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Carguyjosh, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 2172
Experience:  ASE Certified, 17 yrs in field
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all my dash lights are coming on and then my car is shutting

Customer Question

all my dash lights are coming on and then my car is shutting off.. .after i get it jumped the check engine lights stays on and its fine but after a day or so all the lights come back on and the car shuts back off.. .what could be the problem? i had it jumped today and after getting it jumped we pulled the wire on the battery and the car didnt shut off so its not the alternator.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Carguyjosh replied 6 years ago.

Just by your description, it is an alternator failure.

There really are only 2 possibilities, either the battery is shorting internally or the alternator is not able to charge the battery at the proper rate and you are slowly discharging the battery as you are driving. An alternator does not always fail completely. If you have a multimeter I can tell you how to do a voltage test to verify a failing alternator.


In my years I have only seen a battery cause these symptoms maybe 4 times, All the rest of the times it was an alternator failure...


My recommendation is to have the alternator output checked either by use of your multimeter or Most parts stores will check the system free of charge ....


Please let me know if you would like instructions on checking the voltage with a meter...


Thanks Carguyjosh

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
well i was at auto zone to get a reading on why my servise engine soon light is staying on. and while they were trying to read it all the lights came on and it just died.the same as yesturday i got stuck in the middle of an intersection. .after 5 mins it started back up but then just shut off again. i had them jump it and after they jumped it they pulled the wire off my battery and it didnt shut off.. .i just went out and started the car and the check engine light is still on but the rest are off but i know its only a matter of time before the car just dies again.. . .and how can i test the alternator?
Expert:  Carguyjosh replied 6 years ago.

With a multimeter, I need you to connect the leads to the battery and record the battery voltage. The voltage should be between 12.4volts and 12.7 volts... Next, with your meter still connected, start up the engine and turn on the headlights, heater fan, and rear defogger and record the system voltages. the voltage should not drop below 12.8 volts...


Now in these tests, all we are testing is the voltage capabilities of the system, there is no way to check the diodes in the alternator without the full test equipment..


One more question, when the engine dies, will the engine crank over or do you have to jump it for the engine to turn over?


Please let me know what you find.

Thanks Carguyjosh


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
it sounds like its gonna start but just doesnt . .i got it to turn back on after dying but then itll only stay on for a few minutes before dying again.. .but it doesnt start right back up itll start back up once but then after it dies again i have to get it jumped
Expert:  Carguyjosh replied 6 years ago.

Okay, well we may be looking in the wrong direction then. If the battery has enough voltage to restart and then it dies again, we need to get the computer codes to see if we have a failing sensor causing the dying problem.


When you were at the parts store the other day, were they able to get the computer codes?


Is the battery dead and not allowing the engine to crank when you have to have it jumped?


please let me know ...............Carguyjosh

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the battery doesnt die completely.. .they werent able to get codes but i have the car at my moms and my step dad has a reader so maybe he can pull the codes.. .i know my car needs new seals around my spark plugs.. .could that be the problem?
Expert:  Carguyjosh replied 6 years ago.

It is possible that the seals could be the problem but you would have a very rough running condition if it were the seals..I assume that the engine is running okay...


Let me know if your step dad is able to get the codes and we'll go from there...


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the code that came up is u1300.. .the engine is running rougher then usual. the car just sat for a mon while waiting to get fixed. i assumed thats why its was running rougher then normal
Expert:  Carguyjosh replied 6 years ago.

Can you please let me know the year, model and engine size of your car and I'll do some research and try to find the solution to your problem....


thanks Carguyjosh

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