Cars: New battery, sluggish crank?

Even after getting a new battery, the car still seems sluggish to crank during starting. What is the next step? For one, does the starter need to be replaced if it ain’t broke? The alternator is three years old with new spark plugs in October 2013. What else is there? Do any electrical parts increase in resistance with age? (If so, what?) What other electrical components am I missing? Is there an electronic module, or such, that may be dying?

The car is a 2005 Honda CR-V pushing 250,000 miles. On that note, I can say the engine performs just fine when driving city or highway.

Check for loose or corroded connections on the heavy wires between battery, frame, starter solenoid, and starter motor.

One more (wild) thought: What usually causes a battery to discharge even with the key out of the ignition?

After checking connections, depending on where you are, what is the temp? Cold makes oil thick…

I forgot to change oil once & the car would hardly turn over. Changed oil to the correct weight and it cranked like new. Winter will get you in so many ways…

A slow cranking speed almost always is the fault of one of the following :

Your battery is no good ;even a new one can be defective or damaged. Sometimes people buy one that is too small for the car too in terms of cranking power even though it is the same size physically.

This usually shows up first and foremost on an unusually cold day.

Most auto store chains now offer free battery testing.

Your alternator is not charging the battery properly. Again testing at most parts stores is free.

Loose or corroded or broken battery cables.Usually easily found and fixed at the battery terminals rarely anywhere else unless the cables were damaged or removed and replaced while making other repairs.

Here’s the uhoh problem.

Your starter is on it’s last legs and will fail soon. If your car is getting old and the battery is a good new one and fully charged and the cables are tight and clean this is most likely the problem.

This is easily detected by checking the amount of current in amperes flowing out of the battery when you are cranking the car.If the ampere draw is out of spec either way the starter is usually going bad. This is sometimes a free test, sometimes not.
Don’t install an expensive new starter until it has been performed.It’s not a failsafe test but it comes close.

This is the sort of problem that should be fixed right away before it results in you getting stranded and paying for a tow to a shop not necessarily your first choice as well as paying for the repair.

And if it is well below zero F don’t expect your car to crank over easily in any case but the right oil changed at the proper interval can make all the difference sometimes.

Be sure it is the weight and grade spec’ed by the manufacturer for your local conditions.

It’s called a parasitic draw and you might want to check out this recent thread on a similar problem I have with my car. Unfortunately, I have not located the problem yet (neither has my mechanic). It’s a great puzzle.

Stuck relays are a common problem with parasitic draws, also very easy to check. Just feel the relays with your hand after the car has been sitting a while. Anything warm is drawing current. Bad diodes in alternator are also a common cause of current draw. One of the most common is when someones horn sticks on they unplug the horn but the relay stays engaged drawing down the battery. Trunk and under hood lights can also get stuck on from bad or misplaced switches.

I’d say armature bushings and/or brushes would be the wolf closest to the sled . . .

So, starter motor?..

I had a similar issue with a CR-V except it was almost new. After the dealer replaced a couple batteries under warranty they installed new software in the control unit and everything went from sad to happy. I’ve read online other people having the same problem with the same solution. Apparently in older software some subsystems of the car can get confused about whether the key is in or not and drain the battery even when it’s shut off; the new software fixes that.

I doubt it’s your problem since your car is so much more “experienced” but you never know.