Q: 1998 Saab 900 SE Turbo won't hold power after a jump

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This much-loved but unreliable car has almost rarely been used over the last few yrs. On the few occasions I've had to use it, it starts up fine w/ a jump & I'm able to move it (although it won't start up again w/o another jump). Recently, however, my normal car went kaput & I now need the Saab on a daily basis. It'll still start up ok w/ a jump but it won't keep power & dies the second i take my foot off the gas. Do I need a new battery, new alternator, or both? The way it is now, I can't even get it to a shop. Please help!

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

It sounds like you may have a weak battery from the extended periods of sitting. As you may know, even a vehicle with a properly functioning charging system (i.e. alternator, voltage regulator, etc) will ultimately not keep a battery properly charged if the battery is charged and then dies repeatedly due to the vehicle sitting for extended periods of time. Batteries simply do not remain charged when not used or when a charge is not maintained. As you may know, the alternator charges the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while the engine turns the alternator pulley. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator and maintaining a certain amperage while the engine runs. When the alternator is not working properly, this may result in the battery quickly losing charge and the car losing all power. You may also notice a whining sound as a result of the bearings inside the alternator begin to fail. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at the vehicle.

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