Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationMaintenance & Repairs · 8 years ago

My car's voltmeter is at 16 or 17 when running - Do I need a new battery? '92 Buick Regal error codes 23 & 42?

When I try to start the car the voltmeter seems to go below 12 then quickly up to 16 or 17 when the car is running. It used to stay around 14 when it was running. This means the battery is constantly being charged while the car is running. Do I need a new battery or could this perhaps be an alternator problem or something else? Don't say bring it to a mechanic; my local mechanic had the car for two weeks and couldn't figure out why it would only intermittently start after I had him put new motor mounts and a new starter put in. The car seems to not want to start sometimes after it's been sitting for a few days, yet I never did anything to it and the next day the damned thing started. Even in the summer I was having problems. One time the thing started after the negative battery terminal was wiggled. The lose connection has since been fixed but since the car sometimes has still not started. The car actually sounds quieter than it used to and kind of like it's running weak or something. Even turning it off it sounds pretty weak and sometimes when starting in the morning the starter will fire up but then sounds like it stops or hesitates for a moment then it starts to go again and the car fires up. Like I said the voltmeter also seems to go below 12 at this time. When it wouldn't start all I would hear is a click from some relay somewhere and the voltmeter would go and stay above 18 all the way to the top when I kept the ignition in the start position with nothing happening but the click, then it would go back down again when I released the key back to the on position. At this time everything electrical worked, the car just wouldn't start. This was before the starter was changed by the way, but later on I tested the old started and it still worked (a big headache I know)! The car is a '92 Buick Regal with the 3.8 if it matters. I'm also getting error codes 23 and 42. Any comments or suggestions on where to start? Thanks in advance.


Those answers really don't help me. There are no stores around here that will test my electrical system for free. The only free test one store will do for free is on my battery and that's something I can do at home. I of course will have them do it before I replace my battery.

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Best Answer

    16 -17 volts is too much output it should be no higher than 14 when running, I would say you have a failed voltage regulator on your car and it can kill the battery and fry other electronics. On that car the voltage regulator is built into the alternator I believe so I would replace the alternator or get it rebuilt and a new regulator installed soon very soon!

    To vic sr. the rectifier changes (rectifies) the alternating current AC voltage of the alternator in to Direct Current or DC voltage that the cars electrical system uses it does not regulate voltage output that is what the voltage regulator does.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Most Auto-Parts stores will test batteries and alternators for free. I'd start there as it sounds like a battery issue

    Source(s): Former ASE Tech and Battery company rep.
  • 8 years ago

    your alternator rectifier is bad get a new alternator or for that year check in your local junk yard you can get one used for around $30-50 bucks

  • 8 years ago

    Go to autozone and have them test your charging system for free. They will tell you that answer

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  • mattia
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    you reported as your driving its smoking somewhat so your leaking transmission fluid and its burning on a warm pipe verify your transmission fluid its probably low . you ought to verify the transmission pan bolts and make sure they are tight if its leaking from someplace else you ought to maximum definitaly take it to a save

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