Mechanics

DID THE EXPLODING OF THE CAR BATTERY CAUSE ALL OF THESE ELECTRIAL PROBLEMS

1999 Toyota Celica • 4 cylinder FWD Automatic • 76,000 miles

My car battery exploded and the car alarm is not working and the check engine light went on. Had checked out and the car scanner said park neutral switch. The car starts in park have not checked if it starts in neutral. Question is did the battery cause all of the electrial problems?
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Doloresd59
March 9, 2011.



Question is why did the battery explode? It had to be frozen when trying to charge it with a battery charger or there was a loose connection near it that caused a spark while it was charging. Batteries give off explosive hydrogen gas.

Caradiodoc
Mar 9, 2011.
The cables were corroded. The battery cables were cleaned and then sprayed with a red solution so that it would stop the corrosion. About a few months after the cleaning, the battery exploded. So what does giving off hydrogen gas have to do with the car alarm not working and the check engine light from coming on. When the car scanner was attached to the odbII it showed that the park neutral switch is not working. The car starts in park. Did not effect the starter. Dont know if the car starts in neutral. Looked up that if the car starts in neutral then the switch is not working. Could also be a poor connection somewhere in the electrial wiring. I need help in knowing if the battery exploding affected the car alarm and the park neutral switch. Both are electrical parts. The battery works all of the electrical parts in the car.

Tiny
Doloresd59
Mar 9, 2011.
The hydrogen gas has nothing to do with anything electrical. It could be the reason the battery exploded. You have to understand an exploding battery is extremely rare because we warn about safe handling practices all the time. Any conscientious mechanic is going to want to know why that happened before he worries about anything else. Batteries don't explode for no reason. Next, when you have corrosion on the cables, the battery is on its way out and is about to fail. The coatings you spray on don't stop the corrosion, they just neutralize it. As the lead flakes off the plates, which happens in all batteries, there is less plate material left to absorb the current coming in so they get warmer and make the acid bubble. The bubbles reach the top of the battery case and forces acid out next to the posts. It builds up there forming the corrosion you see. That's why it only happens to older batteries that are about to fail within the next six months or so.

As for your park / neutral switch, there are two possibilities. Most commonly there are multiple parts to the switch. One part allows the starter to crank the engine in "park" or "neutral". A different part may tell the engine or transmission computer which gear is selected. A second potential problem could be that one time you didn't have it solidly in park when you tried to start the engine. Simply moving the shift lever a little would solve that seemingly insignificant problem but that would be enough to be detected and set a fault code. If that is the case, you should be able to erase the code and it won't come back. If the code does come back for that switch, it is likely not related to the starter circuit part of it. The Check Engine light is supposed to turn on when any stored code is related to a problem that could have an adverse effect on tail pipe emissions. The Engine Computer may be changing ignition timing or fuel metering in park to give a smoother idle, for example. If the computer doesn't know when it's in gear it might continue to supply too much fuel while you're driving. That would increase emissions. The point is, it might be detecting a problem that is not related to the starter circuit.

As for the alarm, start by checking the fuses and electrical connectors near the battery. If acid sprayed on them there is no way to know what damage was caused. Diagnosis of that might have to be done by the dealer. Also, sometimes fuses blow just from installing a new battery. The current surges from the computers' memory circuits charging up can cause blown fuses. That's actually pretty common. Once replaced, those circuits work fine.

Caradiodoc
Mar 9, 2011.
Check the alternator if its overcharging the battery been here before over 16volts

Rasmataz
Mar 9, 2011.
Ahah! Too bad those details are kept secret.

Caradiodoc
Mar 9, 2011.
Well I talked to Pep Boys about my exploding battery and he advised me that the alternator could have overcharged the battery. This battery was 4 years old. I bought another battery and have had it for months and I have not had a problem. I was advised that if the alternator overcharged the battery that exploded then it would have done the same to the new battery. As far as the park neutral switch it in near the battery so the battery acid either damaged the wires to the switch or the battery acid shorted the park neutral switch. I am going back to pepboys for them to test the alternator. My mechanic said that they will not find a problem with the alternator. The mechanic advised me when he was replacing the battery, my car alarm was going off. He advised me that I should go to an alarm company for them to reset the alarm. I was advised that because it was not installed by toyota at the factory that the mechanic must have disconnected the alarm when he was replacing the battery. So now I have to go back to Firestone to see if the mechanic disconnected the alarm. What a pain in the butt.

Tiny
Doloresd59
Mar 9, 2011.
Oops, I didn't realize it was an aftermarket alarm; sorry. Sure would be nice if that's all it is. Be sure your mechanic measures the battery voltage while the engine is running. Rasmataz brought up the overcharging issue. 14.75 volts is about the highest you want to see. It's still rare for overcharging to explode a battery but I suppose it's possible. If you do a lot of short trip driving, your new battery might survive some overcharging for a while but with a lot of highway driving the sides of the battery will start to bulge out and the water in the acid will boil out. That will also lead to the formation of the greenish-white hairy corrosion around the posts when the acid condenses there. I'll feel better knowing exactly what the charging voltage is.

Caradiodoc
Mar 9, 2011.
Well I went to PepBoys tonight and they said that the alternator is not overcharging the battery. He also looked below the battery and did not see any acid from the explosion. So why did the battery explode? Dont know. Do you have any explanation? Other things that I noticed happening was that the thermostat was fluctuating from cold to hot. That has stopped. This past summer my car picked up a plastic bag and it stuck to my catalitic converter. Mechanic said that he cleaned it as much as he could. My car has developed the crackling sound when the car is cooling down, I can hear it from behind the car in the rear end of the car. When I drive it for a long distance like 30 miles. The crackling sound sounds louder and longer than if I were to do local driving and then stopping this sound concerns me. What are your thoughts on this matter. Thanks

Tiny
Doloresd59
Mar 10, 2011.
That's common. You're the second person to bring that up this week. It is caused by the hot exhaust pipes cooling down and changing shape as they contract. You will often hear that sound get much worse when you irritate the tail pipe, then become quiet for a few seconds. The point is the sound will change for a few seconds when you move the pipes. That's nothing to worry about.

Caradiodoc
Mar 10, 2011.
Thanks for all of your correspondence.

Tiny
Doloresd59
Mar 10, 2011.