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Battery Problems /w Boosting And Charging


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Hello folks, I'm new to the forum. Tried looking my issue up in the old threads but didnt find exactly what I was looking for.

My battery went dead in a parking lot after the dummy driver of this car (yours truly) left the lights on. No problem I thought, so I'll get a boost. No biggie. I get a boost, Lexus starts, I'm happy. We remove cables, I shift it out of gear and Lexus shuts off. Ok thats weird. Never seen that in my life. Now its not even starting from a boost. Wow. Not sure what to think at this point. I get a boost from a truck instead, with better cables. Lexus starts, and I'm on my way. I probably put about 15 minutes of driving on the car before parking it in my garage and hooking up to my battery charger. Electronic battery charger showed 50% capacity when I plugged it in, and I left it for an hour or so at 15amps, which normally will charge my Acura TL to full if it's similarly low. I look at the charge level after around half an hour and its at 70%, which is slow, but whatever. I look at it again half an hour later and it's still at 70%, so I unhook it suspecting a problem. Battery is hot to the touch. Vehicle starts, again I'm on my way, and I end up leaving it at work and taking a different vehicle home. When I go back to work the next day, the Lexus wont start. It clicks, but doesnt even attempt to turn over.

This got me wondering if maybe it's a special type of battery, maybe a different than normal voltage, or something along those lines, but from reading past threads and seeing a guy talk about replacing it with one from sears or costco for $50, this doesnt seem likely. However, I've never had trouble boosting or charging a car before, so I figured I'd try and draw from the past experiences of people who know more about these cars than I do, which is what brings me here. Any help on this matter will be sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

PS - It's a 2005 ES330.

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There is nothing unique about the batteries in Lexus vehicles. They are 12 volt. I think that all (or most) Lexus vehicles require a type F or type R battery which has the positive terminal on the left when looking at the front of the battery. This is not as common as the type battery which has the positive on the right. (These batteries are designated with just a number, e.g., 24, 27, 35, etc.)

It sounds like you either have a bad cell in the battery or you have a poor (as in corroded) connection. If your battery is original to the car, it is now 3-4 years old. I have two Lexus vehicles, and I have never got more than 3-5 years of life from any battery I have put in them. You are also in a colder climate where more stress is put on the battery.

You need to do several things. First, you need to check the charge state (A/K/A specific gravity) of each of the six cells in the battery. If a cell is weak or dead, its charge state will be significantly different from the others. There may be enough charge in the other cells to give you a reading of 12 volts or more when checking the battery with a multi-meter; however, this can be misleading. A battery can hold 12 volts and still not start the car if one or more cells is (are) weak.

An alternative would be to have the battery load-tested. In our area of the U.S., the auto parts stores such as Auto Zone, Advance Auto, etc. do this at no cost. This involves hooking up a device to the battery and putting an electrical load on it. A battery with a weak or dead cell will normally fail a load test.

A final step would be to remove the cables (negative first) and clean the cable connectors and the battery terminals. Use sandpaper or a stiff wire brush. After reinstalling the cables, put some kind of anti-corrosion material on the connections. (High temperature grease works well.)

You could also have an alternator problem, although this is not likely on a car as new as yours.

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If the battery was hot, I'd suspect you have a dead cell.

Measure the voltage with the headlights (only) on. If it's around 10 or 11, you have a dead cell. 12 or better and the battery is probably okay.

I had a dead cell in my truck battery once. I was charging it with a simple charger. The charger got smokin' hot, and the battery was swelled up and hot too. I backed away slowly and unplugged the far end of the extension cord to the charger and let it sit for a day. One cell had shorted, and the charger was bound and determined to charge it to 12V or better. The battery only wanted 10V.

If you suspect the battery at all, replace it. Winter is coming... Good Luck and tell us what you find!

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