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Solve the puzzle of why my car won't start.

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 15,616 ✭✭✭✭ osarusan

    It's a 2011 Citroen Picasso diesel. The car has never had battery/starting issues before, in the 18 months I have had it.

    Got a full service last week, took it home on Wednesday. On Thursday we did a short bit of problems. On Friday we did a short bit of problems.

    Tried to start it yesterday, nothing doing. Engine tried to turn once, then just a clicking sound with the display flickering. Tried to jumpstart it, no success.

    So this morning I got the battery out, charged it fully with a neighbour's charger, put it back in, and it started first time. Great stuff, although maybe it needs a new battery.

    I shut it down, and disconnected the positive cable from the battery to ensure that there would be nothing draining the battery.

    Tried to start it 30 minutes ago, to go to the NCT of all places, (yes, I reconnected the positive cable first, and it sparked/crackled as I attached it), and it's exactly the same as it was before, just the clicking and flickering.

    Any suggestions on what it might be?



  • Battery is fooked.

  • The battery expected life is about 4-6 years. You can check the manufacturing/activation date code from the battery. It depends how you use and maintain the car. If voltages is constantly under 12.4VDC the battery chemistry starts disintegrate. Fully charger battery is 12.6VDC. Modern intelligent battery chargers can run 16 hours repair cycle. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not so much.

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  • Would take a guess this is the/ an original battery........10yrs is a great 'innings' though........sounds like she's just reached end-of-life. New battery should see the car sorted.

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  • Get a new battery.

    Replaced my own one recently that just went without any warning signs. Charged it overnight and didn’t even get one start out of it to collect the new battery!

    If it’s an old battery and goes once (without lights being left on etc.) then it’s time for a new one.

  • One more thing. These days the battery replacement is not so easy like decades ago. Now you need to tell to car computer the battery is replaced or you destroy the replacement battery less than half year. You need the diagnostic tool to tell to the car there is replacement battery installed and the right capacity too. Without that information the car charges the replaced battery exactly the same way as old battery (wrong charging strategy). Also there is very high risk to burn down ECU. Disconnecting is easy but connecting is risky. That is why I suggest to leave such a simple job for professionals (like me).

    There is 2 possible ways, depends by your needs.

    First: for battery replacement you do not need to disconnect the battery at all. Just use the "memory saver" (auxiliary power) and replace the battery.

    Second: Sometimes you need to kill power to replace something. Soon as you connect the power the ECU, capacitors starts re-charging and it cause high inrush current. I always limit the current for first 15 seconds to avoid the risk and then make the final terminal installation.

    Tell that same story to old car owners and they believe it is joke. Unfortunately it is the reality. There is so many stories every year how people burn down the ECU after battery replacement. Replacing the ECU cost several new battery price + lost time.

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  • Sorry - I couldnt help replying to this.

    Your information is way off the mark.

    Firstly on most new cars you dont have to tell the car youve changed the battery - Plug and play is all you need on almost every car out there new or older.

    Secondly you wont do in a new battery in half a year by not telling the ecu you`ve changed the battery - it wont have a "wrong charging strategy" - new models have a smart alternator that exactly detects the charge level of the battery and adjusts accordingly.

    Thirdly the only time Ive ever seen an ECU blown is when someone either jumps starts it backwards by putting the red terminal where the black should be or vise versa or they touch the ecu with the jump leads.

    Simply replacing a battery terminal wont blow an ecu - and in 27 years Ive never seen that happen.

  • I do not know what planet are you living but it is not certainly earth. If you do not know the modern technology please ***! Everything is computerizes and need to program accordingly. If you keep going by old ways, one day you get a massive repair bill. You really believe everything is plug and play, smart? Tell to me what car you have and I search for you the correct battery changing procedure, exactly like manufacturer was designed it. Only it must be the modern car.

    Talking about decades of experience. Once I visited one of my local tire shop where they lifted car by floor jack. They did that by 4 times, because 4 wheels and they was used that procedure decades. I told to them there is more than 4 jacking position designed by car manufacturer, example my car have a 6 lifting positions. They could use only 2 times the floor jack but they was too proud and "experienced" to listen me. Only thing what they said "It is impossible, they have a 30 years experience, they are experts and they know everything". I am smart (I think), but I learn every single day. Never listen persons who say they know everything... Yes they can know a load, but never everything.

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  • Youre the one telling people that simply changing a battery

    1.Could make the new battery only last 6 months.

    2.That they need a to put it on a diagnostic machine when changing a battery.

    3.That they could blow an ecu just by connecting up a new battery.

    Im not the one on a different planet. Youre the one calling yourself a mechanic.

    Reading your post above (in the DIY maintenance forum) would put anyone off fitting a battery themselves and to be honest goes against the whole point of this forum.

    Youre posts are scaremongering anyone that would even attempt a DIY repair or even a DIY replacement of a battery.

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  • Post edited by Curious_Case on

  • This is the reality, you want it or not. I think that older person explains very well what to do on youtube video

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  • Thats funny really because if you read the comments underneath that video that YOU linked to most of the comments are saying the exact same thing that I said.

  • Because they are the same *** as you. Keep believe it is joke until you get your lesson. I hope it will be expensive lesson. After that come back and we all can learn from your costly mistake. Mean time keep laughing, very adult way to do.

    The point is next, DIY battery replacement times is over by modern cars. Classic cars, no problem. You do not like, your problem.

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  • Hang on - Ive been quite polite to you - no need to start getting abusive just because you dont like a differing opinion.

    Your instructions are incorrect with regards to changing a battery - thats my opinion and Ive never had an issue in 25+ years in the motor trade.

    The point I was trying to make is that this is the DIY forum - theres no point in scareing people off a simple job that anyone can do with a 10 spanner!!!

    Your post would make anyone believe that they are going to destroy their car by changing a battery -Its almost as simple a job as putting air in a tyre!!

  • I agree your opinion but your knowledge about modern car and computer is bit out dated. It works by older cars, it works may be 10 years ago but not anymore. Too many computers and everything need to be programmed. Change the battery = programming, change the injectors = programming. I am sure you did not know many modern cars need after injector replacement the programming? Little off topic but the same computers and programming issue. If you do not enter the correct numbers from injectors, your calibration is off and engine run poor. Enter the right numbers and problem solved.

    Solution: DIY everything, but go to garage for programing. Happy? I do not look extra work, I am happy to share the information. I am sure the most of the garages does not ask too much for programming because it takes only minutes.

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  • You're 100% right...........already this year I've done well in excess of a hundred battery replacements ( way above normal...thanks to covid)......five minutes, a 10spanner & a spray of wd40.......never used a diagnostic tool.....& I'm talking a huge selection of cars( petrol& diesel) from 1.0ltr to 3.0ltr with all sorts of 'toys' on board

  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the burning question is did or did not Osarusan buy a new battery?

    Batteries even when almost completely knackered can start a car once (only) each time after a recharge or stopping after a run. My neighbours 2011 diesel Opel Omega failed to start a few weeks ago (original 95 AH? battery), the terminal volts were 11.8 so I connected in my 3.8A smart charger, after 32 minutes the battery/charger were up to 14.3V and the charger then went into trickle mode, 15 minutes after disconnecting the charger the terminal volts were 12.5 and the car started immediately and was constantly charging at 14.3V so alternator OK, next morning same story, no start, so new battery. Its amazing that my charger had only put 2AH into this battery in 32 minutes and it was then capable of starting the car even if only once, I can only explain it by the fact that while a cranking current of say 400A is required the energy (AH) required is quite small, a 3 sec crank at 400A only requires 0.33 AH.

    Edit: While pairing a new battery in a modern car may not be essential, it certainly won't do any harm, I believe Halfords, for one, do pair them if they install the battery for you.

    Also every car that I have owned have all charged at a constant 14.3V and all have lasted more than 10

    years, however the wife's 2018 Polo with its smart alternator "only" charges at around 12.6is volts as long as the the acc pedal is pressed and will then charge at 14.5/14.9v on overrun, will report back in 7 years if this battery lasts 10 years.

    Post edited by John.G on

  • No corrosion? No parasitic leak? No aftermarket auxiliary?

    If it is older than 4 years battery, just replace it.

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  • All my VWs had a parasitic loss of 40/60ma, the 2005 Polo has the highest of all at 90ma but it could still be left parked up at the airport for a full week (15 AH draw off from a 36AH battery) even when the battery was 10 years old. I agree that if you are constantly dischaging a battery to below say 75% SOC then you might only expect 5 years or so but under normal daily driving conditions where the parasitic loss is less than 1 AH overnight then I don't see any reason for the battery not having a considerably longer life. Again, all the cars I owned would charge at 14.3V with the dipped beams + HRS+blower fan on speed2 (never had AC) even while idling so overall I would reckon that the batteries were never less that at 90% SOC, hence the very long life?.

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  • You are 100% right. The expected battery life should be longer, if battery is almost fully charged all the time. Where is the catch? Honestly, I do not know.

    I had long time the dream to use super capacitors parallel by battery. It can reduce he high current peak from the battery. Minus sides, all capacitors leaks small amount. I know the super capacitors works and can start the car easily.

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  • I first read about capacitor use a good few years ago to augment battery charging in big trucks in the USA where the drivers sleep in the cabs overnight and use large quantities of auxiliary power and because of battery anxiety over non starting in the morning were running their 500/600 BHP diesels all night to keep the batteries charged.

    They are now sometimes used in Emergency Generators to augment the batteries for start up and capacitor leakage is not a problem because the capacitor charge is maintained by the normally present mains power.

  • Osarusan heeded MAULBROOK's succint summary of the problem and bought a new battery the day after posting his problem, and the battery is still running and the world is still turning.

    Osarusan was amazed to see that in his car, the negative terminal is no longer accessible without taking out an air vent, a load of fuses, and some other stuff, so while Osarusan was able to change his own battery, Osarusan figures he'd never be able to give somebody else a boost should they have their own flat battery.

  • But you will now have a super capacitor in the glove box to help your fellow travellers in their hour of need.

  • You can probably still give a jump just connect the negatives to the chassis at some point.

  • Interesting topic that I knew nothing about.

    After doing a bit or research I learned that yes some modern cars do require the new battery to be coded in but if won't cause any real problems if this is not done.

    Some systems may be restricted like full power of the air conditioning but it's only for a while till the car realises it's a new battery and everything is ok.

    Look at the conclusion of this article and it say it's nothing to do with overcharging and doesn't effect the life of the battery at all:

    interesting all the same.

  • Where coding definitely required IMO is where a EFB battery is replaced with a AGM battery as the charging voltages are different.

  • I can't believe some of the comments here.

    For a good number of years now, battery's do need coding in many cars from many manufacturers.

    The theory as I understand it is that smart alternators adjust charging strategy based on aging battery. When I new battery is fitted, coding tells the car the capacity of that battery and also alerts the car to the fact that it's a fresh one so alternator behaviour can be adjusted immediately.

    Some of the BMWs will fry their battery in a few months if a new battery is installed and not coded as above.

    This is in play for circa 15 years on mainstream stuff.

    Yes many people don't do the coding. It might be ok, it might be overcharging the battery initially and relearn itself. It might be enough to destroy it, or it might be ok.

    Certainly if my car officially needed coding for battery change and my mechanic said 'thats a load of bollocks', well I'd be going elsewhere.

  • "Certainly if my car officially needed coding for battery change and my mechanic said 'thats a load of bollocks', well I'd be going elsewhere."

    Yes, I would agree. If my car manufacturer says that my replacement battery must be coded then I will do it, no ifs or butts.

    BMW had such a poor smart charging system that they used to sell their own smart chargers (forget what they called them then) but I know the "BMW battery" for whatever reason wasn't known for its longevity.

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  • Finally somebody understand my language :)

    Many years ago I took it too like a joke. What, coding, it is just the battery.

    The system is designed enough robust to avoid big disaster, except disaster on the wallet. Several hundred euro new battery is too expensive to replace prematurely.

    The next part is not the sale pitch. If anyone modern car owners need coding after the DIY battery replacement on my area (North Dublin), I can to do by FREE every single evening. For time saving make a note about battery specs and I do it within several minutes, without digging the all protective covers off. Please, not over 1km queue because it may disturb the neighborhood. No joke.

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