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Any suggestions on how to resolve battery issue?

  #21  
Old 12-29-2018, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cgwaters View Post
My wife has a 2013 Honda Fit Sport that has been having battery issues. If the vehicle isn't started for more than two days, especially in the winter (we live in the Northeast US), the battery goes nearly dead and doesn't have enough power to turn over the engine.

AAA replaced the battery the first time the issue occurred, about two years ago.

The issue occurred again 18 months ago (Summer 2017) when we were away for about 10 days. AAA jump-started the vehicle and determined the battery was still good.

The issue occurred again last winter; AAA jump-started the vehicle and determined the battery was still good but that the dome light had been accidentally left on overnight--likely draining the battery.

The battery was dead again last week, after the vehicle hadn't been started for three days. Connecting a Battery Tender charger overnight enabled the vehicle to start in the morning and throughout the day.

The battery is dead again tonight, after the vehicle hadn't been started for three days. I've connected the Battery Tender again.

An suggestions on how to further troubleshoot and resolve this? It's not practical to keep connecting the Battery Tender. Could the battery have been irreparably damaged (despite what AAA says) when we were away for 10 days or when the dome light was left on overnight?


I'm curious about your wife's driving pattern. No I'm not a stalker. Is it mostly short trips?

All lead-acid car batteries sulfate quickly when not at full charge. If her daily drive is limited to a few miles, then expect a battery replacement in less than 2 years. The added drains (remote starter, allstate nanny) probably contribute to this state. A battery tender would help this, but the cost of this, and the hassle of installing with a plugin (and plugging it in all the time) is more effort than it's worth. Unless it's done daily, the battery is at partial charge and sulfating, which kills it.

Unfortunately, Honda chose to put small capacity batteries in this car so there's not much margin for failure, especially in a cold climate. If this latest fix doesn't hold, consider replacing the battery in the fall each year. NAPA sells a good battery, reasonably priced (under $100), in the correct size.

I'm not a fan of sandwiching larger batteries in there (requires some modifications) but this is an alternative that would give longer battery life.
 

Last edited by Steve244; 12-29-2018 at 04:28 PM.
  #22  
Old 12-29-2018, 07:59 PM
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Yes, It wouldn't hurt to disconnect the remote start.... just to rule it out...

But, yeah, short trips kill batteries.... and kill cars.....(more so, older vehicles) but, stilll a car needs to be run at Operating temps.....(help burn out the junk...)

In getting a new battery...... Do it..... and leave remote start disconnected for some time........ bring it into the picture down the road.....

After you are comfortable that is seems the new battery is behaving (as new batteries should)
 
  #23  
Old 12-29-2018, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the comments, everyone.

So the battery was replaced yesterday afternoon. The mechanic didn't touch the remote starter but did keep a load monitor connected to the vehicle overnight. There was no drain whatsoever. Problem appears to have been solved.

At this point, we may never know what the root cause is/was--in particular, why did the problem became significantly worse the last few days. As I mentioned, I unplugged the OBD device two days ago and will not be plugging it back in.

My wife does a mixture of short drives and long drives. Over the last few months, it's been mostly long (45-60 minute) drives.
 
  #24  
Old 12-30-2018, 02:25 AM
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I'd be chasing wires like crazy, listening to the alternator pulley.. that remote starter would have to tap into an 'always hot' circuit, have a little relay and go to the ignition wire, no? I'm no electrician and hardly a mechanic.. but I'd check under the fuses in the engine bay just to see whats up.. i wonder if a crappy connection or relay could allow power from the battery to bypass the ignition, giving power to junk in the cab. Maybe consider, with the car off, popping out relays and jumpering with that multimeter of yours to see whats live, maybe mark the hot relays with a bit of tape. could give you or your mechanic a starting point. Itd have to be an always hot circuit if the battery and the alt are both perf, wouldnt it?

it sounds like you're good to go already, but maybe this'll get the gears turning for someone else.
 
  #25  
Old 12-30-2018, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cgwaters View Post
Thanks for the comments, everyone.

So the battery was replaced yesterday afternoon. The mechanic didn't touch the remote starter but did keep a load monitor connected to the vehicle overnight. There was no drain whatsoever. Problem appears to have been solved.

At this point, we may never know what the root cause is/was--in particular, why did the problem became significantly worse the last few days. As I mentioned, I unplugged the OBD device two days ago and will not be plugging it back in.

My wife does a mixture of short drives and long drives. Over the last few months, it's been mostly long (45-60 minute) drives.
There should always be some drain on the battery. Various systems stay awake to operate remote entry, maintain radio presets (and anti-theft), and retain volatile memory in other control units. This is called a "parasitic" load.

The Fit service manual specifies this load to be 200 milliamps (mA) or 0.2 amps when all the systems are "awake." Most go to sleep after about 40 seconds of inactivity (i.e. no door opened) and the load drops to 35 mA (0.035 amps). Disconnecting the battery negative cable and putting a multimeter in between this cable end and the battery should give you an accurate mA reading. Be careful not to overload the multimeter as these typically only handle a few amps maximum. Trying to start the car in this mode will burn out its fuse. There are more clever ways of doing this that involve more expensive test equipment.

If something is sending a sporadic signal to any of the car's control units, these will remain awake and draw at the higher amount (10 times higher) than when asleep. I'd be concerned this is happening with the aftermarket devices (remote starter, insurance nanny). Or the devices themselves may have a high load (the remote starter has to keep a radio receiver powered up to listen for start requests).

Your mechanic may be using a load monitor typical for checking starter load which measures in the 100s of amps and not registering the parasitic loads.

I read once (may have been here) that car designers allow for 3 or 4 weeks parked in sub-freezing temperatures and still have enough battery reserve to start the car. Hondas are no different, but have less of a margin due to the tiny batteries.

151r batteries are about 45 amp-hours in capacity. A 0.2 amp draw (200mA) will drain it in 225 hours (9 days). 0.035 amp draw (35mA) is 1,286 hours (53 days). Not sure how much remaining capacity is needed to actually start the car. This depends on the ambient temperature and other factors but you can see how a 200mA (0.2 amps) will deplete the battery in about a week. This is when the battery is new. As it ages it has less capacity due to sulfating which occurs more rapidly when the battery isn't maintained at full charge.
 

Last edited by Steve244; 12-30-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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