Car is dead. Battery problem?

Hi, I have a 2002 pontiac firebird. Have not had any problems till tonight. It was a bit cold outside (San Francisco, California) and when I pressed the key-chain button to open the car, it would not open. I noticed that even the radio-theft deterrent red LED that flashes inside had stopped. I got into the car manually and tried to put the key in ready position, but no indicators or lights came on and when trying to start it, it did not start.

Could this be because it was cold outside? I have not used the car in 2 days. Recently serviced (oil etc) by Jiffy Lube.

Im planning to lookup the battery "eye" (hydrometer) tomorrow morning and try again in daylight.

Any suggestions on what could be the problem? Also, 2 days ago I used a recently purchased seat-warmer device while the car was running, for approx an hour's drive. It couldnt be that, could it ?


The alarm could not have gone off within the last 2 days of non-use, since I wouldve heard it or seen it. The theft-deterrent LED I mentioned above is a small red light that flashes all the time that the car is turned off, and probably takes very little power from the battery.

Update 2:

Seat Warmer Info : It was unplugged after the 1 hour drive/use, so it could not have drained it. It might have put pressure on the battery while the car was running, but I thought when running, things dont run off the battery.

Im still suspicious about the warmer, since thats the only new thing in the equation.

Update 3:

Leaving lights on : Everything inside the car turns off within a few minutes of exiting and locking it. so I did not leave anything on. Headlights, if left on, cause the car to beep continuously (very irritating), so i dont think i left those on either. My last use of the car (returning from work) was as routine as always, except the warmer.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hay fellow San Franciscan and firebird owner. Except I have a 2001 trans am ws6. My best suggestion is to but your bat. on a trickle charger over night. Have the bat load tested. to verify that it is good. Should hold min 9.6 v under load at 200amps 15 seconds. Check for loose or corroded terminals. Just for your info.That little green lite don't mean much. A bat has 6 cells. That green lite only measures the electrolyte of one cell. There might be a short or u can have defective plates.Either way if your bat. is good. Check your charging system. simple way is to just but a voltmeter on bat. should read 12.5v enginee off bat fully charged. Start engin and check meter. should read 13v or above apply load. (turn lights or accessories) on. meter should rise around15v. If all is working properly. If no failures are found than it's time to look for a parasitic draw. this can take some time and should be done by a qualified tech. It involves looking for anything that should turn off after the key is removed. Since we are dealing with a late model it should be noted that it has in it's design a function known as keep alive memory That basically means that the BCM runs a check on the cars electric and security systems and turns every thing that is not supposed to be on, off. It allows only programed functions to operate.Like the sentry system. As for your seat warmer.If the car is running the alt will pick up the extra load.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think you've killed the battery. Try a jump-start or (if it's a manual) a push-start to get it going for now, and replace the battery at the first possible opportunity.

    Also, I think it could well have been the seat warmer. When the engine is running, electrical loads do run off the battery, it's just that the battery is being charged by the alternator at the same time. If the seat warmer was drawing too much power, the battery might not have been able to charge.

    If the battery's not been replaced in a few years, now might be the best time anyway - if your weather is anything like here (UK) then this is just the start of winter, and batteries don't like cold! My Peugeot and mother's van have both just had new ones.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes and Yes and No and No

    Yes theres no power (no dash lights) so in all likelihood yes its a flat battery so first impressions are that 1 something was left on (i.e. light, seat warmer) 2 the battery is faulty

    No the battery wouldn't go dead because you used the seat warmer while the car was running and No the cold wouldn't drain your battery either

    The fault is definitely electrical but I believe youre right in your suspicions about the seat warmer and the battery. my guess is however youve wired the warmer is the problem. Disconnect it and jump start your battery and you should be sweet :)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The alarm probably froze up, went off, and drained the battery, the seat warmer, and jiffy lube are co-inncedental, check the battery and connections, try throwing a quick charge on the battery with a small battery charger.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hard to say what caused it, but it's probably time for a new battery anyway. I doubt the seat warmer hurt the battery, but it is 5 years old. They aren't that expensive, just shop around the auto parts places with your phone and you should be able to find one for less than 50 bucks easily.

  • Red
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Also check for loose battery cable.

    Do you have a lighted box between the seats that might have been left open and the light drained the Batt?

  • 1 decade ago

    How old is the battrey ? To me it sounds like your Batt was getting old then you started drawing extra amps away from the Batt now add in the cool weather and maybe you used the rear window defogger that draws alot of amps now add in the in car heater with a weak Batt and presto you have a dead batt

  • 1 decade ago

    The easy way out is to jump start the car and take it to an auto parts store .Most of them will test your battery for free

  • 1 decade ago

    probably battery,5yrs old.the other things are probably coincidence. If the battery is old and weak the cold could have finished it off

  • 1 decade ago

    This has happened to me twice with two different cars-Check the starter

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