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Any suggestions on how to resolve battery issue?

  #1  
Old 12-25-2018, 10:35 PM
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Any suggestions on how to resolve battery issue?

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?
 
  #2  
Old 12-25-2018, 11:31 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?
Find out if there's something draining the battery. Things like dome lights are "obvious," since you can see it, even if you forget about it. Other things, like plugged in charging cable or whatever might not be so obvious.

As for the battery, what it is, is that once it goes dead, it's usually no longer AS good. Sure, it can hold a charge and all that, but I found out the hard way, after going dead, my battery was simply going bad as I had downward spiral of issues until I replaced it. Mind you, it wasn't immediate, but progressively worse and worse over months to a year. One of the issues I recall was similar to yours, if I don't drive for more than a few days during winter, the battery would be extremely weak and not start the car.

I mentioned this last week in another thread, but for a while I had been having electrical issues where the various lights and electronics would blink out under certain conditions (like almost stalling as I drive a manual trans). To fix this, I replaced the main ground (the cable from the car's chassis to the battery's negative terminal) and while at it, cleaned up the positive and negative terminals on the battery and to a lesser degree, where the new grounding cable comes into contact with the chassis. There was quite a bit of deposit/corrosion on the positive terminal which I had been debating just leaving alone. After I did that, it no longer does any of the blinking out.

After some googling, some recommendations aren't much different from what I mentioned... cut down on running electronics (yes, including the phone charger) too often, and especially, don't use them when the engine is off, you'll be draining the battery unnecessarily. I know some folks do this, like my niece that got her license recently... turning off the car and THEN taking their sweet time to check their phone for messages, watch videos, and whatever else they can do on their phone (or in a mirror in some cases) before actually leaving the car with the headlights, dome lights, radio, etc, on the whole time. I'm usually the opposite, I do everything I can before I shut off the engine of my car, as it's the only way for my car to get more charging time in my short trips doing deliveries. That said, the shorter the trips, the less of a charge the battery can build (depending on conditions, it can take 40 minutes idle or 20 minutes driving just to replace the charge used to start the car and leave a decent charge for next start), which can affect the cold cranking AMPs. This is true all year, but as google results mention, at zero or sub-zero temps, the battery itself is already weaker than it normally is (30% or 60% or whatever this or that article says). So, if you combine a supposedly weak battery with a lower charge from too many short trips, you'll get issues.

You might also want to try cleaning the terminals to see if that helps any. And yes, that's one of the suggestions from some google article.

Some google articles...
https://patch.com/virginia/vienna/de...blame-aaa-says (note a quote from AAA)
https://www.lifewire.com/why-do-car-batteries-go-dead-534855
http://www.hilandtoyota.com/blog/battery-keeps-dying-winter/
(read some of the comments too)
https://www.farmanddairy.com/news/av...er/164592.html
 

Last edited by Goobers; 12-25-2018 at 11:51 PM.
  #3  
Old 12-26-2018, 03:03 AM
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OP. Your problems identical to what I used to suffer. Before last winter I finally put a 51R in. It started all of last winter even during cold snaps where it sat for 2 or 3 days. To get it to fit you just need to trim the fins on the air box and some of the plastic battery case. When I did this |I also added a small battery tender just in case. Have not had to use it.
 
  #4  
Old 12-26-2018, 08:10 AM
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But even with the OEM 151R, the battery should last longer than that. I'm in same climate as OP, car goes for days without use, has 73K miles ('11 Sport AT) and no battery issues, although it is a little weak on cold mornings.

I agree that something is draining the battery. Further testing is needed. It would be nice to have two similar FITs side by side, with engines off, disconnect the battery cable and put a volt-ohm meter in between the battery and cable to see what the draw is (while parked / no engine).

At the other end, maybe the battery isn't being recharged when the car is operated. Check the alternator output.
 
  #5  
Old 12-26-2018, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for the replies! My wife keeps a USB cell phone charger connected but rarely uses it; when she does, it's only when the engine is running. I don't imagine keeping the charger plugged in when the engine is not running results in battery drain; to be safe however, she will keep the charger unplugged. The battery terminals appear to be clean; however, I'll purchase a cleaning device and give it a try.

We purchased the vehicle, used, in October 2015. We didn't notice any issues over that winter. I neglected to mention we had Best Buy install a Viper remote starter in February 2016. The first time the issued occurred was in October 2016--six months later and just as the colder temperatures arrived. That's when AAA replaced the battery. AAA made a service call in April 2017 to jump/test the battery; the Honda dealer tested the alternator at that time but found no issues. AAA jumped/tested the battery in February 2018. No issues after that until recently when the colder temperatures arrived; I jumped it myself once and used the Battery Tender overnight the other times. So it would appear that the problem is getting worse.

I've not been able to find a way to temporary disconnect the remote starter to observe the affect upon the battery. I'm not a mechanic, but I do have a voltmeter. I found numerous comments about using one to check battery drain; however, I don't know how to actually do it.

I connect the Battery Tender when I know the vehicle won't be used for more than a few days...when I think of it.

Again, thanks for the responses!
 

Last edited by cgwaters; 12-26-2018 at 04:58 PM.
  #6  
Old 12-26-2018, 05:27 PM
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I would try two things (just for laughs!)

First,

make sure there is nothing(drawning on the battery)..... Meaning... Have key out of ignition... engine offf....etc etc... no accessories.

Don't worry about remote starter............ loosen + battery terminal.(just the positive side).. slide it off the post..... then touch it to the post..... see if you get a little spark....(do this in the dark if you have to)
There shouldn't be a spark........ spark means something is drawing on the battery.......

The other thing to try........

AND this can be done whether or not..... you find spark (in test above) or not....

Run the vehicle....... run it well.......... so you know the battery is good and charged........... park it....... Just start it...... notice how well it cranks.....
Does it pop off and start right away?......................(good great!) started great....... ok........................

Disconnect both terminals from the battery..... make sure they are out of the way......

Go back to the car............ X number of days later.......... connect batttery terminals............


See what happens..........


If it doesn't start.............. If the battery seems not to crank as well as it did ........X days before.......

Then the battery would be a consideration.............(this is a method to determine if the battery in fact, holds a charge)
 
  #7  
Old 12-26-2018, 05:35 PM
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Good suggestions!

But wouldn't having the battery 'good and charged' and then park, turn off, and re-start the vehicle to see how well it cranks weaken the battery, just prior to disconnecting the terminals? Or should I let the battery get 'good and charged' again before disconnecting the terminals?
 
  #8  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:15 PM
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Yes, that is a good question........

But, A good battery should be able to handle that....... (It is your decision.... ) which ever you prefer.....

I suggest restarting after shutting off, simply to determine how well the battery is... If it gives a lame start after all that time running around warming up. etc etc..etc
then there are other things possibly at bay...
 
  #9  
Old 12-27-2018, 07:16 AM
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I had similar problems with the OEM 151R battery after 1.5 years of ownership. Dealer replaced it under warranty and told me there was a dead cell in the battery. Had the new battery for 1.5 years without issues, then it started to seem to be dying again. Replaced it with a 51R battery. Now 2 years later, haven't had any issue with the 51R, even after a couple of days in the cold without using the car.
 
  #10  
Old 12-27-2018, 10:11 AM
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My wife was stranded yesterday as her car wouldn't start after being parked for only about six hours--this, after a 45-minute drive. So the problem is getting worse.

I spoke with a few mechanic friends last night; one instructed me how to use a meter to measure drain; another offered to examine the vehicle tomorrow morning.

The first friend suspects a drain accompanied by a battery that has been permanently weakened by being charged/drained too many times. He also checked with a Honda mechanic/friend who recommended (at least temporarily) disconnecting the Viper remote starter. (To be fair, he said it's possible that a different problem is causing the drain; e.g., a short, etc) I called Viper tech support; they don't normally speak with consumers ... and they direct all questions about this model (4205) to Best Buy ... but they told me that I can simply disconnect the remote starter harness to 'remove' the device. I opened the fuse panel but didn't see anything that looked like a remote starter harness. I found the installation guide online but it doesn't include any photographs of what I should be looking for.

Best Buy's website indicates they provide a lifetime warranty on their work; it also indicates they offer free removal of installed items, returning the vehicle to 'factory settings'. I'm tempted to contact them to have the remote starter removed or at least disabled; I'm concerned, however, that they might make a potentially already messed up electrical system worse. And the problem might not even be with the remote starter!

Regardless of finding and fixing the problem, its seems that the battery will need to be replaced.

Very frustrating!
 
  #11  
Old 12-27-2018, 05:55 PM
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An interesting development! I took another look under the dashboard and noticed an Allstate DriveWise device plugged into the onboard diagnostic port. I installed the device a few years ago. It provides telemetry so as to obtain a discount on auto insurance premiums. I unplugged the device and then Googled it; turns out there are more than a few complaints from consumers complaining about battery drain ... or worse. Note the comments following the article on Allstate DriveWise Review.

Allstate has begun replacing the device with a mobile app that basically accomplishes the same thing. I'm anxious to see how the removal of the device affects the battery.
 
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:46 PM
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if that is the solution .... oh man.... FACE PALM and , a "shame on you" to Allstate
 
  #13  
Old 12-27-2018, 06:47 PM
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So much for that theory. When I unplugged the DriveWise device, the vehicle started and had an output of 12.33V. Six hours later, the vehicle won't start and has an output of 1V. 11V drop in six hours! Must be a combination of a mysterious drain and a permanently weakened battery.

I'm charging the battery overnight so that the vehicle can be driven to the mechanic in the morning.
 

Last edited by cgwaters; 12-27-2018 at 06:53 PM.
  #14  
Old 12-27-2018, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by evilchargerfan View Post
if that is the solution .... oh man.... FACE PALM and , a "shame on you" to Allstate
Doesn't appear to have been the cause. In any case, and to be fair, there are numerous other insurers who offer the same device/discount.
 
  #15  
Old 12-28-2018, 07:31 AM
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I'm sure your battery is dead/bad...
 
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:30 AM
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if he were to buy a new battery, and things start looking up .... then we can go back to pointing fingers to that odb2 device being the source of the drain?
 
  #17  
Old 12-28-2018, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by evilchargerfan View Post
if he were to buy a new battery, and things start looking up .... then we can go back to pointing fingers to that odb2 device being the source of the drain?
Could be. AAA is replacing the battery this afternoon. After that, my mechanic can better test for a drain, should there (still) be one--remote starter, something else?
 
  #18  
Old 12-28-2018, 01:16 PM
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Battery blanket?

This might not be relevant to OP's issue.

I live in Saskatchewan, Canada.
For a few days of -40 C/F last winter my 09 Fit wouldn't start without a boost.
I bought the car the prior summer and I'm not sure how old that battery was.

I did replace the 151R, but installed a battery blanket. It keeps the battery warm when I plug in the block heater, which I have to do regularly. It's been good since.
If I ever have problems again, I will install a larger battery as described above.
Even in -20 C/ -4 F weather, the battery struggles a bit to turn over, (lights get dim and flicker) if it's not plugged in. The 151R just doesn't have the cold crank amps to deal with serious cold,
 
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:35 PM
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is the alternator working properly? seems like you tried everything on the battery side.. how about the charger side (alternator)?
 
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
is the alternator working properly? seems like you tried everything on the battery side.. how about the charger side (alternator)?
Yes, my mechanic checked the alternator today; it's working well.

Battery is definitely bad. Simply pressing the door unlock button caused the battery to drop from 12V to 8V, then slowly climb back up.
 

Last edited by cgwaters; 12-29-2018 at 09:20 AM.

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