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esf1224

Dead Alternator/battery

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Hi,

I have a 2005 GX470. About 2-3 wks ago I took it in for 35k service. I was told that battery failed "load test". Given the price the dealer charges for a new battery, i figured I will buy a battery and replace it myself. Now, 2 days ago my wife was driving and all of the sudden Nav screen went blank, a couple of mins later all of the dash board light went on, and engine started missing. She called roadside assistance, and had the car tower to the dealer. I figured it was an alternator.

Service adviser, immediately told her that battery was a problem, but "they will look into it". About an hr later, with new battery, she started the car, and battery light is on. Of course they didnt believe her, had to look at it again. Now they tell her it's an alternator.

New alternator wont arrive until late next week. Today I called them and told them that alternator appears to have caused battery issue. Same service adviser as 2 days ago told me that it is all actually my fault. "if you replaced the battery when we told you, you would not alternator problem. Alternator had to work overtime to keep charging the battery. You see my point?" I told him "no", and he promised to "look into it".

I dont think that battery itself was an issue, besides, the car is only 4.5 yrs old and has 35k on it. I am guessing alternator started going bad wks ago.

Do i have any recourse in getting at least some of my money back for the new battery? They charged over $200 for it :angry:

Any words of wisdom are appreciated.

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Factory OEM batteries are usually crap, so getting 4.5 years from a battery probably rated at 36 months isn't so bad. Still, a failing battery shouldn't cause an alternator failure, and an alternator shouldn't just crap out after 35K miles. You should have been experiencing engine starting problems, dim headlights, or some other symptom if the battery was marginal. Alternators have built-in regulator circuits that normally should protect them against damage from a weak battery. Otherwise, jump starting another vehicle would kill your alternator. However, reverse polarizing an alternator can damage it. If someone jump started you and connected the jumper cables backwards, your alternator could be smoke. It's a bit strange you had no problems before the dealer service department did the battery load test. Any chance they might have messed up? (yeah, like they'd admit it). I avoid dealer service departments -- their job is to create business from simple maintenance checks (has anybody ever gotten a "free" oil change from a dealer?). When a repair job is more than I want to tackle, I take my car to an independent repair guy that I know and trust. Ask around and find someone that will do an honest job of checking out your alternator and battery. $200 for a dealer battery probably adds up to a $50 battery and a $150 labor charge. If the new battery is shot, replace it with an Optima -- $200 but worth it. Dealers make half their profit margin in their service departments - the best revenge is to take your car elsewhere.

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Thank you.

I did not have any problems prior to dealer "diagnosing" load test failure. Even in the 2-3 weeks since that visit, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car. From what i understand about load tests, they too may indicate alternator's failure to charge a battery.

I am kinda stuck with dealer to do all my major repairs - we bought this car certified pre owned.

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I've never bought a certified pre-owned car, but my understanding is you pay a premium for the vehicle knowing the car has been fully checked out by the dealer, and I thought some pre-own certs come with limited warranties. Have you checked your paperwork to see if the dealer has to cover the problem? The dealer can't compel you to use his service department unless there's a warranty that stipulates this.

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I've never bought a certified pre-owned car, but my understanding is you pay a premium for the vehicle knowing the car has been fully checked out by the dealer, and I thought some pre-own certs come with limited warranties. Have you checked your paperwork to see if the dealer has to cover the problem? The dealer can't compel you to use his service department unless there's a warranty that stipulates this.

Lexus' certified warranty is exclusionary warranty. It covers everything that is not listed in the list of excluded items. Alternator is covered, there is no question about it. I am just bothered by the fact that they made us pay for the battery when battery obviously (IMHO) failed due to a bad alternator. I was going to get a battery elsewhere and did not plan on paying them $200 for it. They told my wife that battery was an issue without even bothering to diagnose a problem. I understand that they are in business of making money and dont want to deal with warranty repairs, but it should not be my problem.

Their service department used to be great, but over the last yr and a half, i feel more and more like i am at a Honda dealer, where i cant get anything accomplished. :(

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Further to your opening thread, if the service manager insists the alternator went bad from "working overtime" then either its brushes or bearings are shot. But likely they were well on their way when your took your GX in for its maintenance. Replacing the battery at that time wouldn't have saved the alternator or kept a new battery from discharging beyond rejuvenation. If you're getting the alternator replaced under warranty, that's not so bad. You were probably due for a new battery anyway if it was the OEM unit. All you should feel bad about is not getting a $200 battery for $200.

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Factory OEM batteries are usually crap, so getting 4.5 years from a battery probably rated at 36 months isn't so bad. .

XX Well the OEM on mine lasted 6 yrs. What do you say about that !! My collegeau had the optima for 4 years ( Red Top )

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If you'd like to trade me a brand new Optima redtop (expected life = 4 years) for my 2 year old OEM battery (expected remaining life = 4 years), let me know where and when you want to do the exchange -- I'll buy lunch.

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