Car won’t charge

My car won't charge, and I have a brand new battery. The battery and brake lights were on when the car was in Drive. The engine ran, but the pedal would not drive.
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello! Since you have replaced the battery, we will put that to the side, but we cannot ignore it. A failed charging system puts a large load on a battery and can damage a new one, so I suggest having the battery tested; many facilities offer a free check.

Are the Battery or Brake lights illuminated? If the Battery light is illuminated, this generally points toward a faulted charging system component, which could be the alternator or just a fuse. If the Brake light is illuminated red, the brake fluid level could be low, or the parking brake may have been left engaged; I will lean more toward the parking brake because of your note, "the engine ran, but the pedal would not drive". A low brake fluid level can come from a lack of brake system maintenance, or a leak in the system. Brake fluid leaks are generally accompanied by a low or soft brake pedal.

I suggest that you consult an experienced mechanic, like the ones we have here at YourMechanic, for a thorough inspection of the electrical system that recharges your vehicle’s battery.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

One of the most common reasons the battery light comes on and the car battery stops charging is because of corrosion. Whether the corrosion is on the battery cables or cable terminals, it is still a problem that needs to be addressed. Another common culprit for the battery not charging is a problem with the alternator.
Here are some reasons why your car battery won`t hold a charge after a successful jump start: The car wasn`t driven long enough for the battery to recharge fully. The vehicle charging system has a problem, like a bad alternator or voltage regulator. An electrical system was left on, draining the battery.
Some of the things to look for are no-starting and trouble starting, dimming lights and problems with stereo system output. If your car starts but stalls when you`re underway, your battery is probably not being recharged due to a faulty alternator.
What if your car won`t jump-start? First, try running the other engine for five more minutes before trying again to start yours. If your car still doesn`t start, you may need a new battery — or it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Replaced alternator on car 2 times each time shows it’s charging 14v let car run for a little bit then test drive and car voltage
ANSWER : There are reports that the replacement alternators will not communicate with the engine computer and will not charge correctly. I recommend using only the manufacturer approved replacement part. It can be new or remanufactured but approved for use in the vehicle. Some lower cost alternators on the aftermarket will have charging problems since they will not communicate with the ECM on the vehicle and will stop charging.

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Car won’t start. The check engine light, battery light, and oil change light are coming on. I tried jumping the car and nothing happened. Why won’t my car start?
ANSWER : Hi and thanks for contacting Your Mechanic. If sometimes your vehicle will start with the new alternator and sometimes it won’t, then there is a loose connection in your charging system. Check all of the wires to the alternator and to the battery. Make sure that the battery cables are clean and tight. Make sure that the wires to the starter are clean and tight. A loose ground to the ignition system will cause the vehicle to not crank over. Check all of the ground wires from the battery to the starter. Make sure that they are clean and tight. If you need further assistance troubleshooting your no start situation, then seek out a technician, such as one from Your Mechanic, that can assist you.

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As I’m driving, all my lights inside/out of the car turn off and the car still stays on. But when I turn the car off it won’t turn over
ANSWER : Hello there. The charging system on the car may not be charging the battery as you drive and the systems that keep the engine running are priority so the engine will stay running until the voltage drops below about 9 volts but the lighting and some other accessories may cut off above this voltage first. You should have the charging system tested to see if the alternator needs to be replaced.

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I put the wrong key in my car and a few weeks later my car just shut down and it will not start I believe it’s the computer but…
ANSWER : Hi there. What had happened is the wrong key set the security to the vehicle. This is to prevent the vehicle from starting with the wrong keys. Try removing the battery cables (+) and (-) for 13 minutes. During that time, put the original key in the ignition and turn it on. Activate everything in the car even though there is no power. Then remove the key and hook up the battery cables. The computer should have reset and reset the security. If the security is still being tripped, then I recommend seeking out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you

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Water was spilled in the trunk which soaked the car battery. Car won’t start now. Does water destroy a car battery?
ANSWER : Hi, thanks for writing in about the concern with the BMW 320i. If the battery was submerged in water then it’s completely possible for the battery to short out and die. Your friend will need to have the battery replaced. Also be sure to get all of the water out of the trunk. Have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, help you guys out if you need assistance with replacing the battery. Good luck.

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Battery and oil light come on when trying to start car, take keys out try again car starts no problem and lights go away
ANSWER : Of course, don’t switch gears without being fully stopped, unless your Owner’s Manual or the manufacturer has alternative advice. However, the gear shift issue has no relation to the no-start problem you are describing. Inasmuch as you only have 6,000 miles on the car, the "constant on and off" that you believe has occurred is meaningless in comparison to the expected total vehicle service life. That is, assume what you perceive as "constant on and off", during merely 6,000 miles, might be equivalent to using the car "normally" for three years. A new car should be trouble free for at least 5 years, unless there is a defect, so your "constant on and off" is not a causal factor for any fault on the vehicle. What you might have is a defect in the ignition switch, or perhaps the immobilizer system, but if the problem is not in the switch itself, clearly there is an electrical problem.

If your vehicle is under warranty, by law the dealer MUST repair the issue you are describing within a prescribed time frame and number of "attempts", otherwise the dealer will run afoul of Federal and state Lemon Laws that give you very specific rights, and recourse (contact an Attorney; we are Mechanics, NOT attorneys). Consequently, if the vehicle is still under warranty, to save yourself money do be sure to seek a resolution from the dealer. If the vehicle is not under warranty, obviously a certified Mechanic from YourMechanic could identify the electrical fault and resolve this for you. If you want to go that route, please simply request a no start diagnostic -electrical system and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Why won’t my 2004 Audi A6 Quattro charge brand new battery??
ANSWER : Hello. Most of the time the issue is in the wire coming from the battery to the alternator. This small wire has a tendency to fail and have high resistance. This needs to be checked first. If that is not the cause then you may have a computer issue. I would need to check that with a scan tool that will communicate with the vehicles main computer. If you are looking to have this done, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to you to [diagnose why the vehicle is not charging] https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/battery-will-not-hold-a-charge-inspection

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Car won’t move. I can start the car but when I put the shifter in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ect. The car will not move.
ANSWER : The transaxle is not engaging internally to the axle shafts inside the transaxle or you have one or both axle shafts disengaged from the transaxle. The fact that the speedometer moves when gear is engaged and clutch is released shows the speed sensor in the transaxle is getting turned.

You will need to have the vehicle raised and the axles inspected for broke or stripped shafts. If the axles do not have anything visually wrong with them then hold one wheel and try to turn the other wheel while transaxle is in gear, with engine off, to see if the wheels are locked together. When you spin one wheel the other wheel should turn in the opposite direction. If it does not then the problem is in the transaxle differential gears and the transaxle would need to be removed and disassembled to find the broken internal components.

If you need some assistance with this, consider YourMechanic, as one of our mobile technicians can come to your home or office to diagnose your acceleration issue and help make the necessary repairs to get you going again.

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