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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I wanted to share a strange electrical issue I'm having with my car. It doesn't affect driving (yet) but I was curious if anyone has experienced this or if anyone has a clue based on the symptoms on where to start hunting this issue.

Last week while driving in traffic, on two occasions when I was coming off the brakes and letting off the clutch, all of my dash lights came on and my radio went off, almost like I stuck the key in and twisted it to the accessory position. This happened twice early in my drive after reaching operating temps, but then not again.

I drove my car for nearly a week with zero issues, but then it acted up again this morning. I was coming off of a red light, and there was no one behind me so I eased out the clutch and let the transmission pull the car out before I pushed the gas and some (ABS, E-brake, CEL) lights came on solid but not all. I immediately grabbed my e-brake and made sure it was down and it was. My radio went out and it being dark my headlights were flickering. While this was occurring I did two things. 1. I looked at the volt meter on my gauges and it read normal. 2. I gave the car gas to see if maybe my alternator was dying and if spinning the belt a bit faster perked it back up and the car just stayed in this state. After about 10 seconds, the entire event was over and the rest of my drive went on without a hitch.

As of now this is an annoyance, but I'm worried it will become a bigger issue. I'm not familiar with the car's wiring, but right now I'm leaning toward it being an ignition problem since it looks like I'm turning the key to the middle spot while driving.

thanks for looking and any help is greatly appreciated!

update: my battery terminal moved freely on my battery post no matter how tight I made it. Replaced terminal and it’s fixed now.
 

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My only input would be a failing battery. My car showed these symptoms for a while, and I thought I had bad grounds. Despite adding several to different points on the car, it just prolonged the inevitable.

Just get the battery evaulated, once those tests come back, and if you're still having issues, just update the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To update this thread. My battery voltage is 12.9 VDC and 13.8 VDC with the car running. So it looks like my battery and my alternator are fine.

Based on the symptoms are there any clues as to where to look first for a bad wire?
 

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To update this thread. My battery voltage is 12.9 VDC and 13.8 VDC with the car running. So it looks like my battery and my alternator are fine.

Based on the symptoms are there any clues as to where to look first for a bad wire?
I am not sure if measuring a car batteries voltage after driving the vehicle would be indicative of it's actual health. I've had failing batteries that read 12.7, but couldn't keep its nominal current rating for normal operation.

Usually car battery testers run current draw tests to determine this information.

There is also a chance your battery wiring, regardless of positive or negative could be faulty. If you follow both wires from your battery terminals down, you'll find where they terminate. The positive goes to your alternator, while the ground goes to the body as a common ground for all electronics.

You haven't mentioned that your battery terminals look poor, so I am going to assume they are clean and free of any battery acid that would act as an insulator to electric current. Unless they are in bad condition, you may want to replace them to eliminate them from the equation.
 

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To update this thread. My battery voltage is 12.9 VDC and 13.8 VDC with the car running. So it looks like my battery and my alternator are fine.

Based on the symptoms are there any clues as to where to look first for a bad wire?
Did you test load like running the AC Compressor, Hi Beams, and Radio? I'm getting abnormal noises from my alternator so I got Autozone to check it. 12.3v off and running is 13.8v to 14.2v high idle. Autozone determined my Alternator getting weak from the hand meter they used. Just ordered me another one.
 

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The ground from the battery to the block may be corroded. This can cause electrical gremlins. Acid leaches under the plastic sheathing and you cant clean it or see it. You can make a new ground for $10 or buy a new one.

whats the cars history? Was it flooded? Might be the beginning of the end for the cars electrical system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I’ll roll my car over to autozone when I’m finished working on it this weekend to get the battery further tested. If my alternator is dying I’d prefer to replace it before it actually does.

the car has no flood history up to and including no physical interior or exterior damage. It’s a southern car so there’s no rust and nothing is corroded on the underside and I’ve had the carpets pulled up in the floorboard and there’s no evidence of mold or mildew on the underside.

my battery terminals are squeaky clean and havent required any cleaning since I replaced the battery 2.5 years ago.
I will walk down the main ground wire this weekend as that is simple to do.
 

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I could be wrong, im no electrical genius :p, but I would also say its going to be a grounding issue or a short somewhere. Personally with all the dash lights coming on and off randomly i would be leaning towards a short somewhere supplying power to the other lights. Any chance its an aftermarket stereo install that might be drawing power or earthed to the wrong wires? I have had that on a a Nissan i wired the head unit up once, didn't like me using a wire that was an earth for something else and caused other dash lights to come on.
 

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It’s a southern car
my battery terminals are squeaky clean and havent required any cleaning since I replaced the battery 2.5 years ago.
Heat kills batteries, I live in florida, and while I do use lightweight AGM cell, my last one only lasted 1.8 years. Voltage read 12.6 with voltmeter, ran a current test, came back only pulling 170CA, the bare minimum for our cars is like 280-300CA
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wanted to update this thread. I removed my battery terminal (which was very tight) and it crumbled into my hands. I replaced it immediately and I have been driving for about a week with zero electrical issues. Thank you guys for all your help. I went straight to the battery based on your all's recommendations.
 
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