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I've not had a modern car break down in years so yesterday was interesting. We decided to take our sports car for a thrash through the Lincolnshire Wolds. We drove about 40 miles to Hemswell Antiques where we stopped for a snack and then proceeded over the largely empty twisting roads of the Wolds passing Cadwell park and then on to Horncastle where we stopped to look at the antiques shops. It was only on the return journey, going through Navenby, that the dash warning said 'low battery'. I stopped, restarted and the warning cleared only to reappear a few miles later. I decided to press on. It was only when driving through Newark that a succession of other dire warnings stated to flash up and I guessed the alternator had failed. The car has only done 10,000 miles. In Rolleston the car went into 'limp mode' and would not go faster than 28mph. In Fiskerton the speed dropped to 2mph and we came to an enforced halt outside the Post Office. There is a button in the roof that you summon to request assistance and although they replied they could not hear me, so I had call on my mobile. My wife decided to walk the 2 miles home so she could bring her car to rescue me. The AA turned up before she had reached home and after some delving agreed with my diagnosis. It was not a roadside fix and the dealerships were closed. He gave me a booster charge which started the car and he followed me home where he arranged for a collection on Monday. Still under warranty and a loan car is ordered. You can't even see the alternator so it will probably be accessible from below when on the ramp. I have it on a trickle charge so it can be driven onto the transporter. Most unusual!

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Had a similar thing with mine. The car for no apparent reason would flash up various dire warnings on the dash, go into limp mode etc. Stopping and restarting the car usually cleared the problem. It's under warranty so back to the dealer, 'can't find a fault'. A second dealer, 'can't find a fault'.

Back at the original dealer and spitting my dummy out a customer overheard us and said "you need a new battery". Turns out he was right, except it needed two batteries, (the car has three in total). All fitted and everything great. Then they tried to hit me with a bill for £400 because "batteries are a consumable like tyres" and not covered by the warranty. 

Wanna bet....

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I’ve started it. There’s just 11.8 volts in the main battery battery but I’m not sure that’s the starter battery. However there’s no measurable output from the alternator and no blown fuses. An oil leak from a front engine cover was fixed at the last service about 200 miles ago and I think the oil dripped into the alternator and caused the subsequent damage. We shall see.

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If it's a Mercedes the starter battery is under the bonnet. Behind the rear seats, (on mine), is another and a very small one behind the dash holds the memory for all the settings

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There are just two in the rear under the luggage compartment floor. One large main one and a smaller for the auto stop/start I assume.

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My Nissan had a battery failure, only 1 year old. Quite common with Nissans apparently, dealer replaced it.(the battery)

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This is definitely an alternator failure. I’ve had the battery on a trickle charge with my C tech. and it’s almost fully charged so it should drive onto the recovery truck in the morning. The supplying dealer is in Lincoln. It just depends whether they have a unit in stock in which case it should be fixed in the day. If however it’s a recurrence of the oil leak, which I think caused the failure, it was a two day job last time as access is limited and coolant hoses have to be removed. It’s no big loss, it only comes out when it’s not raining!

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An update on my car breakdown on 29th. June for anyone who might be interested!

The car was to be collected by the AA on Monday 31st. but wouldn't start as the battery was down to 6v. A patrol had to come come out to give it a boost start and  to get it down our drive onto the flatbed which was parked on the lane. It was with the dealers in Lincoln by lunchtime and I was promised a loan vehicle. I had to chase them up for the loaner on Tuesday but it didn't materialise and I was finally contacted by the dealership on Wednesday afternoon to say they'd replaced various components and that it would be ready on Thursday morning subject to the battery holding a charge. They called to say it was ready on Thursday morning and my wife took me over to collect it. The service manager gave me a spiel about what they had done but I had already sensed that he didn't really know much about auto electrics. I drove it home, checked the battery which was only reading 12.2v. I called the dealers and arranged for them to inspect it back at their premises at 3pm on Friday. It only took them ten minutes to tell me that all was ok and was safe to drive back home. They suggested I might put it on charge overnight just to be safe. I only got as far as Newark when the "battery not charging" message appeared once again. I managed to get home by turning off all the electrics I could but the battery was then reading just over 11v when I got home. I called the service department to advise them and then the AA recovery. The AA man called and confirmed that it wasn't charging and arranged for a collection on Saturday. Overnight the battery had gone down to 6v so once more the flat bed driver had to call out a patrol for a boost start. It went off to Lincoln once again but this time I was contacted by the recovery agency to say that there was a loan car for me at Lincoln and that a taxi was being despatched from Nottingham to take me there. This time there was a brand new car, direct from the manufacturers waiting for me. I have now met with six different AA men, all who have been most courteous and helpful and I will probably be invited to the AA Christmas party at this rate!

I have, of course, emailed the service manager, with a copy to the dealer principle, expressing my concerns. I have a fair idea of what the problem is but they seem to think they know better than me! At least I now have a reasonable car at my disposal. I look forward to the next episode in this sorry saga and will report back when I know more. 

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In my case I think that the service people rely far too much on the inbuilt diagnostics. My car reported no faults every time they plugged it in.

They would not accept my offer to drive it and demonstrate the problem, insurance, elf n safety sir, can't be done.

At my insistence a technician finally road tested it and saw the problem, it was, as a fellow customer pointed out, a battery failure.

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I’m with you all the way Brew. Auto electronics are basically simple. I sometimes think that they want to over- complicate things just because they can. If you understand Ohms law and Newton’s laws of motion you can solve most problems - other than women of course! smile2

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Women are problems to be solved?   I think not!

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Heh heh, now who's on dangerous ground?

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Why do you need to 'understand' us?   Bit of an impossible task, I reckon!  (But not because we are complicated, it's more that you are only men!)

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Makes for an interesting life, though, doesn't it?

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