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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just bought a 2012 Challenger SXT a couple of months ago. It cost more than I have ever spent on a vehicle ever before in my life, therefore it is incredibly frustrating to be having a problem already after having owned it for only two months so far. It all started last weekend. Went out to start it on Sunday and the battery was dead. Jump started it and went to Interstate Batteries, thinking most likely I could simply buy a new battery and the issue would be resolved. They tested it and told me my battery is fine, actually better than fine. It seems the dealership had probably installed a new battery right before they sold it to me, so that was clearly not my problem. Battery was dead once again on Monday, so I called the dealership and made an appointment to have it checked out. Spent pretty much all day Wednesday waiting on technicians to run diagnostics on trying to figure out what was draining the battery. There is definitely something continuing to draw power from the battery after the engine is shut off, but couldn't figure out for sure the source of that draw. Eventually they came up with a theory that it was the radio, suggested replacing it. Removed the fuse to disable the sound system in order to test that theory, and today once again the battery was dead. Tried to jump start it and it wouldn't take a jump. During that time of trying to start it with jumper cables connected I briefly saw the message "key fob not detected" displayed in the area just below the speedometer. Lost my patience in that moment and took my wife's car to go run errands. Tried again a couple hours later and it started right up even without the jumper cables, which defies all logic and common sense considering that it had been totally dead earlier in the day. Went back to the dealership and talked to the technician who had looked at it on Wednesday. Gave him an update on what else had gone down since I was in a couple of days ago, and now he is no longer convinced that the radio is the problem. Suggested doing more extensive diagnostics when I bring it back in next week. Can anybody here offer me any advice on this very specific set of circumstances? I love everything about this car except for the fact that the past week I can never know for sure if it will or won't start.
 

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Buy a charger/maintainer, hook it to the battery and leave it on there overnight. You can get one at Walmart for $30.

Nothing destroys a battery quicker than repeated discharging. This may not solve your problem but if you don't do this, you will eventually need a new battery.

I'm also suspecting that, although you get the car started, you never get the battery full charged.
 

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The 2012's had a ALT recall check your Vin and see if there is an open Recall if so get it fixed by local Dealer
 

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2020 Dodge Challenger Hellraisin Scat Pack
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Just bought a 2012 Challenger SXT a couple of months ago. It cost more than I have ever spent on a vehicle ever before in my life, therefore it is incredibly frustrating to be having a problem already after having owned it for only two months so far. It all started last weekend. Went out to start it on Sunday and the battery was dead. Jump started it and went to Interstate Batteries, thinking most likely I could simply buy a new battery and the issue would be resolved. They tested it and told me my battery is fine, actually better than fine. It seems the dealership had probably installed a new battery right before they sold it to me, so that was clearly not my problem. Battery was dead once again on Monday, so I called the dealership and made an appointment to have it checked out. Spent pretty much all day Wednesday waiting on technicians to run diagnostics on trying to figure out what was draining the battery. There is definitely something continuing to draw power from the battery after the engine is shut off, but couldn't figure out for sure the source of that draw. Eventually they came up with a theory that it was the radio, suggested replacing it. Removed the fuse to disable the sound system in order to test that theory, and today once again the battery was dead. Tried to jump start it and it wouldn't take a jump. During that time of trying to start it with jumper cables connected I briefly saw the message "key fob not detected" displayed in the area just below the speedometer. Lost my patience in that moment and took my wife's car to go run errands. Tried again a couple hours later and it started right up even without the jumper cables, which defies all logic and common sense considering that it had been totally dead earlier in the day. Went back to the dealership and talked to the technician who had looked at it on Wednesday. Gave him an update on what else had gone down since I was in a couple of days ago, and now he is no longer convinced that the radio is the problem. Suggested doing more extensive diagnostics when I bring it back in next week. Can anybody here offer me any advice on this very specific set of circumstances? I love everything about this car except for the fact that the past week I can never know for sure if it will or won't start.
First as mentioned by Wm. Internet Rock DJ check to see if the car is subject any alternator or electrical system recall and get this done. If the recall doesn't help then what follows may be of some use to you...

There are two general cases of failed engine start. A no crank and a crank but no start.

You don't specify which one you encountered.

A crank with no start can be lack of fuel, lack of spark.

Fuel pumps are great if they fail outright. If they act up intermittently that behavior qualifies for another level of Hell.

A way to check fuel pressure at engine start is needed to verify the fuel pressure is good at engine start or when the engine fails to start it is not good.

In some cases one can hear the fuel pump come on before engine start. If your car behaves this way listen for this before every start attempt. If you do not hear the fuel pump and the engine does not start... well, there you are. Bad fuel pump. Maybe. (Could be a bad ignition switch.)

Lack of spark if it happens can arise if the crankshaft position sensor is bad. The engine controller will not know when to trigger fuel injector pulses or spark. So it triggers neither. This sensor "failure" is not considered an emissions problem and may not result in a CEL. But if it does happen it might cause the engine controller to log a proprietary error. The tech should have queried the car's electronics for these.

One way to possible ID a crankshaft position sensor is bad is pay attention to the tach behavior upon each attempt to start the engine. A normal start probably will have the tach reacting to even the initial cranking before start. A failed start probably will have the tach needle just lying still.

There is a slim possibility the battery while strong enough to crank the engine has a voltage level that is too low to work the coils. But this voltage condition should result in a proprietary error message being logged.

If the no start is of the no crank type...

If a manual equipped car the clutch safety interlock switch can be bad and like fuel pumps intermittently so. One way to possibly ID the switch is bad is to if the starter button is pressed and the engine fails to crank release the button then furiously pump the clutch then making sure the clutch is pressed all the way down try to start engine again.

If an automatic equipped car the P position switch may be flaky. In some cases shifting to N will let the engine crank. Or you can move the lever around then come back to the P position again. You can try this several times.

The battery was not dead if the battery was capable of starting the engine after a few hours after it had failed to start the engine -- with help from being connected to another good battery -- and with no battery charger connected over that span of time.

However, there are still enough possible causes to consider...

The car is new to you and used. So you have to "suspect" everything. The battery terminals and battery connectors must be free of any corrosion. There are battery post attachments one can use with an electric drill motor to clean the battery posts of any corrosion and there are battery cable connector attachments one can use with a drill motor to clean the connectors of any corrosion.

The battery cables should be in good condition. These can experience degradation at the battery terminal connectors and also where they connect at other points which are almost always out of sight.

The ground strap must be checked. These are exposed to water and in winter possibly salt and degrade severely.

One sign of bad battery cables is if they are hot after a start or after the engine has run a short time. They are hot because resistance is high due to some strands of copper having corroded away or broken. In some cases I have seen a ground strap so bad that just a few strands of copper were intact and these were hot enough to have burned away the insulation.

And returning to the fact the car is used and unknown to you all the while you are attending to the battery cables and other such things you need to be on the lookout for signs of rodent damage to any wiring in the engine compartment.

If a current drain is suspected the tech can determine this with a suitable multi-meter. He should know what the normal draw is -- generally it should be in the range of a few tens of mAs with the car's electronics in their lowest power state. If the amp draw is more that what could be considered normal then pulling fuses to note which one pulled causes the excessive amp draw to drop should at least identify the circuit/system that is causing the excessive draw. Different electrical circuits require different power levels. But the factory service manual should list what each circuit should nominally draw and the tech then is on the look out for a circuit when the fuse is pulled results in a drop in draw more than would be the case.

Based on what you wrote though I'm not convinced an excessive parasitic power drain is present.

In some respects the behavior suggests to me a bad ignition switch. With another car with a key operated switch and when the switch was suspected the tech engaged in a flurry of engine starts each time wiggling the key pushing the key in one direction or another to try to affect the electrical connections that the turning of the key should make.

With a push button operated ignition not sure what technique a tech would use. If the button can be removed and a key used then possibly using the key and trying multiple starts as I described above might be one way.

Or you can ask the tech about the switch possibly being a problem.

Generally not a fan of throwing parts at symptoms but if the switch module is not expensive and not hard to replace I'd be tempted to throw a new switch module at the crank but not start behavior provided you turned up no other cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Buy a charger/maintainer, hook it to the battery and leave it on there overnight. You can get one at Walmart for $30.

Nothing destroys a battery quicker than repeated discharging. This may not solve your problem but if you don't do this, you will eventually need a new battery.

I'm also suspecting that, although you get the car started, you never get the battery full charged.
Good suggestion, thank you. My son actually already has one of those. We'll try hooking it up to that overnight and then see what happens tomorrow when I try to start it. Couple of questions though... how do I know if my battery is standard, AGM, or GEL? Also, am I better off setting it to 3A maintainer or 15A rapid charge?
Gas Cable Machine Wire Gadget


First as mentioned by Wm. Internet Rock DJ check to see if the car is subject any alternator or electrical system recall and get this done. If the recall doesn't help then what follows may be of some use to you...

There are two general cases of failed engine start. A no crank and a crank but no start.

You don't specify which one you encountered.

A crank with no start can be lack of fuel, lack of spark.

Fuel pumps are great if they fail outright. If they act up intermittently that behavior qualifies for another level of Hell.

A way to check fuel pressure at engine start is needed to verify the fuel pressure is good at engine start or when the engine fails to start it is not good.

In some cases one can hear the fuel pump come on before engine start. If your car behaves this way listen for this before every start attempt. If you do not hear the fuel pump and the engine does not start... well, there you are. Bad fuel pump. Maybe. (Could be a bad ignition switch.)

Lack of spark if it happens can arise if the crankshaft position sensor is bad. The engine controller will not know when to trigger fuel injector pulses or spark. So it triggers neither. This sensor "failure" is not considered an emissions problem and may not result in a CEL. But if it does happen it might cause the engine controller to log a proprietary error. The tech should have queried the car's electronics for these.

One way to possible ID a crankshaft position sensor is bad is pay attention to the tach behavior upon each attempt to start the engine. A normal start probably will have the tach reacting to even the initial cranking before start. A failed start probably will have the tach needle just lying still.

There is a slim possibility the battery while strong enough to crank the engine has a voltage level that is too low to work the coils. But this voltage condition should result in a proprietary error message being logged.

If the no start is of the no crank type...

If a manual equipped car the clutch safety interlock switch can be bad and like fuel pumps intermittently so. One way to possibly ID the switch is bad is to if the starter button is pressed and the engine fails to crank release the button then furiously pump the clutch then making sure the clutch is pressed all the way down try to start engine again.

If an automatic equipped car the P position switch may be flaky. In some cases shifting to N will let the engine crank. Or you can move the lever around then come back to the P position again. You can try this several times.

The battery was not dead if the battery was capable of starting the engine after a few hours after it had failed to start the engine -- with help from being connected to another good battery -- and with no battery charger connected over that span of time.

However, there are still enough possible causes to consider...

The car is new to you and used. So you have to "suspect" everything. The battery terminals and battery connectors must be free of any corrosion. There are battery post attachments one can use with an electric drill motor to clean the battery posts of any corrosion and there are battery cable connector attachments one can use with a drill motor to clean the connectors of any corrosion.

The battery cables should be in good condition. These can experience degradation at the battery terminal connectors and also where they connect at other points which are almost always out of sight.

The ground strap must be checked. These are exposed to water and in winter possibly salt and degrade severely.

One sign of bad battery cables is if they are hot after a start or after the engine has run a short time. They are hot because resistance is high due to some strands of copper having corroded away or broken. In some cases I have seen a ground strap so bad that just a few strands of copper were intact and these were hot enough to have burned away the insulation.

And returning to the fact the car is used and unknown to you all the while you are attending to the battery cables and other such things you need to be on the lookout for signs of rodent damage to any wiring in the engine compartment.

If a current drain is suspected the tech can determine this with a suitable multi-meter. He should know what the normal draw is -- generally it should be in the range of a few tens of mAs with the car's electronics in their lowest power state. If the amp draw is more that what could be considered normal then pulling fuses to note which one pulled causes the excessive amp draw to drop should at least identify the circuit/system that is causing the excessive draw. Different electrical circuits require different power levels. But the factory service manual should list what each circuit should nominally draw and the tech then is on the look out for a circuit when the fuse is pulled results in a drop in draw more than would be the case.

Based on what you wrote though I'm not convinced an excessive parasitic power drain is present.

In some respects the behavior suggests to me a bad ignition switch. With another car with a key operated switch and when the switch was suspected the tech engaged in a flurry of engine starts each time wiggling the key pushing the key in one direction or another to try to affect the electrical connections that the turning of the key should make.

With a push button operated ignition not sure what technique a tech would use. If the button can be removed and a key used then possibly using the key and trying multiple starts as I described above might be one way.

Or you can ask the tech about the switch possibly being a problem.

Generally not a fan of throwing parts at symptoms but if the switch module is not expensive and not hard to replace I'd be tempted to throw a new switch module at the crank but not start behavior provided you turned up no other cause.
Wow, lots of information there. Thank you so much. I'm going to share these suggestions with the technician at the dealership I've been working with when I bring it back next week. Based on what he told me yesterday about wanting to run further diagnostics based on the fact that his theory about the radio seems to have been disproven, I'm thinking some of what you recommended here could be helpful moving forward. Oh, and BTW, I've been getting no crank all of the times that it has failed to start.

The 2012's had a ALT recall check your Vin and see if there is an open Recall if so get it fixed by local Dealer
I did run my VIN at the link you provided and it seems a previous owner took advantage of the alternator recall way back in 2014. Thanks for the suggestion though, good to eliminate one possibility.
 

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Unless aftermarket, your battery is a regular lead acid battery. If you look on the case it will say what type, with symbols at the least


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Good suggestion, thank you. My son actually already has one of those. We'll try hooking it up to that overnight and then see what happens tomorrow when I try to start it. Couple of questions though... how do I know if my battery is standard, AGM, or GEL? Also, am I better off setting it to 3A maintainer or 15A rapid charge?
View attachment 1051204



Wow, lots of information there. Thank you so much. I'm going to share these suggestions with the technician at the dealership I've been working with when I bring it back next week. Based on what he told me yesterday about wanting to run further diagnostics based on the fact that his theory about the radio seems to have been disproven, I'm thinking some of what you recommended here could be helpful moving forward. Oh, and BTW, I've been getting no crank all of the times that it has failed to start.



I did run my VIN at the link you provided and it seems a previous owner took advantage of the alternator recall way back in 2014. Thanks for the suggestion though, good to eliminate one possibility.
While I like to be informed to some degree regarding a problem with my car and what might be involved in diagnosing this I try to avoid telling a tech his job. It might not go over that well. And if I have to tell him his job I would feel I'm bringing my car to the wrong place.

Use the info to ask questions not in a way that suggests the tech doesn't know what he's doing but more as a "dumb" customer seeking some enlightenment from the tech. My experience is if the tech is not pressed for time he'll take some time to share with me how he will proceed/what he will consider.
 

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Rockster is 100% dead on, almost any Tech worth his salt will get his hackles up if you come at him the wrong way with internet research, especially if it's a seasoned one, and some of them are really good at hiding it behind a friendly smile. Be careful.

As for your issue, I have to echo some questions. When you key-on do the dash lights and everything light up no problem? Or is the car completely dead, no lights or anything?

If the lights and displays come on, are the headlights dim at all?

The fact that it didn't work once, then sat for a couple hours and started fine doesn't really point to a battery issue for me. Probably more likely to be a wiring or connection issue. Maybe something in or under the TIPM.

Does your SXT have the Uconnect system with bluetooth by chance?
 
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