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      01-09-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
williyam
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Headlights Left On, Drained Battery

I had a friend come over to jump the battery. He left his car on for approx 5 minutes before I started my car which was successful and we then left both cars running and connected for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Should I check if there was any damage to the battery or alternator? I made sure to take breaks and limit drives to 15-20 minutes so the alternator doesn't get too hot. How long does the battery take to fully charge?
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      01-09-2013, 04:13 PM   #2
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The car should have shut the headlights off before hurting your battery so much that you can't start the car. Don't know the answer to your question, but I'd start planning to get a new battery soon.
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      01-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam View Post
Should I check if there was any damage to the battery or alternator? I made sure to take breaks and limit drives to 15-20 minutes so the alternator doesn't get too hot. How long does the battery take to fully charge?
Is it possible to leave the headlights on??? I have never even moved the selector off of "auto".

So, the three possibilities here is (1) you have a short, or some feature (i.e., auto headlights) is not working, (2) you are no longer charging the battery when the alternator is spinning, or (3) your battery is dead.

Of course, you need to debug the root problem, but I would not think you damaged the battery or alternator when you jumped it . . .

One problem is that (I don't think) a 15 min. drive is enough to replace the energy needed for a start. So, short drives will not help you.
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      01-09-2013, 08:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by UCBPhD View Post
Is it possible to leave the headlights on??? I have never even moved the selector off of "auto".

So, the three possibilities here is (1) you have a short, or some feature (i.e., auto headlights) is not working, (2) you are no longer charging the battery when the alternator is spinning, or (3) your battery is dead.

Of course, you need to debug the root problem, but I would not think you damaged the battery or alternator when you jumped it . . .

One problem is that (I don't think) a 15 min. drive is enough to replace the energy needed for a start. So, short drives will not help you.
It's possible, there is a notch to leave the light on just two notches to the right of the auto notch. There was no problem, it was just the headlights left on that led to the battery drainage.
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      01-10-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCBPhD View Post
Is it possible to leave the headlights on??? I have never even moved the selector off of "auto".

So, the three possibilities here is (1) you have a short, or some feature (i.e., auto headlights) is not working, (2) you are no longer charging the battery when the alternator is spinning, or (3) your battery is dead.

Of course, you need to debug the root problem, but I would not think you damaged the battery or alternator when you jumped it . . .

One problem is that (I don't think) a 15 min. drive is enough to replace the energy needed for a start. So, short drives will not help you.
There is a bit of a programming glitch. If you hit the unlock on your key fob (ie. while it's in your pocket), the doors may unlock, but unless you actually OPEN the driver's door the "courtesy lights", brake lights and headlights MIGHT stay on indefinitely.

I've had this happen a few times, but fortunately noticed it while backing out of the garage in my other car. I sat there for a while to see if the lights would go off, and minutes later they did not. Only opening and closing the driver's door seems to help.

Make sure that you watch to see if your lights actually turn off. The auto feature can give you a false sense of security.
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      01-10-2013, 02:46 PM   #6
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They should not stay on. There is a preprogrammed welcome light duration after which they should turn off.

Only way to leave headlights on and drain battery is either in auto mode in a dark place or with the switch all the way to the right with ignition on.

Charge battery / drive car for awhile an you'll be fine. Sometimes when the battery gets really low you'll need to clear MRS errors.
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      01-10-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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My battery gave almost no warning before it died exactly at the 4 year mark. If you have some years on your battery, then a snafu with the headlight shutoff combined with a weak battery could sink you quickly.
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      01-10-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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a 20 minute cruise should charge the battery up nicely.
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      01-10-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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Here's my thought. Pending how old your battery is and what you have running off of it (stereo system) predicts the life of the battery. When u completely drain a battery it hinders the capability of the battery to store energy "current". Lead acid batteries, which I believe is in majority of the cars take a while for it to charge completely from the alternator with short drives. Remember, normally the battery is only there to start the vehicle. What I would do is disconnect properly and charge over night (trickle charge) or remove and take it to an auto store so it can be tested by putting some resistance on the battery. Or, if its old just go buy a new one since both you and I can afford to have such a kick ass car.
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      01-11-2013, 01:23 AM   #10
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No idea how you managed to leave your headlights on.... Please do explain .

Next time you get your car jumped, do not leave the other car connected to your car for 15 mins.....
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      01-11-2013, 09:34 AM   #11
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I'm pretty sure the car automatically shuts down the headlights to protect the battery after a few minutes. It shouldn't keep the lights on till the battery is drained.
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      01-11-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadian stig View Post
I'm pretty sure the car automatically shuts down the headlights to protect the battery after a few minutes. It shouldn't keep the lights on till the battery is drained.
This is my understanding of the correct behavior as well, which is why I initially asked . . .
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      01-11-2013, 05:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Benvo View Post
They should not stay on. There is a preprogrammed welcome light duration after which they should turn off.

Only way to leave headlights on and drain battery is either in auto mode in a dark place or with the switch all the way to the right with ignition on.

Charge battery / drive car for awhile an you'll be fine. Sometimes when the battery gets really low you'll need to clear MRS errors.
Not entirely true. It IS programmed with the duration, but I have mine set at a minimum duration and I sat there for several minutes to see if it would turn off.

It is entirely possible for the lights to stay on IF you hit the unlock button inadvertantly (fob in pocket and something presses the button) followed by NOT opening the DRIVER'S side door. Opening ANY other door/relocking/waiting ALL failed to turn my lights off. You'll note I'm not the one who had the dead battery, I saw mine happen. I'm just telling you that there is a hiccup in the coding. This may have affected the OP.
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      01-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #14
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Never tried it, but I'm pretty sure if you have comfort access, then you turn off the engine by pressing the button once, but you don't get out and lock the door, all the electrical stuff stays on including the lights and the radio etc.

Maybe OP turned off engine, and got out without pressing the lock button to completely shut down the car. Not sure if the car would override and turn off on its own.
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      01-11-2013, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkap
a 20 minute cruise should charge the battery up nicely.
... Or if you're married, a full hour or so.
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      01-11-2013, 07:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium Silver
Never tried it, but I'm pretty sure if you have comfort access, then you turn off the engine by pressing the button once, but you don't get out and lock the door, all the electrical stuff stays on including the lights and the radio etc.

Maybe OP turned off engine, and got out without pressing the lock button to completely shut down the car. Not sure if the car would override and turn off on its own.
... Could be it. I have comfort access and several times left light switch ON in manual mode. Car shuts off lights when I lock car and I only realize I left it switched to "ON" when I start up the engine the next day.
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      01-11-2013, 08:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam View Post
I made sure to take breaks and limit drives to 15-20 minutes so the alternator doesn't get too hot. How long does the battery take to fully charge?
Huh? Why would the alternator "get too hot"? And you should be taking long drives to recharge the battery, not short ones.
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      01-12-2013, 09:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorfast
Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam View Post
I made sure to take breaks and limit drives to 15-20 minutes so the alternator doesn't get too hot. How long does the battery take to fully charge?
Huh? Why would the alternator "get too hot"? And you should be taking long drives to recharge the battery, not short ones.
I was under the impression that the alternator isn't meant to charge a drained battery but rather recharge it a bit after startup and keep electronics running during drives. Leaving it at a high constant output to keep the electronics running and drained battery charging surely must have an ill effect on it?
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      01-13-2013, 10:35 AM   #19
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My lights turn off automatically whether in auto mode or not. You sir, are a magician.
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      01-13-2013, 11:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorfast
Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam View Post
I made sure to take breaks and limit drives to 15-20 minutes so the alternator doesn't get too hot. How long does the battery take to fully charge?
Huh? Why would the alternator "get too hot"? And you should be taking long drives to recharge the battery, not short ones.
I was under the impression that the alternator isn't meant to charge a drained battery but rather recharge it a bit after startup and keep electronics running during drives. Leaving it at a high constant output to keep the electronics running and drained battery charging surely must have an ill effect on it?
You are gonna be one of those guys who goes to the dealer complaining about his battery and they will reply its your own fault because you don't drive your car enough and regularly.
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      01-14-2013, 08:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williyam View Post
It's possible, there is a notch to leave the light on just two notches to the right of the auto notch. There was no problem, it was just the headlights left on that led to the battery drainage.
hmmm thats weird... I did that once turning the notch to the right and after a minute or 2... it shut off...
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