Is it the alternator, battery or some mysterious electrical drain?

A year ago, my radio suddenly stopped working. Then I lost the display on my climate control system, though the heat, a/c and defroster still function. I used to also have my dashboard gauges blink intermittently when using the windshield wipers. When the radio died, I went to the dealer who said it simply shorted out, and it would be $300 to replace. I passed. (Curiously, I haven't had any flickering dashboard gauges recently) But I was having difficulty starting the car the past few days, and finally this morning it died on me. Repair shop says the battery "exploded" on them and want to replace it. However, if the alternator is the true culprit, then I've unnecessarily lost $150 replacing a battery that didn't need to be replaced. But the cumulative signs, and the fact that the car never lost power while driving, make me wonder... Is there an electrical draw coming from somewhere that first killed the radio and then eventually the battery itself? Or is a faulty alternator the source of the problems? It's my understanding that might be about $400-500 to replace, with labor. Whither, voltage?

Update:

Sorry, it's a 2001 Chrysler LHS with 105,000 miles. If the culprit is the E.C.M, is the dealer my only option for installation? On a related note, if the computer's replaced, will the radio suddenly start working again?

Update 2:

Sorry, it's a 2001 Chrysler LHS with 105,000 miles. If the culprit is the E.C.M, is the dealer my only option for installation? On a related note, if the computer's replaced, will the radio suddenly start working again?

6 Answers

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Sounds like a Chrysler product. You can replace both the battery and the alternator, and you will still have the original problem you had before. Everything in your description is just symptoms of the problem. Not the actual problem itself. If it's a Dodge Chrysler or Plymouth, the problem is in the E.C.M. As it controls everything you are talking about. Voltage spikes can ruin the body control computer, also.

    Source(s): If its not a mopar, disregard this info.
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  • 7 years ago

    Your question covers a lot of territory. It would be helpful to know the make,model,and year. You said you had"Difficulty" starting the car. Diffuculty as in how?? Was the engine slow to turn over or did it sound normal but just would not start? If it sounded normal but would not start you may have other problems too.

    I sound like a jerk here but I'm not meaning to be. Knowing the make,model,year, and exactly what it was doing is more helpful than you think.

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  • mike
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    You should have bought a $50 stereo from best buy so you could have tunes. You stated that the battery exploded so it needs replaced no matter what. $150 is what they charge some unsuspecting grandma. No one pays that mush for a battery a very good battery is $70 at auto zone and they will install it. Have a friend come over and jump start you car and drive to the closest auto zone and have them replace your battery unless your already committed to this place and know you are so that's why their charging to much. Go over to them and say you will pay $100 or your leaving then they will lower the price a little at least.

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  • 7 years ago

    Usually batteries and alternators go out together after u think ones fixed the other goes to crap had it happen five times all different cars n trucks

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  • 7 years ago

    Let them install the new battery,and when you see how much they really cost now you'll see it isn't a raw deal.Then wait and see what [or if] anything happens.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    should have listened to the dealer, they do know best

    Source(s): i work at the dealer
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