Battery Failure - What happens if it's while driving? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
javsst
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Battery Failure - What happens if it's while driving?

All,

I'm planning on replacing the original battery in my 2014 GC Limited as a
precaution as I figure 6 years is pretty good on an OE battery.

But that got me thinking. AGM batteries, as others have noted, can fail without warning. Even non-AGM ones like the one I had fail on my 99 300M years ago didn't provide any indication it was going to fail and it was 5 years old.

What exactly happens if the battery fails while on the road, in particular while driving?

Seems to me at the very least the electronic assist steering is going to get quite interesting to handle.

What about the shifter?

Thanks!

Steve


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post #2 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 08:55 AM
WK2Overland4X4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javsst View Post
All,
...
What exactly happens if the battery fails while on the road, in particular while driving?
...
I guess define "fail" first, but by assuming you mean, gets old, no longer useful failure like almost every battery.
Nothing at all will happen. When driving everything (ideally) in the the car is powered by the alternator/charging circuit.
You can (not a great idea, but you can) start a car, remove the battery, and go on your way.
But if you mean a catastrophic failure, like it shorts out internally, or something, then it could be different, but probably not.
The first sign of a bad battery is trouble cranking over. Being stranded is probably 99% of the result of battery failures. The rest could be something else.
^ all my opinions, not actual numbers!
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
javsst
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Good point.

I guess my thought was what happens if the battery does suffer total failure and shorts out, causing an engine stall while driving and no electrical power
going to the various drivetrain components.

Thanks!

Steve

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 09:16 AM
jay-h
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Everything stalls. Engine stops. I've never seen a battery fail that way, but once I had a terminal pop off while driving. I don't know about electric steering, but I would assume that you could still steer the vehicle just as with conventional power steering when a belt fails.

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 10:39 AM
WK2Overland4X4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javsst View Post
Good point.

I guess my thought was what happens if the battery does suffer total failure and shorts out, causing an engine stall while driving and no electrical power
going to the various drivetrain components.

Thanks!

Steve
If the battery actually shorted out, you wouldn't want it driving anyway. There would probably be a fire and massive smoke and fumes, especially since it is under the passenger seat you couldn't be in the car for more than a few seconds.
But that is the nice thing about where they are, they don't get anywhere near the rapid temperature changes and hold up much better.
I used to say any battery over 3 years old was suspect for reliability. Now I would change that to 6 years, then replace when convenient, or any sign of problems. Heck, my 1967 El Camino has been acting up for a couple years when it sits and doesn't get a hour drive under it for a while, then I realized its battery is 10 years old... And it is still in there doing its job!
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 11:00 AM
JackB1
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Couple good points above. A battery is like a bucket with X number of charges. When the bucket is empty the battery dies. Point here is that battery life partly depends on how many times it starts the car. Fewer times you take a start from that bucket the longer it will last. Your El Camino is a good example of that as it sits a lot. That being said one of the worst things for a battery is to let it run down completely. Really shortens life. I also have a 2014 and am also thinking it is about time but I am stretching it because I am on the low end of vehicle use and have subjected the battery to less starts. For peace of mind I carry a Lithium Ion starter pack in the spare tire bay. Cost me $69. Occasionally I also hook up a smart charger and bring the battery to full charge which AGMs prefer. Places like Advance Auto will also do a load test for free to see how the battery is aging.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 02:05 PM
ColdCase
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Depends if you have ESS or not and which of the ESS batteries short.

An AGM is unlikely to explode as it usually just shorts between a couple plates, and vents through the vent hose. The voltage will drop until the short burns away and the battery becomes an open circuit. The old liquid filled lead acid batteries were different as debris could settle in the bottom and could short a number of cells, and enough gas can be released to pop the case. This usually doesn't happen unless you short the battery externally, saw that happen once.

If the fusible link doesn't blow and its drawing more current than the generator can produce, the shorted battery loads down the battery bus. You could see a Christmas tree light type display on the dash. Low enough and everything stops, including the engine. If the fusible link blows, you will probably get charge or battery warnings but things should keep running. It won't start, however.

If you have ESS, the results are different depending on which battery is shorted. The batteries are isolated and a short in the main battery will likely only affect starting, the ESS battery will power everything else. A short in the ESS battery will just give you a ESS not available warning.

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post #8 of 13 Old 06-26-2020, 02:22 PM
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Over time, AGM has consistent performance until the drop off cliff at end of life. Regular lead acid has a shallow slope that starts when you fill them with acid and gets a little steeper over time. So load tests determine the health of a regular lead acid battery pretty well, but it is tricky on an AGM. By the time an AGM battery shows any sign of a drop in performance, it is living on borrowed time.

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post #9 of 13 Old 06-27-2020, 06:03 AM
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I think the vast majority of battery failures will be no starts. I did have a Mercedes where the windows started going up and down like the car was haunted. I thought it was funny, my wife was not amused. Most newer cars are very sensitive to voltage drops.

Given the headache and expense of getting stranded somewhere with a dead car I replace car batteries a bit early before they go south. IMO Its just not worth the few dollars saved trying to squeeze out an extra year or two from a battery.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-27-2020, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WK2Overland4X4 View Post
I used to say any battery over 3 years old was suspect for reliability. Now I would change that to 6 years, then replace when convenient, or any sign of problems.
+1. I do it at 5 years, but same philosophy. When I tested my wife's 5.5 year old 2014 Jeep GC battery, it showed low, but still about 50+ CCAs above minimum. Ran fine, no issues; replaced it anyway with an O'Reilys high end AGM (at the time, they were produced by Deka/East Penn, but not anymore, they recently changed that).

Probably would have worked fine through one more winter until we traded it in March of this year, but I didn't want to chance the wife getting stuck somewhere in the winter with an iffy battery.

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post #11 of 13 Old 07-15-2020, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
If you have ESS... The batteries are isolated... the ESS battery will power everything else.
I need help understanding the relationship, if there is one, between the big and little batteries. As mentioned in other threads, the little battery (ESS) can be completely disconnected with no affect on any other function of the Jeep. True? The little battery doesn't run anything after you turn the vehicle off for those few seconds? Isn't there a single vent tube that connects to both batteries? What do we need to do with the part that connects to the little battery?

I'm getting a red Battery light and the yellow ESS light. Monitoring the battery voltage gauge (screen) when this happens the voltage is down at 13.1 or below. Turning off the Jeep and back on turns lights are off and the battery voltage is back up - for awhile.

I'm thinking this is all related to that little battery and want to disconnect it and see how the Jeep does then.

Thoughts?

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post #12 of 13 Old 07-15-2020, 06:41 AM
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Somewhere around here is a thread with a battery/charging discussion. But it is normal for late model voltage to vary due to the way things are regulated, to save you 0.1 mpg. If no one jumps in here by the time I get back I'll take a look.

A battery light should throw a code, if you can read it then it may help to narrow down the possibilities.

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post #13 of 13 Old 07-15-2020, 03:10 PM
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This recent discussion might help - https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...45/index7.html

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