Recurring battery issue

enclave-newbie

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In 2016 we purchase a used 2014 Enclave. Car has been great except for a recurring battery issue; if we continue to listen to the radio after turning off the car, within minutes we get a low battery/start car warning.

It used to happen a lot when we first got the car, and I believe that Buick replaced the battery and maybe even the alternator (or something, the records are in the car with my wife right now) under warranty. I believe they also used to say that the battery charge level was fine, or something like that, and at first saw no issues with the alternator/whatever. I don't know what changed to make them replace the part at some point.

In any case, it actually hasn't happened in about 6 months, but just happened again today. My wife was out earlier in the day and it was fine. Just now she went to school to pick up the kids, got in the car pickup line, turned off ignition, listened to radio for just 3 minutes, got battery warning.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thank you.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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A few things, find out what the dealer actually did. What I mean is what was replaced and what is the battery warranty. Check the condition of the cables, replacement parts, battery and if needed have them tested.


Has the weather gotten colder and is the vehicle used for just short trips? If so take it out for occasionally a long drive, the battery does need time to charge.

Make sure you don't have any drains on the system when parked and off. There's any number of items but it can be checked for a parasitic draw to see if a problem or not.
 

Fcar1953

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Do you have any warranty. If you do get it to the dealer and have them take care of it. Make sure That they take care of the problem properly. Go over everything with them before you take the car. Unless your wife is car savvy you deal with the service department. If you don't have warranty get it checked, they may not have replaced a thing. In that case you may need too. Start with the battery.
 

enclave-newbie

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Dealer has since replaced battery and starter and all was good for about a year, but we just got the warning again. Brought it back and dealer said battery needed a charge. Why would the battery need a charge? They said nothing is draining it, no errors, etc... They made it sound like it's all normal. They kept it overnight and are checking it again today. What could be going on?
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2007LucerneCXL

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Covered in above posts, which no reply has been given so there is very little to go on. You may have to ask the service department if any TSB may have come out that can relate to the problem, but until they are done checking it out and have determined if it is or is not a problem not much can be added.
 

enclave-newbie

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They just called me back to say there was no draw on the battery overnight, everything checks out fine, no errors, no TSB, nothing... He had no answer as to why I would get the low battery warning, but if it happens again bring it back in (where they will of course give me the same answers...).

Is there anything I can do on my end to 'monitor' the battery/whatever? Should I buy a cheap OBD reader and see if anything comes up? Should I try something like https://www.amazon.com/Automatic-Connected-Realtime-Diagnostics-Detection/dp/B01JRBQ9PC to see if it would maybe tell me something in real time the next time we get the error?

Thanks again!
 

2007LucerneCXL

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No OBD reader will show a parasitic battery drain, a meter hooked up to the battery is the only method that would show it, save the money.

If the vehicle sits for extended periods, only used for short trips, parked outside in winter conditions any or all can cause a battery not to have enough time to get fully charged. If you start the vehicle and drive for short periods and have all accessories, radio, heater, rear defrost, heated seats etc on high the battery will not have time to recover. Continue to do this for awhile and the battery may have a extensive drain.
 

enclave-newbie

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Thanks and understood on the reader.

Concerning the rest, that definitely makes sense, but in all my 27 years of driving I've never once seen a low battery warning under any circumstances. I've lived in the northeast my whole life so I've been through plenty of brutal winters, often make short trips with various cars over the years... and have only seen this error with this car. Is there something about Buick/a large SUV that might cause this? I do the same kind of driving in an Audi Q5 and have never gotten a low battery, even after driving short distances in the cold, running the heater, seat warmer... and then parking, turning off car and running the radio for a while.

My wife, who normally drives the Buick, doesn't use the seat warmer or defrosters that much (I'm more inclined to use them in my Audi) but her Buick is the one getting low battery).

Possibly a dumb question, but is there any kind of battery meter that can be left on the car at all times? Something that might record a history of what's happening?
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enclave-newbie

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One more quick question; when the low battery warning appears, does the car not 'record' an error (and/or an OBD might see/record something) showing exactly why it needed a charge? In other words, would it show the 'level' of the battery, or does it just know it was 'low'? It would be great to know what exactly 'low battery' means. Was it just below some threshold to set off the warning, but was hours away from being dead? Or was it very low, and almost dead, that's why the warning came on. In other words, do I learn to ignore the warning or do I let it bother/worry me each time it occurs.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Not sure if a code would show up on a low battery unless it had a fault of some type, educated guess. I'm also of a time when I could park a car at O'Hare airport in winter for a week and not worry if was going to start. But there has been some newer technology which can cause a drain, the OnStar being one that on some older models was draining the battery, if it's a newer version sometimes it's banging away trying to connect to the "mother ship" when parked and off.

No true direct answer other than if it can be driven at least 45 minutes after starting and on a regular basis that may help.

There was a posting on one that plugged in to cigarette lighter, can't remember which post, and it would show a read out. Sorry I didn't really pay attention to the details on it. Maybe someone else knows on the forum.
 

enclave-newbie

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There was a posting on one that plugged in to cigarette lighter, can't remember which post, and it would show a read out. Sorry I didn't really pay attention to the details on it. Maybe someone else knows on the forum.
Something like these??

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EVWDU0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Jebsens-Charger-Battery-Monitor-Voltage/dp/B01N00I4TM
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2007LucerneCXL

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INNOVA 3721 looks similar and is on the right track, if you look there may be others that have additional information (?)
 

enclave-newbie

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Further update plus questions:

All has been good for a month plus, but we just got the warning again today.

We drove the car for maybe 15 minutes after which it was all warmed up, then spent about 45 minutes eating lunch, then drove again for about 10 minutes (car was warmed up quickly) and then stopped for gas. Car was turned off with just the radio left on. Within a few minutes (before I was done pumping gas) the Battery Low Start Vehicle warning came on.

I did end up buying 2 voltage meters to try and see what was happening when this happened again. As soon as the warning light came on (my wife told me) I got into the car and plugged in the meter and it was showing 11.89 volts. It got as low as 10.16 and then I started the car and it immediately went to over 15 volts where it stayed for the 10 minute drive home.

As a test, after we got home I turned off the car, again leaving the radio on. It immediately dropped to around 12, and then continued to slowly decline until the warning came on again (at around 11.5 volts). I let it go a little longer until got down to 10 again, and then I started the car and let it run for a few minutes before turning it back off and getting out.

Is any of this normal? Should the volts be dropping so much, so quickly, and so continually, and should the warning be coming on at these levels (and is it therefore something I should be worried about, or does the car not die (i.e. it won't start) until a much lower voltage level)?

Thank you for any further thoughts.
 

redvett

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Buy a battery with larger Reserve Capacity Rating.
. In 2012 Buick changed to a lower RCR and that is when the warning started to come on. The battery slowly looses capacity when it gets older thus the warning.
I suggest an Odyssey AGM that has higher RCR. I will be changing mine out this summer since my 2017 Enclave was born 7/19/2016 that makes it 3 years old and here in AZ acid batteries do not last long in the heat but AGM last almost double.
 
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