2003 Nissan Sentra Battery or other issue?

Tiny
BROKEDOWN2014
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 138 MILES
DESCRIPTION: Last month I was driving in a 35 MPH area and my car started going only 5 MPH and wouldn't go any faster even though I was hitting the gas, then upon pulling into a parking lot and turning it off to check under the hood, it wouldn't start again. Someone came jump me, but it would still only go 5 MPH. I then pulled in a nearby gas station parking lot and my buddy revved it up while in park and I drove it back to my friend's fine in a 55 MPH area. Later the same night I tried to go not even a 1/2 mile down the road to the store and it happened again, only this time, the speedometer went down to 0 and the car moved very slow until it died. I was right across the street from my friend's road and I called someone there. While waiting it was cold, so I got back in, not having turned off the engine this time, and like 7 minutes after it died, I turned the key and it started and drove fine, but only back to my friend's. It kept starting up fine and backing out the driveway, (not driving anywhere, just backing out) when I need to move it, but now it won't start at all. It seems to be behaving like the batteries bad. When I turn the key once, the lights come on, but when I turn it the second time, it makes a clicking noise and nothing happens.

QUESTION: I'm not very car savvy, but my question is: Could all this behavior be caused by a bad battery (ie not going past 5 MPH or 0 MPH (the second time) then dying and starting back up without being jumped AND not starting at all now), or, are these two different problems? I just want an idea of what it could be to try to get it fixed or have to junk it. Also, is it possible the problem could be the crankshaft/camshaft sensor because I saw Nissan had a recall on those parts and my make/model/year was included?
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Friday, January 23rd, 2015 AT 12:01 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
From your description is sound like the starting and charging system is having an issue.
The question I have is why is the battery dying. Is it because the charging system is no longer charging and the car is now running entirely on what is left in the battery until depleted.
If you have a multimeter this could tell you what is happening with your starting and charging system. But before you do that you should charge the battery before checking with a multimeter.

Check belt and make sure it is present and that it is tight. Make sure the battery terminal clamps are clean and tight (you should be able to move them by hand.

With a multi meter on direct current volts a good battery should read 13volts or higher with the engine running. Check out our video on how to check a battery and other sites to give insight into battery and charging system checking.

Thanks for the question and feel free to reply back with any questions.
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Friday, January 23rd, 2015 AT 9:22 PM
Tiny
BROKEDOWN2014
  • MEMBER
I charged the battery with a battery charger then the multimeter read 12.9 while running. After shutting it off it read 13.2. I don't know for sure what that means, but I'll be moving soon & am trying to save up for that. Will my car make it about 20 miles back & forth to Auto Zone to see for sure what the issue is and if it's the alternator, how hard is it to pull one off a used car at Pull A Part & then to install on my car? Thanks!
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Monday, January 26th, 2015 AT 12:31 PM
Tiny
TY ANDERSON
  • EXPERT
That's not normal.
The battery voltage should read high (13-14 volts area) when the engine is running. With the engine off the voltage will read high still and over time (around 30 minutes) should gradually drop down to around 12.5 volts. It is very important that you have the battery tested first. Because if the battery is bad or has a low charge all the other voltage measurements will be inaccurate.
If the battery is reading as I said above then the issue is something else.
The best way to charge a battery is to use a low amp charger (1-5 amps trickle charger) over a long period of time (8 or more hours). High amperage charger will do the job but is stressful on the battery especially if it is an old battery.

Has the service engine soon warning light come on? If it has, this will guide you where to start first. You'll need to have it scanned for codes if it is on.

Most major auto parts suppliers will test alternators, whether in the car or removed. If your car is only going 5mph or the risk of it doing that, I wouldn't drive it.
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 AT 6:41 PM

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