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Battery Dead 2nd Time In A Month


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Hey fellas,

I've had my 2001 ES300 for about 4 months now. I've had a lot of problems. Most of them I'm happy to say have been ironed out.

I still have this nagging issue with my battery going dead.

A month ago, I took it to the dealer, and they said that the battery had a bad cell. They also checked the alternator (so they say) and they said it checked out fine.

So they replaced the battery. Things were fine for I'd say about 3 weeks. Then one day, on a rainy day, (no point was just a rainy day!) it was dead again. Tick, tick, tick, tick...that's the sound I get.

Anyways I have a portable booster, so I boosted it up, took it for a spin for about an hour and it was fine...meaning it would start up.

But the next morning it would be dead again...

So today, I took it to the dealer again. It's a 1 hour drive from my house...not too amusing...but anyways, I managed to get it to the dealer. (I warmed the car up for 20 minutes at my house, then drove off, hit the brakes a few times and it was dead I warmed it up some more). Anyways, when I got to the dealer, I turned off the ignition. I figured after 1 hour of highway driving it would be fine. But when the service guy came over, it won't start. I guess that's good...since they can see first hand what a pain it is to boost it everytime!

Anyways, they said they will run a charge test or something like that. (I thought they did that last time???) Hopefully they will find something, because I think it's not the battery given that the battery is 1 month old. I think the battery going dead is just a symptom of another problem.

Guys, any ideas what it could be?

FYI, I had Lexus install a remote starter at purchase. I wonder if they botched it up.

Would a charge test, as they put it, be enough to detect most problems, including alternator, bad ground, etc?


Nick N.

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a charge test is to test the battery

if it dies when you are already running then the alternator is not working and you need a load test for it not a charge test

either bad wires to the battery or from the alternator are you problem

more than likely the alternator is going

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Thanks as usual for your input.

I just got a call from Lexus and they said they tested the charging system and it came out clean. They said the battery was bad again so they replaced it.

I'm not picking up the car until I talk to the rep and tell them that it's too much of a coincidence that a new replacement battery would also be "bad"...whatever that means. The original developed a bad cell. Now the replacement one is bad also?

I'm not sure what they do to test it.

Do you think the Lexus dealer is the most reliable place to have it completely tested?

Do you think a place like Autozone ot Napa would be more reliable in terms of giving me an accurate honest accessment of the problem?

I'm afraid that in a few weeks I'll end up with the same problem.


Nick N.

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when you leave the Lexus dealer, go to Autozone and get a second opinion for FREE. It can't hurt and can only confirm the Lexus dealer or refute them.

Autozone will load test you battery and test your charging system for free.

If it comes up clean then you got a additional load on your battery. Could be the wires, could be a ground, could be the remote starter system. This is were the detective work comes in.


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Should I depend of the lexus dealer to do this type of "detective work" or would that be all up to me if everything else checks out fine.

Because that's my impression. They told me that everything checks out fine, whatever that means. I'll call to try to find out what kind of test they ran to find that out.

My feeling is that if I take the car as it is, I will be experiencing the same thing over and over again, and eventually will have to pay someone else to troubleshoot.

This is very frustrating, especially when my other car starts flawlessy everytime. I don't even want to drive the ES fact I regret I ever got the thing, though I realize that this is a freaky, isolated thing.

All I want is a running car!

Not too much to ask for is it?

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Just save yourself the hassel and get the alternator changed. You probably have a bad spot on it. I had a similar story for my '94 ES. A few times, I'd get in the car to go, but the battery was completely dead-click, click, click sound. It would be fine most of the time, then, in traffic or something, the battery malfunction light would come on; I would throw it in neutral and rev it to keep it running. The next day I made an appointment to have my local Lexus dealer trouble shoot; their service dept is pretty incompetent to begin with. They say "everything is fine." But a few days later, the same thing happens again. We changed the alternator and all has been fine since then. Good luck...


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" You probably have a bad spot on it"

Would that manifest itself in any autozone/lexus test?

Is there a sure-fire to say for sure that this is the problem?

Again, Lexus said they ran a charge test, and as stated in a previous post, this is to test the battery(?) I dunno if they really did anything other than say, "OK, battery dead, let's replace and get this customer outta here...".

That's what happened last time.

That's the response this time, except I'm not accepting the car until they run more tests. Somehow I feel that might be a waste of my time.

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Nope, a spot won't show itself on an AutoZone/Lexus test; I tried both places. They are the same services, but one is free and the other costed me $100. Sadly, there isn't a sure fire way to tell if there's a spot on the alternator-I could be wrong, but there wasn't anything available when I had this problem.

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That's not good!

Well, I have a pre-certified 2001 ES300. I purchased it like 4 or 5 months ago, problem galore, although most of them fixed. This is the only remaining obstacle, albeit a pretty serious one.

So I know that the car is under warranty.

But how do I pursuade Lexus to change the alternator, if they feel that it's working properly, and the so called tests they ran checks out OK?

Shoot, I don't want to keep on worrying about the next time my car won't start. That would really s*ck big time...

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I'd re-explain the issue you are having and tell them what you want done-a new alternator. Try to be polite first, but since they'll probably say no(from your experiences thus far), your car is fine, you'll probably have to argue with them until they give in....tell them you'll never buy or do service from them again, you'll call Lex corporate, etc etc. Or if they try to work with you, ask them if you could leave it with them for a x amount of days so that they can experience it themselves. Make them give you a loaner too; this is a CPO car-you shouldn't be going through this.


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Oh, you don't know...yeah it's CPO car, but you don't wanna know what I had to go through. I have another long-as* thread about my pleasures with this car!!!

Anyways, I don't want to clog up this thread with my sorrows...

Actually, I've been pretty lucky with the loaner cars. The other time I got a RX330. This time around they hooked me up with a 2004 ES330.

So I'm in no hurry with my 2001, you know?

I left a message with them and told them that I thought it was too much of a coincidence having another bad battery, that I won't pick up the car unless other alternatives are investigated.

I'm not the confrontational type, so it'd be hard for me to start saying stuff like "I will take my business elsewhere"...well it depends, but in general this lexus dealer seems to not care at all. They have the "we are right, you are wrong" mantality. Very, very business "Take a number and wait" type of operation.

I've had the car for over 4 months now, and It's been to the shop 5 times. Like you said no way the car should have been a CPO...more like a lemon.

The only thing that was added on, pre-delivery was the remote starter by them. So that's the only thing I could think of.

Otherwise, I remember a few months back, the clock and the ashtray shorted out or something...they replaced them with new ones.

So I don't know if that's indicative of what might be wrong with the electronics.

Am I stuck with this piece of junk?!?

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Nick, I'm also the nonconfrentational type...most of the time! :lol: But, when I'm really put out, I'll speak up. When my LS was hit a few months ago, I got into it with State Farm because they wanted to stick me in a pos rental. I sternly told them that I'm 6'7(I'm really only 6'3, but it stretched it a little to make things sound more severe.), and a Cavalier simply won't do; not to mention that a $55k, Lexus flagship status LS was damaged, and they wanted to give me an economy car. They ended up paying for a LeSabre class car, so my 5 phone calls and raised blood pressure did pay off.

Don't let them take you for a spent a lot of $$ on your CPO ES. Don't give up on your ES-she's not a lemmon; mine had about 5 different problems the first few months of ownership, but things have been perfect for almost 30k miles and 2 years now. Think of the dealer as robbing you and argue with them until they cave-you could have bought a nice, non CPO '98-'00 LS with a few more miles for what you paid on your ES. Telling them that you won't come get the car until other things are investigated is a good first step. Tell them what ever kind of stories you think are necessary(whether it's never comming back or anything else you can think of) until you get a new alternator. Don't let them tell you "to take a number."

SK, I don't know if that's the right terminology; I thought that's what they told me at the dealer when I brought it. What was wrong with my ES when they told me I had a "bad spot" on the acted normal almost all the time, but randomly, the battery discharge light would come on while driving and the battery would be dead when I'd go to start it. Other times it was totally fine-putting out ~13+ volts. The alternator acted like normal most of the time, but it was actually bad. If that makes any sense?? lol

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Thanks Blake.

What's even more difficult is that the dealership is about an hour away (always a traffic jam) from where i live so it's not such a great thing to keep on going back there.

Well, I am much shorter than you, at 5'6" I am not really the intimidating type. Add to that the non-confrontational personality, it's not such a great "get-things-done" combination!

I'll call back tomorrow (they never returned my messages...does that tell you anything about the dealership?) and tell them about the alternator.

...that is if it is the alternator.

But at this point it could be anything right?


Bad cables.



It's a nice car.

I liked the 2004 ES330 too...but it felt heavier and wasn't as "smooth"...meaning I didn't like the way it jerked the car on acceleration at times.

But then again, being a loaner car, it's probably not cared for too much so...

It's nice regardless. It feels a bit more steady on the road compared to the 2001.

I still like the exterior of the 2001 better than 2002+.

Next time maybe I should call 1 of my 6'4" bodybuilding friends, make him wear a black leather jacket, sunglasses, som snake skinned boots, just look mean...

He He...maybe that'll do the trick!

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But isn't that a given?

Unless it was really a big coincident that the second battery was bad also.

I guess you are saying let it fail the 3rd time...and that'll convince them for sure it's not a battery problem.

I guess I have no choice...but man, I am sick and tired of driving an hour to the dealership!!!

You would figure they would be convinced that it ain't just the battery the second time around.

Thanks guys for all your help. I'm blowing off steam here...I'll call the dealer up and see what is up...maybe I can actually get someone on the phone. That's proven to be impossible the last few days. They must be busy...

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OK, I spoke with Lexus.

They said they tested the whole system.

They tested the starter, alternator was putting out healthy amounts of voltage, something about a drain and load test on the battery, etc...

He said "Between you and me, I've gotten a lot of bad battery complaints from customers, so although it might seem impossible to get another bad battery, I believe that's what we are dealing with here..."

So I told him "OK. I'll pick up the car. But if it happens the 3rd time, then we know something's gotta be up".

and he agreed with that.

So I guess I'll be picking it up. They are closed the 31st, all the way until next Monday so I guess I'm "stuck" with the 2004 ES330 Loaner!

Awwww, shucks...

Anyways, it looks like they might have done a more exaustive test this time around.

I guess we'll see if it lasts...thank goodness I have my portable charger. That thing paid for itself already!!!!

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When I pick it up on Monday, I will try to get to a Autozone and have it checked out.

I asked before, and I'll ask again.

Would this type of testing at Autozone find Alternator problems, or just MAJOR ones?

As someone pointed out with the "spot in the Alternator" (whatever that means) it won't neccessarily detect every problem in the alternator correct?

So I could be facing a pesky problem, yet Autozone could check out OK?

Man, what a pain in the butt this is turning out to be.

I wish I could just keep the 2004 loaner!!!

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By getting a second opinion you are double checking the equipment by another technician and you are also checking the dealership's honesty. They may be trying to avoid the altenator if it is even suspect. If a battery gives them several months then that is several months that your warranty doesn't have to cover an alternator.

But then again, it may have been just a bad replacement battery. That happens too.


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nicksan... just judging by your location and you mentioned that its difficult to get there and that there is a lot of traffic jam... i am certain you are going to the one in Manhattan or talking about it :chairshot: .

I would agree, get another opinion or if you have the time and patience go to the lexus dealer out in Long Island... i believe its in Masapequa i think. You can get a 3rd opinion there after Autozone. Perhaps the guys out in Long Island might give you a better reception. I remember as a child, i would always ask my dad to wake me up early in the morning to take the drive out to the lexus dealer out there even though we live in Queens :lol: .

Anyways, i hope you resolve the problems and woes with your car. It's a pitty that it was Certified Pre Owned car would have several bugs with them. But i guess it will have some problems pending on the previous owners driving style and care of the car.

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I would agree, get another opinion or if you have the time and patience go to the lexus dealer out in Long Island... i believe its in Masapequa i think.


If you read nicksan's original posts you would have seen that the Massepequa dealer you speak of was where he originally purchased this car, and that was also the place where he got all these hassles. The original posts were back in October 1994. :cries:

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Oops, i'm sorry, i didn't know :chairshot: . I know he mentioned that he had another "LONG Thread" but i didn't know if it was the same topic. I have been missing from LOC for a while, especially on the ES forum... and for that... i'm sorry.

I will dig up the original post and have a look. Well there is the other lexus dealer up in upstate which is about a 45 min to 1 hr drive from the city i guess.

I haven't read it yet... but i'm assuming your talking about this one:

The date is July though. But i will read it later tonight.

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