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AMD
AMD, Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2701
Experience:  L1 Advanced Level Diagnostics Specialist
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Scion XD: 2008 SCION XD w/ 48k miles. Driving home on the thruway

Resolved Question:

2008 SCION XD w/ 48k miles. Driving home on the thruway when the idiot light for the battery came on; soon the power steering and power brakes went. I was able to coast to a gas station and filled up hoping I was then going to make it the next 2 miles to get home. Unfortunately the car was dead. I jumped the car and was able to get most of the way home when all the lights on the car went out and the car had a real tough problem climbing a small hill. I parked and waited. Few minutes later I tried the lights again and they came on, but all I heard when I tried the key was a fast clicking sound. Hints?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  AMD replied 10 months ago.

AMD :

Hello and thank you for trusting us with your Car question, My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will be assisting you today.

AMD :

Are you available to discuss your question at this time?

Customer:

YES

AMD :

Hello! How are you doing today?

Customer:

A bit nervous after my Scion turned itself off on the thruway

AMD :

Don't worry I have an idea of what might be going on.

Customer:

main electrical board?

AMD :

The most likely issue here is that the engine water pump locked up and shredded the drive belt and that caused the alternator to stop spinning and then the battery died. since the power steering is electrical in your car it died too because of the low voltage. If you jump start the car it will start because it's running on the battery but once the battery charge runs out it will die again because there's no alternator to charge it.

AMD :

Of course this is a diagnosis based on experience of what's super common in your car. this needs to be verified.

AMD :

If this is the case then replace the water pump, replace the drive belt and be back on the road.

AMD :

Your car might even still be under warranty and all this will be replaced\fixed for free.

AMD :

Can you go to the car and take a look at the belt for me?

Customer:

But can any certified garage do the work or should I bring it to a SCION dealer?


 

AMD :

the work can be done at any certified garage doesn't have to be the dealership, However there's a possibility that your car might still be under warranty so you can get it fixed for free at the dealership. I can tell you if your car is still under warranty or not if you have your VIN number.

Customer:

Have flashlight

AMD :

OK let me get you a picture in the area I want you to look at. Are you familiar with how an engine belt looks like?

Customer:

it should be about 1/2" in width and is routed around the fan belt area unless there are multiple ones? Shouldn't it have overheated?

AMD :

There's only one belt. It could have overheated but not too much because you are on the freeway.

Customer:

speed of the car is air cooling thje car?

AMD :

Yes I have seen that happen as well.

AMD :

Now let's check the belt if the car is near you.

AMD :

I marked the area where you need to look with a red arrow.

AMD :

that big cover that has the toyota logo comes off. just grab it from the edges and pull on it up hard and it will come off.

AMD :

then look in that area with your flash light, you will see the alternator, see if your belt is routed on it or it's gone. Here's a picture of the alternator of your car with the belt on it

AMD :

Can you go and check the belt now?

Customer:

yep will take a few moments, so the cover isn't secured by any bolts?

AMD :

No the cover isn't secured by any bolts. it has like rubber bushings that are wedged over a metal pin.

AMD :

so it basically pops out then pops back in.

Customer:

ok - should be about 3 - 5 minutes though...

AMD :

Take your time. i will wait here.

Customer:

thanks - will hurry up.

AMD :

Take your time.

Customer:

Just checked and the belt appears to still be there.

AMD :

OK Let's take a step back and let me ask you a question. What is the first thing that happened? The battery light came on was the first thing that came on correct?

Customer:

yep, a red idiot light in the shape of a box.

AMD :

OK I see. Typically that light comes on when the alternator is not charging anymore. Since our belt is there and the super common water pump scenario locking up is not the case then it's just a basic alternator failure I would say. Of course the alternator needs to be tested and verified to be a failed unit before replacement because it could also be wiring issues. However I think it's an alternator issue in our case here.

AMD :

For the same reasons that I explained with the broken belt. Alternator stops charging and the battery voltage starts to go down. Once it's fully dead the engine shuts off because all the computers power off.

AMD :

The power steering is electric so that shuts off as well.

AMD :

Now the fast clicking sound is the starter trying to engage but there's not enough voltage from the battery so it keeps clicking like that.

AMD :

Of course the alternator is super easy to replace and doesn't cost a fortune. All you need to do is get the car to a mechanic. have them test the alternator to be 100% sure. replace the alternator and then recharge the battery or replace it if it fails a load test and you're all set.

AMD :

No harm is done to the vehicle even though the symptoms seemed extreme and they give you the impression that there's a lot going wrong.

Customer:

Well, although scary, it is a posible better scenario w/ only a possible dead alternator - so that is possible good news. Is it possible to check my warranty?

AMD :

Sure I can check the warranty for you. Do you have your VIN no.?

Customer:

Could that be on my insurance or registration card? I brought those in.

AMD :

Although the alternator's warranty is out at 3 years 36,000 miles but we can still check it for you to know for your reference an exact date where the powertrain warranty runs out.

AMD :

Yes it will be on your insurance card. It will be a 17 digit combination of letters and numbers

Customer:

JTKKU10498J015828

AMD :

Could you double check the vin? it's not coming up as a valid number

Customer:
JTKKU10408J015828 - 408 vs. 498
AMD :

Your warranty expired on 3/17/2013 sorry about that.

AMD :

So you barely made that speed sensor repair in february.

AMD :

Looking at the VIN number information, All recalls has been completed and no more open recalls to do as well.

AMD :

So you don't really need a visit to the dealership in this case, you may have any independent mechanic test the alternator and replace it as needed. Have your mechanic inspect the water pump, if that is leaking replace it now as well you will save on labor.

AMD :

Did you have any other questions for me today?

Customer:

Nope, is there a way to have a transcript of our phone call so I can review it again in the morning?

AMD :

You can copy and paste the conversation or I can make a copy and give you a link to download it to your computer, Would you like me to do that?

Customer:

That sounds great! Also happy that it isn't a more costly item like a computer board or something.

AMD :

OK Click HERE to download the conversation

AMD :

A positive rating for my input would be greatly appreciated.

AMD :

Thank you for choosing Justanswer.com

Customer:

Now that you explained it, it all makes sense and less of a freaky incident. Thank you I'm happy.

AMD :

I'm glad I could help! because the nature of computers in your car voltage loss seems more dramatic than it actually is.

AMD, Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2701
Experience: L1 Advanced Level Diagnostics Specialist
AMD and 20 other Car Specialists are ready to help you

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