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Car trouble. Did I just get scammed?

  1. Sep 13, 2008 #1
    My car was running sluggish. Cut out on me a few times at the traffic lights. It's fine when it's going, but idling is rough, and slowing down to a stop is where it's most likely to cut out. Took it to a certain department store's auto center for fuel system cleaning. As they finished up, I was told that the battery died. I had just replaced it a few days earlier, so I asked for an explanation. They suggested that I have the charging system tested. So they did, and told me the alternator was bad. They replaced the battery and alternator. It's running a little better now. Barely. So after spending over $500 there, I returned to the store where I bought the battery. They tested it and said it was fully charged. The manager of the auto center wasn't available yet, but I don't know what kind of explanation to expect, and what I can do. Any suggestions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2008 #2
    Car make, model, and year?
    How many miles on the car?
    "Cut out" = Stall?

    Did they recommend the cleaning, or did you ask for it, specifically?

    If it was a new battery, just discharged due to a faulty charging system, they should not have replaced it. However, it is possible (but unlikely) that the new battery was damaged by a faulty charging system.

    The next part is confusing: You returned to the store where you had purchased battery #1 and had them test battery #2?
     
  4. Sep 13, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    If the battery was new and there was a problem with the alternator (that wouldn't explain the car running rough though, it would just leave the battery discharging which you'd notice on start-up), there would have been no good reason to replace the battery.
     
  5. Sep 13, 2008 #4
    Stalling at idle usually involves the idle speed motor (may be different terminology for different makes and models). The idle speed motor uses feed back from a number of sensors to give the proper idle speed for different air temperatures and manifold pressures ect.

    The most noticed change in idle speed can be noticed when the A/C kicks on.

    Did they charge you for a scan of your vehicles computer for trouble codes?? I think auto zone does that for free.

    If you just needed fuel injector cleaning the problem would have been noticeable at other speeds especially on acceleration.

    Every time I take one of my vehicles in for an oil change they tell me it needs to have the fuel injectors cleaned.:rolleyes: I use Chevron Techron that I add to my gas tank regularly. My fuel injectors are fine.
     
  6. Sep 13, 2008 #5
    92 Chevy Lumina

    Cut out = I had to turn the key to get the car started. I asked for the cleaning.

    When the "dead" battery was removed, they put in a new one. I took the "dead" battery back to the other store and they said it was fully charged.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2008 #6
    Holy cow did they even test the alternator and show you the results?? If the alternator was so bad that the battery went dead in just a few days you would have had an alternator, or check engine light glowing red on the instrument panel.

    Gees I hope you didn't go to Sears.:yuck:
     
  8. Sep 13, 2008 #7
    I don't see a charge for testing the charging system.

    The problem is noticeable only at slow speed, coming to a stop, and stopped. It runs much quieter than usual.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2008 #8
    Yeah, there wasn't any indication of problems in the instrument panel.

    Sears.
     
  10. Sep 13, 2008 #9

    russ_watters

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    You didn't give us the whole story: why was the battery replaced in the first place?

    And....

    I had an Eagle Talon and I had a nasty habit of leaving the interior lights on and running the battery dead. The thing is, the memory in the car's computer was apparently volatile and every time I ran the battery dead, the car would have trouble figuring out how to idle for several days after I did that. After a little while, the problem would go away. It is quite possible that you had all that work done for absolutely no reason if your issue was the same as mine.

    Either way, a battery and an alternator are easily tested (and as said, the car tells you how they are doing when you turn it on!), so there should not have been much ambiguity about what was wrong.
     
  11. Sep 13, 2008 #10
    The 92's had throttle body injection, the injectors should be clean now. The throttle position sensor and the idle air control valve will probably need to be checked. They are the most frequent cause of stalling at low speed.

    It is quieter than usual because it is probably idling to slow. That also falls in line with stalling when you come to a stop.
     
  12. Sep 13, 2008 #11
    After they finished up cleaning the fuel system, I was told that the battery had died.
     
  13. Sep 13, 2008 #12
    You are talking sbout the new battery right?? Did the store you bought it from refund your money?
     
  14. Sep 13, 2008 #13
    Well, they're both new. The first battery, the one only a few days old and already in the car when I brought it in, is what they said had died. They replaced it with their new battery. I took that previous battery back, and they tested it and said it was fully charged. So, no refund. I'll have it tested by a third party next week.
     
  15. Sep 13, 2008 #14

    russ_watters

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    No, the first battery. You said you had the battery replaced before you started having this problem:
    Why did you replace the battery a few days earlier and did the problems start immediately after that? If they did, the problem was probably what I said it was: the car's computer re-learning how to run the engine. It is a common thing that you can find via google:
    http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/corolla-matrix/110386-rough-idle-after-dead-battery/
     
  16. Sep 13, 2008 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Take battery #2 back and demand a refund, since you didn't need it.
     
  17. Sep 13, 2008 #16
    Oh. Yeah, that battery had died one night. I replaced that one without a hitch. I've done that a few times before with this car and never had any trouble like this. I didn't have any trouble with the battery at all. The battery was fine when I had it. They worked on the car and then they told me that the battery went kaput. And that was a big surprise, which made me think something serious was wrong.
     
  18. Sep 13, 2008 #17
    Maybe you just need new spark plugs?
     
  19. Sep 14, 2008 #18
    Best advice is probably to get a new mechanic.
     
  20. Sep 14, 2008 #19
    I had a similar problem earlier this summer. As it turns out, my car's radiator--in a separate compartment of course--also cools my transmission fluid. But because my engine heat sensor was disconnected, my car was not regulating the transmission fluids temperature by means of the radiator. So therefore, every time the automatic tried to shift gears taking off from traffic lights (after having been driving a while), my engine would stall--because automatics are controlled by temperature changes in the engine, via the tranny fluid.

    All I did was reconnect it myself, and haven't stalled since. That was end of June.

    Check this out seriously. It could just be that your heat sensor is disconnected, as in my case; or needs to be replaced.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  21. Sep 14, 2008 #20

    brewnog

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    How many times have you replaced the battery? They should typically last 3-5 years, unless you're either using it very little, or there's a problem with the charging circuit.
     
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