What's wrong with my car battery?

Six months ago my battery abruptly died. Turned off the motor and it wouldn’t turn back on. I tried to jump it, but that didn’t work so I replaced the battery and it worked fine until yesterday.
Stopped for gas, turned off the car, wouldn’t start. No power at all, just like last time. Since this was a service station, I just left the car there and today he tells me it’s a dead battery. Given the strange way two batteries died it seems to me some sort of problem with the electrical system of the car. What do you think? Is there some type of electrical problem that can make a battery apparently short out and totally die, or does it sound like I just got a bum battery last time. The first dead battery was around three years old.

You probably have a faulty alternator. Go to your local Autozone and have them check it out. Perhaps something is draining your battery…leaving a light on or a short in the system. I’d get the battery re-charged and have the alternator bench tested. Good luck.

Same thing happened to me, THREE TIMES. Ends up it was the light in the trunk that stayed on full time. I had to go to some kind of electric car specialist for them to figure out where the current was going to. What a piss off that was.

I had a similar thing happen, and it turned out to be an alternator (voltage regulator part) that was over-charging my battery, and thus burning it out. It was putting out something like 14-15 volts into a nominal 12-volt battery.

So indeed, have them check your alternator & related parts.

I’m not doubting that you had a bad regulator, but on many cars it’s not uncommon for the alternator to put out 14 or 15 volts if the engine is revving.

As for the OP, I would suspect a bad alternator, but it could be that something else in the car is causing the failures. It could be something like a light staying on and draining the battery when the car isn’t running (like CheekyMonkey613 posted) but it could also be something drawing too much current while the car is running that is causing the alternator some heartaches. You need to have the current draw tested while the car is off and while it is running to see if something is abnormal, as well as having the alternator tested.

The garage said they checked the alternator and starter. I don’t know if this consists of looking at them, or actually checking things like voltage output. I will call them and ask.