Q: We had issues with the battery on our 2001 Chevy S-10, so we changed it approximately eight months ago. Approximately one month ago, the truck would not turn over, and with the ignition key in hand and nothing on, I was watching the gauges going up and down as if power were surging on and off. I charged the battery and got the truck started, and all was well until the other day. While I was driving along, the truck suddenly went dead.
I jumped it from another vehicle, and it died again. The next morning, I checked the voltage and it was 4.1 DC. I jumped it from another vehicle and then checked the voltage, only holding 8.0 DC. I jumped it for another 10 minutes and only 8.3. I disconnected the battery and charged it for five minutes and checked, and the battery was at 13.8. We drove it to a mechanic, and all checked out well. It has been OK the rest of the week, but I am waiting for my son's call that it died again and he is on the side of the road. Any suggestions?
A: There is a series of tests to be performed on this vehicle, including the battery, alternator and charging system. I also would take a very close look at the fuse box connections, as well as the engine ground and connections at the starter and the alternator. Because this problem is going to leave you stranded, most likely at the worst time and place, you will need to have this fixed. This may be beyond the capabilities of a lot of general repair shops. Try an electrical specialty shop.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. Write him care of the Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930, or send email to scan firstname.lastname@example.org.