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Cole'sCarDetailing
Sep 17th, 2005, 01:56 PM
I had a vehicle die in my driveway today and its the third time its happened. I just wondering if any of you guys have similar problem's with your client's vehicles. I always keep the doors closed for as long as possible yet everyonce in awhile one just dyes. Any suggestions besides constantly jumpstarting would be really appreciated.
Thanks,
Cole

Shiny Lil Detlr
Sep 17th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Well, I have a couple questions, first.

1) Do you use the "dome override" or dimmer function inside the vehicle while you're working?

2) Do you have the "accessories only" running so you can listen to the radio?

3) Are you doing any cleaning in the engine bay?

If you aren't complying with those three procedures, you will DEFINITELY keep killing batteries. I've never killed a battery (in a customer vehicle -- my personal vehicles are another story), and I have to feel that it is because I don't use the car to listen to the radio; I turn off the interior lighting and just drag a fluorescent work light into the vehicle while working; and I ALWAYS cover battery terminals when working under the hood, so as not to unintentionally cause a voltage-draining short.

Now granted, there are other potential causes, but it isn't usually something you will need to worry about as long as you adopt the primary "common sense" principles about how not to drain energy from the charging system.

Just remember, you've gotten lucky that you don't end up replacing batteries in the clients' cars. Draining down a battery to the point that it can't crank the engine is very risky business. You could end up with a bad cell that doesn't want to re-charge, and then the whole battery is toast.

Basically, just be careful and use common sense about what you're using the vehicle for/as while working. Rely on it as little as possible for any of the "tools of the trade" that you need in order to work.

(BTW I'm not assuming you are mis-treating the vehicle mechanically -- just offering up the suggestion/idea as food for thought.)

Cole'sCarDetailing
Sep 17th, 2005, 02:43 PM
Thanks Shiny Lil Detlr for the input,

I do comply with all of your three suggestions but every once and I while I get a vehicle who's battery is in poor condition before I even start working on the vehicle. I do minimize the amount of lights on in the vehicle but sometimes theres nothing I can do.
Thanks,
Cole

Ranger72
Sep 17th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Instead of jump starting it with cables and another vehicle, which is a pain, look into getting one of those jumper/ booster packs. They are a breeze to use and not that expensive. You could also keep an eye on the vehicles voltage gauge to see if its getting low, if it is just start the vehicle for a couple of minutes. (Remember that you dont want to have a hot engine bay to clean!).

rusty bumper
Sep 17th, 2005, 04:04 PM
I like Ranger's idea too.

FWIW, I saw a battery blow up one time. A friend was trying to connect jumper cables to my father's dead battery and there was a spark that ignited the acid fumes. :eek:

My friend had to go to the ER for treatment, but luckily the acid missed my skin & face....So be careful with batteries!

Shiny Lil Detlr
Sep 17th, 2005, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by Ranger72
Instead of jump starting it with cables and another vehicle, which is a pain, look into getting one of those jumper/ booster packs. They are a breeze to use and not that expensive. You could also keep an eye on the vehicles voltage gauge to see if its getting low, if it is just start the vehicle for a couple of minutes. (Remember that you dont want to have a hot engine bay to clean!).

That's a good idea.... actually I almost wonder if (as long as he doesn't need it to be running all the time) it would be better to just disconnect the negative battery cable altogether. That way you're stopping the flow of engergy altogether.

Ranger72
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:18 PM
The only thing with disconnecting it all together is with the majority of cars people loose their programmed radio stations, and clock. It sounds stupid, but to me it just isn't right giving my customer their car back with their stations all gone. lol Maybe I'm nuts!

Shiny Lil Detlr
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Ranger72
The only thing with disconnecting it all together is with the majority of cars people loose their programmed radio stations, and clock. It sounds stupid, but to me it just isn't right giving my customer their car back with their stations all gone. lol Maybe I'm nuts!

there's an easy fix for that- I always write down what the presets are before starting work on the vehicle. If they get lost, I just reset them prior to customer delivery. ;)

Jbirk
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:33 PM
This is a brilliant idea, but why not just connect a battery charger while you work. You can then keep all the stations and be sure the battery is in great shape when you return it.

BenP
Sep 18th, 2005, 01:57 AM
Take a trickle charger with you and keep the car "plugged in" whilst you're working on it. I wouldn't disconnect the battery terminal myself, especially in a modern car, as you'll loose much more than the radio presets and clock. My car, for example, would loose it's key memory settings, it's car memory settings and also it's seat memory - and it would really pi$$ me off if I took back the car to find all these things changed.

Ben

Ranger72
Sep 18th, 2005, 04:59 AM
Originally posted by BenP
Take a trickle charger with you and keep the car "plugged in" whilst you're working on it. I wouldn't disconnect the battery terminal myself, especially in a modern car, as you'll loose much more than the radio presets and clock. My car, for example, would loose it's key memory settings, it's car memory settings and also it's seat memory - and it would really pi$$ me off if I took back the car to find all these things changed.

Ben
As well as reseting the ecu. It take time for the car to "relearn" its idle, shift points, and a mirad of other things. A customer may get their car back and notice that it feels different. I.E. shifts firmer, idles a bit inconsistant. Granted, this things will be fine after 110 miles or so of drving, but its still someone elses car. I was also thinking about the trickle charger.

Shiny Lil Detlr
Sep 18th, 2005, 01:57 PM
I'm still sitting here trying to figure out how you guys are draining batteries... I never do anything with them other than cover with saran wrap while I clean the engine bay, and I have never had a problem. I'm not sure where the voltage drain is comming from.

Jbirk
Sep 18th, 2005, 02:29 PM
HOw do you detail the engine bay?

I always just wiped everything down with a damp cloth. What do you do?

Ranger72
Sep 18th, 2005, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Shiny Lil Detlr
I'm still sitting here trying to figure out how you guys are draining batteries... I never do anything with them other than cover with saran wrap while I clean the engine bay, and I have never had a problem. I'm not sure where the voltage drain is comming from.
I would like to add that I have never drained a customers battery! lol
Jbirk, if the engine bay is getting detailed then I, first use plastic shopping bags on the alternator, open air filters, and possibly coilpack/ dist, then I mist everthing with water followed by a saturation with Meguiars Super Degreaser at 4:1. I brush/ cloth wipe, toothbrush as needed rinse with "guzzled" hose, then repeat where/if necesary. After that I wipe the heavy water off, and spray my favorite, #40, over all rubber, plastic, hoses, etc. After letting that sit for 10 min or so, I wipe it all down with a microfiber. Last, I use some NXT metal polish on any chrome/ stainless intakes, raw aluminum, any metal in general.

Shiny Lil Detlr
Sep 18th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by Jbirk
HOw do you detail the engine bay?

I always just wiped everything down with a damp cloth. What do you do?

I use APC+ and an MF for the "worst of it," and then use a steamer for the rest, and to blast crud out of areas I can't get into with the MF or a toothbrush. While the steamer is "mostly" dry steam, there is still some degree of saturation that gets to the parts. I just wrap anything that 'obviously' shouldn't be getting wet (alternator, wiring harnesses, fuse box harness, battery terminals) with saran wrap, and do them by hand later.

The steamer is pretty effective; moreso than any other method I've tried to get a deep clean without getting myself into deep dog-doo.

To dress, I found a product from S100 called "engine brightener" -- it works great, and I find it to be very similar to the now-defunct Engine Kote (which I used while it was around). Biggest difference is that its in aerosol cans. It leaves a look that isn't "too shiny," but you can tell it's dressed.

My '02 Envoy:

http://www.hahn-on-the.net/pictures/redline2.jpg

http://www.hahn-on-the.net/pictures/redline3.jpg

Client's '02 Tahoe:

http://www.hahn-on-the.net/autocare/tahoe_engine.jpg

Cole'sCarDetailing
Sep 24th, 2005, 03:47 PM
Thanks for all your input.
I really appreciate and am looking into getting one of the hand held chargers.

adreed24
Sep 24th, 2005, 04:48 PM
I have been reading everyone's battery care opinions and I have a question.

Is it possible to short-out a car's ECU (computer) by getting water on the battery and cables, while they are connected to the battery.

I think this may have happened to one of my cars. After this happened, I tried to start it an hour later, and it wouldn't turn over. The car was fine before this happened.

I got it started, but since this happened, the car has never idled properly, even after mechanics replaced the Idle Air Control Valve, Throttle Position Sensor, and Coolant Temperature Sensor.

There are no trouble codes.

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!

electricgreen
Aug 7th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by Shiny Lil Detlr
That's a good idea.... actually I almost wonder if (as long as he doesn't need it to be running all the time) it would be better to just disconnect the negative battery cable altogether. That way you're stopping the flow of engergy altogether.

FYI if you disconnect the battery on certain cadillacs it will set off the air bags. better to use a jump pack or trickle charger...

sneek
Aug 8th, 2006, 07:16 AM
i saw a guy use a solar panel ro trickle change once it was a small 5.5w but i wounder if it actually kept his car alive

Newport Viper
Aug 8th, 2006, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by Ranger72
As well as reseting the ecu. It take time for the car to "relearn" its idle, shift points, and a mirad of other things. A customer may get their car back and notice that it feels different. I.E. shifts firmer, idles a bit inconsistant. Granted, this things will be fine after 110 miles or so of drving, but its still someone elses car. I was also thinking about the trickle charger.


:iagree:


Applies to all Vipers.

The Garage Massage
Aug 29th, 2006, 09:54 AM
I had one battery die on me. I wasn't using the radio or anything like that (my shop one sounds better anyway) I just couldn't figure out how to turn off the dome lights. Surprised me when it died, and not in a good way!:wall:

So now I simply start the vehicle every couple of hours.

;)

Sam
TheGarageMassage.com

Scottwax
Sep 20th, 2006, 09:26 PM
In 12 1/2 years full time, I have only had this happen twice. I am willing to bet both had batteries near the end of their useful life. Just having the doors open a couple hours to detail the interior should not run a battery down enough to prevent starting.

If you regularly have this happen, the trickle charger idea sounds pretty good.

Zet
Sep 21st, 2006, 12:23 AM
I'm still sitting here trying to figure out how you guys are draining batteries... I never do anything with them other than cover with saran wrap while I clean the engine bay, and I have never had a problem. I'm not sure where the voltage drain is comming from.

Those batteries that have died while detailing were probably almost gone already. I agree with Scottwax, just having the interior lights on for a few hours, should do nothing to a battery in good condition. In my old car I had a pretty big stereo, amp, sub etc., which I used when working outside as a gardener. I just rolled the windows down, and played it LOUD, so we were able to hear it in most of a garden. I could have it playing for 5 or 6 hours like that, with no problems.

But you never know the condition of a customers battery, so one of those small chargers is nice to have in those cases. Btw, I hope those people sugesting starting the car every few hours, is not working in a garage... e.g. The Garage Massage... ;)

OctaneGuy
Oct 14th, 2006, 12:21 PM
I had this happen about a week ago, but it didn't even phase me because the car in question has a history of battery problems--including a factory recall for that model year. My own car, which was a year newer, but same model also had the bad battery, so needless to say, I got very good at jump starting my car, and jump starting this was a no brainer.

Other than that, I've never had any issues with cars I've worked on. In this case, the battery was fine while I worked on it, but the car sat covered for 3 days later when the customer picked the car up, and the battery was dead at that time.

mirrorfinishman
Oct 16th, 2006, 04:55 AM
I had a vehicle die in my driveway today and its the third time its happened.

Cole,

The solution to your problem is to only open all of the doors one time. Most vehicles will turn off all lights in a set time period after a door remains open. However, if you keep opening and closing doors that time period gets extended and the lights are on for a much greater time.

In summary, when you are ready to take care of the interior, simply open the doors and keep them open until the interior is completed.

repo
Oct 17th, 2006, 03:44 PM
Also if you ever have to leave a door open for a blower (for people who do carpet extracting) you can take pliers and clamp it down on the door sensor to keep the lights off.

Cole'sCarDetailing
Oct 20th, 2006, 05:55 PM
Thank you everyone for your insight.
I haven't had one dead battery since the last incident as a result of your suggestions.
Thanks Again,
Cole