Q: I was driving and my car started to slow down, and my gas pedal wouldn't work, and all the signs came on and the car light was flickering

asked by on October 10, 2016

I would like to know what's wrong with my car because now it's completely dead. When I try to lock the door it doesn't lock. I've tried to jump the car but it doesn't last long. The check engine light was on but was told my gas tank needed to be checked so that couldn't be the reason. The battery and brake lights came on but those were changed and done. Then the ABS light came on so not I'm sure what that means. When I drive the car it sounds like an airplane is taking off. So I jumped the car and it started but once I put the shift to drive in 5 seconds, the car dies.

My car has 174035 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi, thanks for writing in. It sounds like your battery has crashed. When the system voltage drops below a certain point, the electronics go haywire. The alternator is supposed to maintain the battery voltage at around 14 volts, and I’m guessing that your’s is not working. When the alternator stops charging, the car can continue to run on stored energy in the battery for a few hours, until the voltage falls below about 10 volts, then all those crazy things start happening.

It’s hard to say without hearing it, but the "airplane" noise may be coming from your failed alternator. I don’t recommend running out and buying a new alternator right away, the battery needs to be fully charged or replaced so that you can have a proper tests performed.

Charging or installing a battery, or even jumping one off, is a risky business on a modern car. Connecting the cables incorrectly for even a moment can do a lot of expensive damage to the various modules in your car.

I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home or office to confirm a diagnosis on the issue and make or suggest the necessary repairs or replacements.

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