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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I recently returned home from a trip to find my car wouldn't start after being outside in the heat for a week. The car wouldn't jump off, so I took my battery to Auto Zone, and they said it was dead, so I got a new battery. A family friend installed it... but put it in backwards. The engine fuse blew, which I replaced, so that car started working again. (I've also noticed the stereo won't come on, so I'll be checking lots of fuses in the next few minutes.) Anyways, I went back to Auto Zone to get the alternator checked, and they said it's bad too.

Now for my question: is it more likely that the battery was drained from the heat (we're talking over 100 degrees) and then the battery being installed backwards killed the alternator, or that the alternator was bad to begin with?

Also, when I take the beetle to the mechanic to get the alternator replaced, should I have him look at anything else since the battery was put in backwards? Thanks.
 

· USS ANNIEPRISE NCC 1701 A
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Hi All,

I recently returned home from a trip to find my car wouldn't start after being outside in the heat for a week. The car wouldn't jump off, so I took my battery to Auto Zone, and they said it was dead, so I got a new battery. A family friend installed it... but put it in backwards. The engine fuse blew, which I replaced, so that car started working again. (I've also noticed the stereo won't come on, so I'll be checking lots of fuses in the next few minutes.) Anyways, I went back to Auto Zone to get the alternator checked, and they said it's bad too.

Now for my question: is it more likely that the battery was drained from the heat (we're talking over 100 degrees) and then the battery being installed backwards killed the alternator, or that the alternator was bad to begin with?

Also, when I take the beetle to the mechanic to get the alternator replaced, should I have him look at anything else since the battery was put in backwards? Thanks.
Hey, I'm sorry about all your Bug troubles. I would say it wasn't the heat that killed the battery, Cars for sale and peeps who don't have garages or carports sit out in the sun all the time. I would say that your alternator was bad. I recently took 5 hour trip to Chicago and the same thing happened to me. Fried battery, bad alternator. I do have a question for you though, is your radio completely dead? I read in my manual that if you change the battery, the word "safe" will come on requesting a code. Mine is just completely dead. Let me know what you find out, like wich fuse and where is it located? Thanks, and good luck! PS You can find the code in the trunk under the spare if you need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I was just outside working on getting my radio to work when you replied to my thread, and wouldn't you know if but mine is doing the same thing. I changed the fuse (no. 42 on the fuse box that is on the driver's side) even though the original wasn't blown, and it didn't help. I have changed my battery in the past and had to put in my code when the radio read "SAFE," but this time is seems to be completely dead.

When you replaced your battery did you also put it in backwards or did the radio stop working once you got the battery and alternator replaced?

I'm getting my car to a mechanic tomorrow, so I'll have them check out the radio unless I can find anything out online. I'll let you know if I figure anything out!

Good luck to you too!
 

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I'll ask the obvious question here...How do you put the battery on backwards?..it should only fit one way unless you have the wrong battery for the bug...or some strange make where the terminals are in the wrong place. In any event, I've never heard of heat draining a battery but, what made you bring in the alternator to have it checked? How old was the battery? Maybe the battery was just shot and there's nothing else wrong? I just changed my battery after almost 4 years and it's fine now.
Does the car run now? Are there any other electronic items not working besides the radio? The radio shouldn't be dead, it may say SAFE on it and you have to input the radio code but it should come on...in fact, after changing my battery, I didn;t have to put the code in..it just worked like normal.
Be sure to check all the fused on top of the battery first. Let us know how you make out. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The guy who changed my battery seriously had out a hammer trying to get the connection over one of the terminals. :mad: I haven't changed a battery before, so I kept saying, "they must have sold us the incorrect battery, I'm sure this isn't right." He eventually realized what he had done and felt like an idiot. Fortunately the engine fuse blew and prevented any damage occurring to the engine.

The people at Auto Zone told me that since my old battery was so drained (I brought it in to be tested before buying a new one, and they said it was at 6.6 volts) they told me to come back and have the alternator checked. After checking it they said it was at 11 volts, and since you should be running 13 to 14 volts I probably had about 85 minutes of driving time before the car stopped.

The battery was at least 7 years old.

Car is running fine, but the generator indicator light is illuminated. (Red battery symbol) I hope this doesn't mean something more involved is wrong. :(

The radio will not power on. When I had the battery replaced several years ago, I remember how it was in safe mode and that i put in the code to get it to work. This is not the case now. The radio display doesn't read anything. All other electrical devices are working fine. I checked all the lights, windows, clock, etc.

I have called my reliable mechanic and he is going to replace the alternator for me. I'm really distressed that this whole battery incident has hurt Dorothy more than I currently know... I'll keep everything updated so that if this happens to someone in the future, they know what to expect.
 

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I'm still thinking the alternator is fine..mainly because I don't trust those auto parts store kids. If the battery is at 6 volts, and even if the alternator was only putting out 11 volts, why wouldn't the battery closer to the 11 volts the alternator was supposedly putting out?.....The dash light may just be telling you about a fuse issue...not sure. A battery usually is only good for 3 to 5 years. 7 is on borrowed time. I'd have either a good VW mechanic or the dealer look at it to see why the dash light is on. It may be the alternator but if that were the case, why wasn't that light on BEFORE the battery change....or was it?
 

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While I was at the GTG, Jose (Toad) told me there was ANOTHER fuse for the radio on back of the radio, so i'm going to have to get someone to take my radio out and check that fuse too. Please let me know what your mechanic says! And no, I didn't put my battery in.
 

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The guy who changed my battery seriously had out a hammer trying to get the connection over one of the terminals. :mad: I haven't changed a battery before, so I kept saying, "they must have sold us the incorrect battery, I'm sure this isn't right." He eventually realized what he had done and felt like an idiot. Fortunately the engine fuse blew and prevented any damage occurring to the engine.

The people at Auto Zone told me that since my old battery was so drained (I brought it in to be tested before buying a new one, and they said it was at 6.6 volts) they told me to come back and have the alternator checked. After checking it they said it was at 11 volts, and since you should be running 13 to 14 volts I probably had about 85 minutes of driving time before the car stopped.

The battery was at least 7 years old.

Car is running fine, but the generator indicator light is illuminated. (Red battery symbol) I hope this doesn't mean something more involved is wrong. :(

The radio will not power on. When I had the battery replaced several years ago, I remember how it was in safe mode and that i put in the code to get it to work. This is not the case now. The radio display doesn't read anything. All other electrical devices are working fine. I checked all the lights, windows, clock, etc.

I have called my reliable mechanic and he is going to replace the alternator for me. I'm really distressed that this whole battery incident has hurt Dorothy more than I currently know... I'll keep everything updated so that if this happens to someone in the future, they know what to expect.
With all the respect in the world for BeetleScott, I had a car battery up and die when the car was less than three years old. I don't know your location, but the tow truck driver told me that here the 100º+ heat can kill batteries.
 

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With all the respect in the world for BeetleScott, I had a car battery up and die when the car was less than three years old. I don't know your location, but the tow truck driver told me that here the 100º+ heat can kill batteries.
The battery was 7 years old so I guess anything is possible.
 

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With all the respect in the world for BeetleScott, I had a car battery up and die when the car was less than three years old. I don't know your location, but the tow truck driver told me that here the 100º+ heat can kill batteries.
Good to know! After I posted that, I got to thinking, the new cars do have those solar chargers in the windshield, (not sure what they call them) I passed a small car lot the other day, when it was in triple digits, and wondered about that. Thanks for the heads up:)
 

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The battery was 7 years old so I guess anything is possible.
I agree. I guess those small car lots have do deal with freezing temps as well as heat in the summer. I saw a beautiful red NB on the lot I was speaking about, I wanted to run and roll down the windows:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mystery solved!

Ok all, here is the final word:

After finally agreeing (to my father) to have my car diagnosed at the VW dealership before buying the new alternator at Auto Zone, I found out (happily) that a fuse on the battery fuse box had blown, and that actually my alternator is fine. The dealership also found that the in-line fuse to the radio (behind the radio) had blown, and they replaced that as well. So while I was expecting to pay upwards of $400, I walked out spending $52.73.

: )

Now the bad news: when the mechanics at the dealership removed my radio, they scratched the rubber surface on my console BADLY. I went in to tell the service manager, and after looking at it he said "we'll see if we have the part. Otherwise... *chuckle* sorry." I got REALLY mad because of his attitude, and he said, "Well, we don't know that it wasn't that way before." Then I got REALLY REALLY MAD, and said that it wasn't that way and they needed to do something about it. Long story short they ordered a replacement and will be installing it on Wednesday. I can't BELIEVE they would be so rude and apathetic... I've had my car for 8 years and had them work on it plenty of times. I realize that my '99 beetle has many cosmetic flaws, but that doesn't mean you can neglect it and not expect me to say something.

Ok, I'm done with my rant now.

Overall, I should have checked BOTH fuse boxes, but I didn't. Thanks to all for your concern and encouragement. Tomorrow I am replacing a fog light bulb, so now I'm off to search the forum for tips on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
While I was at the GTG, Jose (Toad) told me there was ANOTHER fuse for the radio on back of the radio, so i'm going to have to get someone to take my radio out and check that fuse too. Please let me know what your mechanic says! And no, I didn't put my battery in.
I'm sure that's what the problem is (see my long reply). Also, have them be careful removing the radio (again, see my reply.) Thanks for all the encouragement, and best of luck getting your beetle back in good health!
 

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Honestly, if you can't prove that they did it, they won't fix it. Circuit City installed my radio and scratched my console to heck, as well as backed my car into something enough to spider crack the paint. But I couldn't prove it.

Glad your fix was so easy though. Be thankful for that!
 

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Just as I suspected. That's great news. Like I said, I don't have much faith in some of these kids hired by these auto parts places so paying the dealer, just to diagnose, is always a great idea. And as long as they're willing to replace the scratched piece, just let it go..lol. Like you said..at least it only cost you a little over $50 and all is well in Beetle-land again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
uggggggh

just got back the dealership. They replaced the center dash, which looks great BUT they cracked my radio faceplate in the process. UAHSriuhdfg;ihsudrg;iahureghiu

Can anyone tell me how to replace the faceplate? I'm not trusting these guys to do ANYTHING ever again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok, either today or tomorrow they are going to swap my radio out for another one since they can't just give me a face plate.

Did I mention all of this is going on while I'm out of town? I'm never going to get home!
 
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