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Dead car battery - best way?

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Hi everyone  - Potted history - I have been looking after my friends' car a BMW mini 11 plate.   (Don't ask me what model, it's drop head and black with 6 gears!) Anyway they have been in Australia for nearly 18 months (due back this Summer)  and their car has lived on my spare driveway with the occasional trip out to keep it going.   

The battery was beginning to waiver and then the snow came and it died. The lights come on when I try to start it but that's all. Will a trickle charger work - I used to have one but no longer - but if I investigate buying one will it do the job with the battery being so flat?

Any suggestions. Now careful there I know how techy you can all get - just remember I am not into this very much and you can leave me puzzled very easily. Only easy answers please that are idiot proof!

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It's worth a try. A cheap one should do the job unless the battery's totally had it. Or take the battery to a battery / tyre place who'll probably do it for you. You may of course lose the radio code (if it's got one) and make sure it's fully unlocked before you take the battery off.

TBH if I was leaving a car for that long I'd take the battery off.

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A basic, old school trickle charger will probably perform this task better than a new style 'smart' charger.

A 'smart' charger would be better for doing maintenance, left connected.

John.

Edited by Leedslad
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a charger like the ctek mxs5. 0 should bring it back to life, if you got one of those i would press the mode button till the car,agm and recondition lights were all lit, the agm light just because of the lower temperatures at the moment.

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Before you charge if it has access make sure each cell has a top up of distilled water otherwise you will be wasting your time.

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The battery may well have had it but it's worth giving it a try with a charge. But in this cold weather be prepared for the battery to fail again in which case a new one is called for. Might not be cheap for a BMW - probably in excess of £100.

Cheap - a technical term for chickenspeak.

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You could also just replace the battery and give your friend the bill when he/she returns.

After all it is an 11 plate and batteries don't last forever.

Ian

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If your in no rush a search on ebay might be advisable or a trip to europarts. ...

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If you buy a smart charger be aware that it might not 'recognise' the battery if it's very flat. A work around is to use jump leads and connect a good battery to the flat one and leave the charger connected to the 2. Once it gets up to the minimum voltage disconnect the 'good' battery - worked on my very flat caravan  battery.

Alternatively you could just jump start it and take it for a spin.

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32 minutes ago, Steve05 said:

. ..

Alternatively you could just jump start it and take it for a spin.

I don't think that's a good idea. Reading the history above, the battery has spent time with a low state of charge which might have damaged the plates. Taking the car for a 'spin' might just get the car somewhere where it needs recovering with the battery dead again.

Before faffing about with batteries or chargers, I'd be inclined to tell the owner the car has died of natural causes and tell them to budget for a new battery when they come back and then leave it. Even so there's always the risk of, "The car was OK until we gave it to T00ts to look after."

Good luck.

 

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TOOts,

I could go into various ways of checking battery condition and ways of restoring batteries, e. g rapid dischargers,  desulphation using smart chargers and better still the benefits of devices measuring cold cranking amps performance.

In short, buy a new battery (the cost of testing kit\good smart chargers will possibly \likely outweigh the new battery cost), talk to Europarts or go online to carparts4less, you will get a minimum of 3 years warranty.

Europarts,  https://www. eurocarparts. com/ ask about 35% discount using "Weekend 35" offer on "Lion brand" batteries; alternatively go to https://www. carparts4less. co. uk/car-parts?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9M6IvMCU2QIVzrztCh24YgAPEAAYASAAEgLdN_D_BwE

Obviously there are many more retailers and battery manufacturers, but if you want to save a lot of frustration you won't be far adrift of a good solution at either of those I linked to.

Your friend\owner will not be disappointed.

Very good chargers include Ctek and Optimate; I find the Lidl and Aldi £15. 00 or so chargers great, but not up to the two mentioned when it comes to batteries that are severely depleted\non functioning.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sea&Sand

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Thanks guys! I need to mull all that over and get my head around all the suggestions. I'm pretty sure a new battery might be the way to go except I wouldn't know how to fit one and I can't get the car anywhere to let someone else fit it. I know I'm a bit of an incompetent (I can just hear you thinking it). Time to start calling in favours perhaps.  :wub:

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2 hours ago, hawkaye said:

I don't think that's a good idea. Reading the history above, the battery has spent time with a low state of charge which might have damaged the plates. Taking the car for a 'spin' might just get the car somewhere where it needs recovering with the battery dead again

 

Perhaps, but in my experience, if the alternator's OK, once the car's up and running it'll keep running until switched off. Whether it'll start again is another matter but if the battery isn't a goner 30 minutes or so should get it back to a reasonable charge. If OP doesn't fancy risking a 'spin' he could always leave it ticking over in the drive (with any electrical items switched off) to see how it gets on.

I'd always try a recharge before buying a new battery - especially if it's someone else's car.

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With my mechanics hat on I wouldn't waste my time trying to save a 6 year old battery. Just replace it. Look on line for a good mobile mechanic, there are a few of us out there. They will get you a decent battery (don't go to Halfords, expensive rubbish) with a 3 or 4 year warranty and fit it  for you plus take the old one away. Whereabouts in the world are you?

TD

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I'd always try a recharge before buying a new battery - especially if it's someone else's car.

+1

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3 minutes ago, Tuningdrew said:

With my mechanics hat on I wouldn't waste my time trying to save a 6 year old battery. Just replace it. Look on line for a good mobile mechanic, there are a few of us out there. They will get you a decent battery (don't go to Halfords, expensive rubbish) with a 3 or 4 year warranty and fit it  for you plus take the old one away. Whereabouts in the world are you?

TD

I agree, no point trying to flog a dead horse

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How do we know the car's still on it's original battery? If it's being getting little use for the last 18 months an 18 month old battery would probably be flat. Either way it's worth jump starting the car first surely?

Edit - OP indicates it's a cabriolet so chances are the battery won't be particularly cheap.

 

Edited by Steve05
more info

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Go to europarts & buy a new battery. Be surprised if it's more than £50.  

Then you can add that to the storage bill you're going to give your friends when they get back :D

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On 2/7/2018 at 21:29, Steve05 said:

How do we know the car's still on it's original battery? If it's being getting little use for the last 18 months an 18 month old battery would probably be flat. Either way it's worth jump starting the car first surely?

Edit - OP indicates it's a cabriolet so chances are the battery won't be particularly cheap.

 

Hi Steve05, 

Why would the car being a cabriolet affect the price of the battery?

 

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1 hour ago, Sea&Sand said:

Hi Steve05, 

Why would the car being a cabriolet affect the price of the battery?

 

If my A4 cab is anything to by it could well have a bigger battery - guessing the roof mechanisms/motor are pretty energy hungry.

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If the Mini has stop start system a" normal" battery is no good, it must be a battery specifically for use on a stop start system, naturally these are more expensive than a normal battery, taking the battery off to change it  may mean the stop start system (if fitted) needs reprogramming

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Right pet, there is no "cheap or easy" way to sort this problem. Here is what we hard up "Ferm Billy's" would try for a start.

Firstly, beg borrow or steal a set of heavy duty jump leads and connect the mini to a car with a good battery. The Red cable goes to the battery terminals (on both cars) marked +(plus) . The Black cable goes to the battery terminals marked - (minus). Start the good car and run at pretty high tick over revs for a few minutes. Then try and start the bad car. May take a couple of attempts. When bad car is running disconnect the cables. At NO TIME let cable ends touch when attached to any battery. The bad car should be left running at a fast tick over for at least 30 mins. Stop car and leave for a little while then try to restart. If car starts ok again then take it for a good run. If car does not start again, call local tyre depot & they will come out and fit a new battery.

You can get engine to run at fast tick over by inserting a length of wood between seat and accelerator pedal----move seat to get desired revs.

Hope this helps.

PS. To complicate matters, some cars don't have easy battery access. In this case there is a + positive feed under the bonnet and black cable is connected to earth. In this case, and in all due respect, better to get someone who knows to perform this task for you.

Edited by blondchaser

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1 hour ago, blondchaser said:

Right pet, there is no "cheap or easy" way to sort this problem. Here is what we hard up "Ferm Billy's" would try for a start.

Firstly, beg borrow or steal a set of heavy duty jump leads and connect the mini to a car with a good battery. The Red cable goes to the battery terminals (on both cars) marked +(plus) . The Black cable goes to the battery terminals marked - (minus). Start the good car and run at pretty high tick over revs for a few minutes. Then try and start the bad car. May take a couple of attempts. When bad car is running disconnect the cables. At NO TIME let cable ends touch when attached to any battery. The bad car should be left running at a fast tick over for at least 30 mins. Stop car and leave for a little while then try to restart. If car starts ok again then take it for a good run. If car does not start again, call local tyre depot & they will come out and fit a new battery.

You can get engine to run at fast tick over by inserting a length of wood between seat and accelerator pedal----move seat to get desired revs.

Hope this helps.

PS. To complicate matters, some cars don't have easy battery access. In this case there is a + positive feed under the bonnet and black cable is connected to earth. In this case, and in all due respect, better to get someone who knows to perform this task for you.

Giving the bad battery a good charge is the key here. Only thing I’d add is disconnect the good car before starting the bad car on its own. The electrical system stand a better chance that way if it’s still reluctant to start Fit a new battery and be done with it especially as it’s not your car.  

Edited by Tuningdrew
Added text

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