I would get a prorated amount towards replacement. No such thing here with the original battery. I've had batteries go on me usually around 5-6 years, never 3.5, and they've just had a dead/shorted cell
 
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Old 06-29-18, 01:50 PM
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Tried to edit post, wouldn't let me. Meant to say in the past, my batteries would simply die, but you could hear it coming for several days/week. NEVER had a dead/shorted cell.
 
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Old 06-29-18, 02:56 PM
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Battery Life

Here is some data from an academic study, the normal distribution of battery life for delivery trucks in Europe is 1,308 days, with a standard of deviation of 528. That means the median life is 3.6 years, plus or minus 1.4 years. That is why proactively replacing at about 4 years, would be a statistically reasonable approach to avoid running the battery to its maximum life and being stranded somewhere. This is why I also say get the cheapest possible battery, typically Costco or Walmart ones which are actually as good quality as any out there, and replace proactively rather than buying warranty coverage that does nothing for you while your car doesn't start.

Most batteries now use a calcium lead alloy, and have a shorter life than you might have experienced in the past. Pure lead batteries are still available, but are about double the price. Most are AGM batteries, which are a great technology, no leaks of acid, and helpful for cars with stop start systems, or monster stereos. But overkill for many daily driver cars.

If you are the type that wants to max out battery life (which I like to do) get one of these lithium charger packs and keep it in the trunk (and trickle charge it from time to time to keep it fresh). Will also power a cell phone in an emergency. Really simple to use, your spouse could do it on her own if she was so inclined.

https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-GB40-Ult...70_&dpSrc=srch

The OEM battery is probably a Delco, and would normally have a 5 year prorated warranty (in Canada), that might apply outside of the main warranties, which typically exclude batteries as a wear item.
 
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Old 07-02-18, 07:34 AM
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If the battery has a dead cell, determined by testing the batter, why would dealer charge me $80 for an electrical check? Isn't part of battery replacement checking the battery? or is this a separate check of electrical system? Can't imagine it being more than plugging the car computer to the diagnostics.

I also see a coupon for a no charge battery test, so I would think this would cover me and I shouldn't be charged for a separate electrical check.
 
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Old 07-03-18, 01:26 PM
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Battery checks are usually done by GM dealers for free (or with a promotion as per your coupon). Install of a battery would typically be $25, not sure if that's in the $80. They may have done some checks with a meter or special test equipment to make sure the alternator and starter was ok, then checked the battery. This is a reasonable approach, as just sending you off with a new battery only to have the no start problem recur would not make you happy.
 
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