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Discussion Starter #1
The facts: 2014 LT Cruze Automatic 13 months old with 11K miles.


Eight days ago, my wife parked the Cruze in the garage and removed the key. Since she removed the key, I'm confident she was in Park otherwise the key wouldn't have come out. Tonight she tried to start the car and all she got was a dim domelight and slight movement on the wiper. The car would not start. Then most strangley, she couldn't get the key out.


So I get the call and come home. Sure enough, the key appears stuck in the Accessory position. Depressing the brake and jiggling the shifter does nothing. You can move the key to the Run and Start position but it will not move to the off position.


I check the battery and it's reading 4.5 volts. I jump the car and it starts up fine. I wait a bit and back it out of the garage and turn it off. The key comes out no problem. The car starts again no problem.


Why was the battery dead? Is the ignition switch somehow faulty such that when she originally took the key out 8 days ago, the ignition was somehow still in the accessory position and thus drained the battery? Why wouldn't the key come out today?


Any advice on what to tell the dealer? I'm afraid they will do nothing if they can't replicate the problem.


Once I got the car started and then shut off again, I carefully checked for any dome/reading lights that may have been left on. There were none left on. Even if there were, the battery rundown protection circuit would have cut power to those lights, right?


A 13 month old battery doesn't just go bad like that on a warm 60 degree day. Thoughts?
 

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The Car might be 13 months old, the Battery could be much older. Does it have a date stamped on it? In any case this can and does happen when the battery dies.
 

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It's possible that you could've just gotten a bad battery that showed itself in an 8 day sitting period. It happens, just like everything else that you may get a bad one of. And yes, if the battery dies in the Cruze, the key will not come out of the ignition. The ignition release for the car being in park is electronically actuated in the Cruze and all new GM cars. If you lose battery power, the switch is closed and it assumes you're not in park.


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Probably a bad apples battery. Call dealer and ask if the warranty covers it. If it happens with a new battery, ask them to run parasitic draw tests.
 

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You're describing the results of a battery that has developed an internal short.

The dealer has a tool, about the size of a hand truck, called a GR-8 deep battery tester.
The actual test will take about one hour to perform....the cables are disconnected from the battery, the machine charges the battery to capacity (if possible) and then looks for voltage/amperage loss (that's why the cables are removed...to only test the battery, not the cars electrical system).
It will do several deep load tests over about 15 minutes and will provide a printout.

If it passes, then the deep charge was successful, then further testing for a parasitic draw is necessary.
If it fails, the dealer then, with the printout as evidence of failure, can warrantee the battery under bumper to bumper.

Rob
 

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Why are they still using these stupid steering locks when they have been proven totally ineffective for thief? That is why they came out with all this electronic stuff.

With my wife, with the car at an angle, tends to turn the Cruze off with the steering cocked, easy to do an to remove the key, because the power steering is functional. But trying to rotate that key, takes a lot of force to counter that steering wheel before you can rotate the key.

Yours is just the opposite, can't remove the key because the steering wheel is cocked. But you had no problem when you jumped your Cruze and got the engine running, your power steering was active.

What's really miserable is on diagonal parking many towns switched to, if your wheel hits that curb and you remove that key, you will never be able to start that car again, have to call a towing vehicle.

Electronic anti-thief protection also has a very poor history, was always far more effective in preventing the rightful owners from starting their own vehicles than preventing thief, still playing games with it, but far more difficult to bypass. Sure doesn't stop a thieve from holding a gun to your head, and now have flatbed trucks.

Like trying to solve one problem and creating ten more. Ha recall when interior hood releases were first installed, made so cheap would break, only way to open your hood was with a torch. Make sure on your Cruze you keep this well lubricated or any vehicle for this matter.

Batteries? To save weight using thinner insulation and plates and really jamming everything inside a lot tighter. Maintenance free is the next bad joke, still lose electrolyte, takes longer, but still lose it. Don't even know if you are buying a new battery with full electrolyte. Internal leakage has become far more of a problem, battery discharges within itself, even without a a parasitic draw. Brings up another source of parasitic, draw, always hot for most of the electronic devices and remote entry and anti-thief increase this current. Use to be when the real ignition switch was off, everything was off. Well maybe not the head lamps, had to remember to push in that switch.

Don't dare leave your Cruze sit for a month with the doors locked, that battery will be dead, and if below freezing temperatures will freeze up. They don't like to cover this under warranty. Have to keep a maintenance charger on it, but not handy if you live in an apartment complex.

Gotten to the point of buying a battery is like buying a lottery ticket, are you feeling lucky?

This is telling it the way it has become and the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the awesome replies. I have a quick update....After a detailed review of the manual, it is indeed true that if your battery is dead, you can't take the key out. You also can't shift out of park. That made it very tricky to jump start my car since it was sitting in the garage and I couldn't back it out. I no longer think my problem is related to a bad ignition switch. It appears that the stuck key etc is normal behavior with a dead battery.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that in my case, it also had nothing to do with a turned steering wheel binding up the key. In order to pull into my garage, the wheels have to be perfectly straight or you end up hitting all the crap in the garage.

So we are still left with the question of why I had a dead battery (4.5 volts via a voltmeter at the battery terminals). The car hadn't been started in 8 days. Once I finally jump started the Cruze, I double checked that nothing was on like a dome light and nothing was plugged into the 12 V outlets. Of course even if there was something like a cell phone plugged in, the 12 V cuts off when the key is not in the car. You also have battery run down protection for the dome light.

I just dropped it off at the dealer and he is looking at it. He asked if I had OnStar. I said I let my OnStar expire. He said it's possible that the OnStar drained it. I said "really, after 8 days in a warm garage??". That comment reminded me that I remember reading in a Volt forum of a guy who's Volt was being drained by OnStar. Something was on that shouldn't have been. I also notice that the red flashing alarm is active when the car is parked. I also have heard occasional noises like some sort of servo motor kicking in when I happen to be in the garage. Could the sum total of all these standby activities be enough to kill a battery in 8 days? If so, what am I going to do when I go on vacation for 9 days next year and leave my car at the airport?

I will update this forum once I hear back from the dealer.

One more comment....As I was checking in at the dealership, the guy next to me was bringing in his 2014 Equinox because it had a dead battery. I asked him how long was it sitting? He said 21 days. Things that make you go "hmmmmm".
 

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There have been very rare occurences where the Onstar module did go haywire and kill a battery.

That's why the GR-8 routine must be done with the battery disconnected.....to divorice it from the vehicle.
Premature battery failures are a fact of automotive life.....potental causes revolve around its actual age....meaning the period of time it was from the day it was manufactured and filled/energized till it was actually installed on the assembly line, how long the car sat at the plant before it arrived at the dealer, and how long was it sitting on the dealers lot prior to going into service.
The dealer is supposed to keep track of each car on the lot and the battery is supposed to be recharged every thirty days.

Gotta tell you, that ain't gonna happen.....having worn those boots, the only time that battery sees anything close to a recharge is if it can't start the engine on delivery day......otherwise, you slap it on the back bumper and ship it.
Dealers just don't have the time for that.
As a result, some batteries die a early death by being operated in a less than fully charged condition.....usually caused by a internal short that is a result of sulfation.......this is a shedding of plate material that falls off, lays in the bottom of the cell (called a well) and once enough bits fall into the well they can contact the bottom of the plates.
Once contact is made, the cell is shorted and it discharges between the plates.....and over a period of time the shorted cell discharges the remaining five cells.

The other thing that shortens battery life is vibration.......like that pallet of fifty batteries got rammed into the wall by the sleeping fork lift operator......or dropped on the assembly line.....possibilities are endless.

This is why you hear of batteries only lasting a year and others lasting five or more......scmidt happens.

Hopefully your dealer will be able to isolate and resolve this one in their first try......keep in touch.

Rob
 

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Our 2012 2LT Cruze battery was stone dead after ten days sitting at the airport, had no problems removing the key, they change this for the 2012 models? Anti-thief was also totally useless, doesn't honk the horn like any one would pay attention anyway with a dead battery.

Could even question if your battery was fully charge with that decreasing the alternator output in an attempt to get 0.0001 mpg more. Would think OnStar would be off, has a fuse that measures zero volts with the ignition off.

After getting a jump start did make it home, tense driving again, learned my battery had 1.2 amps internal leakage. If it was fully charged for a 60 AH battery, was stone dead after two days anyway.

Went to my two GM dealers in town, said nothing was wrong with my battery. Both had brand new remodeled buildings they claim that GM force them to built. So drove north 14 miles to a dumpy looking Chevy dealer, they had that tester like Robby described, printed out a ticket like this one.

View attachment 168882

Very nice people, replaced it under warranty with no arguments. Also suspect problems with the battery cables themselves, crimping bare copper wire at a single point. Just went back to that 'nice" dealer Friday, gave me a new cable at no charge.

Emphasis today is on convenience, but not very convenient when you are left stranded. At times I close my door and the radio is still on, so have to open and close it again. Have that leaving on your head lamps for 30 seconds and all that other stuff turned off in my Cruze. And even watch the dome light to make sure it goes off.

I don't call this convenience.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm back from the dealer. He said they could find nothing wrong. They said they ran the parasitic test and the draw was 11 mA. They said the max allowable was 30 mA so that checks out. They also did the GR8 test. They said that checked out too. I have attached the GR8 results. They also said they tested the charging system and it was fine.
GR8.jpg
They said there was nothing else they could do because everything checks out. Naturally that is a disconcerting answer since my battery was DOA (4.5 V) last night. They said they would be glad to check it out again if it happens again. They said it would be ideal if I could bring it in while the problem is happening. How do I do that???

I'm going to park it in the garage again for 8 days and see what happens. Sigh...(I bought a new car so I don't have to deal with stuff like this.)

Thanks again everyone. I will report back in 8 days. If you have any advice for me before then, please don't hesitate.

Nick
 

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They said it would be ideal if I could bring it in while the problem is happening. How do I do that???

Nick
Interesting. They did all the right tests...sounds like a good dealer. I let my Cruze sit for 9 days this summer in the garage...when I got home the start was slightly labored but not too hard...then again it was not locked - the alarm wasn't activated. The battery in our Camaro was dead as a door nail though when it sat for 15 days locked. Expected that though.

As for bringing it in while its experiencing the problem...call GM roadside assistance next time and have them tow it in still dead.



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This is the first I heard of this. I own a Cruze. Is this a recall item? There were a few I know of but this one is the first. Chevy should just bring back and update the Beretta and Cavalier

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Hello the_nik,

Sounds like you got some great responses here. We’re very sorry to learn of the recent experience you had in your 2014 Cruze and can understand why this is quite concerning. Please keep us posted on your dealer visit and let us know if an additional layer of assistance is needed. We’re only a private message away, but be sure to include your VIN, mileage, contact information, and involved dealership if you send one.

Thanks!

Jasmine
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Did they run that parasitic test with the anti-thief on? Suppose to be a circuit in the Cruze that shuts everything down if the battery voltage gets low. But beginning to think the Cruze has to be a daily driver type of car. Either this or buy a maintenance charger if its going to sit for several days. But worthless if the car is parked at an airport.

While I have never looked into this low voltage battery cutoff and exactly what it is doing, can tell you what aircraft use, a master switch going to a very high quality solenoid type relay that completely disconnects the positive side of the battery from the rest of the aircraft. Sure not seeing anything like this in the Cruze.

Then that fuse/relay box with all those always hot contacts where the relays are energized by the ECU or the BCM, high impedance inputs where moisture can switch them on. You won't even find a real power switch in the Cruze, but don't stop here, practically all new vehicles are this way.

This is the ignition relay, suppose to have contacts rated at 45 amperes, what a joke, for the NEC have contactors with this rating that I practically need a wheel barrel to carry

View attachment 168938

Not even using a real coiled spring to open those contacts, the tension required to close them is next to zero, using a beryllium spring. Translated into English, these contacts can stick, so something will be on to discharge the battery. Coupled over with power MOSFET transistors, amazing devices as opposed to bipolars that required many predrivers. Hitting the gate with just 5V with practically zero current, can even switch more than a 100 amp load.

Translated into English, moisture can turn this things on, because they are also always hot. Always hot means, they always have 12 volts applied. Not like the older vehicles that used a real power switch to kill everything that draws currents.

Going back to the early 80's with the very reliable 10SI that had a diode trio for field current, these only needed 50 ma from the ignitions switch to turn them on. The diode trios isolated the field current from the battery, this 13 cent component had to go to meet cost restrains for the CS series, used a power MOSFET transistor that was always hot. Ha, either do it or will find other engineers that will. Not only GM but all alternators are this way today, even the Japanese and BMW's. Cheaper. Suppose to be moisture resistant, but one small pinhole can give you grief. This would put an 8 ampere load on the battery and discharge it in a hurry. Normally dead overnight.

Worse yet, erratic, so your dealer says can't find anything wrong, but you still have a problem. I really don't like how they are making vehicles today, not only the Cruze, but all of them. Starting with OBD II in 1996 all vehicles have that very valuable code store in a kind of memory where only a couple of electrons tell whether its a logical zero or one.

They do this so its easily updated in case of variations in EPA requirements. But I really question this as opposed to using the good old fashion PROM where the code is burnt in permanently. An 80 cent part that can be plugged in in a hurry. Can watch a mechanic fool around for seemingly hours to reflash the code playing around with a PC with a poor internet connection.

Feel if the American public knew what was going on, would leave these darn things in the showroom.

Do you know why they put the fuel pump inside of the gas tank? Its made so cheap, it would burn up quickly if operated in air. Need that gas for cooling, I treat a quarter full tank as an empty tank. If your fuel regulator goes low, lose that fuel recirculation that would burn up the pump quickly. Doesn't start a fire, because you also need oxygen, they are all this way.

Would only cost a few cents more to make an external pump, this is the kind of BS engineers have to put up with, don't blame them.

And at over 210 bucks, these pieces of crap pumps are not exactly cheap.



But this is if you DIY, labor to replace these things is nothing short of outrageous, tank has to be emptied and drop, can't even add a buck access plate.

Really disgusted how they are making automobiles today. With some connections could pick up a brand new car like this one for 1,800 bucks.



And every component used in the vehicle was rebuildable. Not true today, practically all the parts are throwaway and this includes the entire unibody itself. Ever since these good old days, it has been downhill. These were practically all hand made, and look at all the chrome that was replaced by dirt cheap plastic.

We the people are sure getting robbed.
 

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I actually had this problem with a "fairly" new battery dying on me. My Cruze is a newer where it just has a start button so originally we tried sticking the real key part in the hole and it wouldn't even fit in there.
 

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Normally I'd say bad battery, but to resurrect after going down to 4.5V, I have to wonder.

I thought I'd read a message from someone that said they failed to shift to park and had a dead battery. Apparently the car won't go to sleep if it's not in park.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Did they run the parasitic test with the anti-theft on?

Answer: I don't know. The paperwork just says that parasitic test was run and a draw of 11mA was measured (max 30 mA allowed). If I end up going back, I will deinately ask this question.

Re:...read a message from someone that said they failed to shift to park and had a dead battery

Answer: I don't think the key would have come out if the car wasn't in park (or neutral). I'm sure the car wasn't in neutral.

My plan at this point is to wait 8 days and then try and start it again. Fortunately I am able to let the car sit this long. It's not convenient, but necessary to restore my confidence in the vehicle. BTW, I actually own two 2014 Cruzes. I bought one for myself and liked it so much that 3 months later I bought one for my daughter.

Re: Jasmine of Chevrolet Customer Care

Jasmine, I believe my dealer is sincerely doing what he can to solve this problem. I'm quite happy with him from a sales and service perspective. I've purchased 3 Chevys from him and will continue to bring him my business. One question though: If the problem occurs again and I have it towed as my dealer suggested, will GM Road Side tow it to him (12 miles away) or will GM Road Side tow it to the nearest dealer (3 miles away)? I have no relationship with the nearer dealership.
 

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I had a very similar problem, if I left the car for a week or two parked the battery would be dead. After about 4 times the battery was bad enough that the dealer replaced it.

1. I would suggest to anyone with a car to get a jump start battery for the trunk. The lithium ones are really light and cheap now.
https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&fi...ode=qs&sourceid=Mozilla-search&tag=mozilla-20

2. For me it turned out that my usb charger was draining the battery. I had wired a 12v to 5v converter into the dome light, and even with nothing attached it must have drawn power (no issues since disconnecting the converter).

Perhaps the key does complete a circuit. Be careful with that, and if you never have this problem again then we know the answer. Otherwise, I suggest having a battery in the trunk to jump.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Perhaps the key does complete a circuit

I did not have the key in the ignition during the 8 day period that the vehicle was parked in the garage. I'm also absolutely certain there was nothing plugged into either charger outlet. My two leading theories are:

1) OnStar kicked on sometime during that period and did some sort of intense activity during that time period that drained the battery. By the time the parasitic test was performed, OnStar was idle. I do not have an OnStar subscription on that vehicle anymore (other than the basic service that is included for 5 years).

2) A couple of times over the last year I have heard what sounds like a small motor/servo sound coming from the Cruze while parked in the garage. I would hear this sound while tinkering in the garage. This sound would last maybe 3 seconds. Perhaps whatever the Cruze is doing, it's doing it too often and draining the battery?
 

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Re: Did they run the parasitic test with the anti-theft on?

Answer: I don't know. The paperwork just says that parasitic test was run and a draw of 11mA was measured (max 30 mA allowed). If I end up going back, I will deinately ask this question.

Re:...read a message from someone that said they failed to shift to park and had a dead battery

Answer: I don't think the key would have come out if the car wasn't in park (or neutral). I'm sure the car wasn't in neutral.

My plan at this point is to wait 8 days and then try and start it again. Fortunately I am able to let the car sit this long. It's not convenient, but necessary to restore my confidence in the vehicle. BTW, I actually own two 2014 Cruzes. I bought one for myself and liked it so much that 3 months later I bought one for my daughter.

Re: Jasmine of Chevrolet Customer Care

Jasmine, I believe my dealer is sincerely doing what he can to solve this problem. I'm quite happy with him from a sales and service perspective. I've purchased 3 Chevys from him and will continue to bring him my business. One question though: If the problem occurs again and I have it towed as my dealer suggested, will GM Road Side tow it to him (12 miles away) or will GM Road Side tow it to the nearest dealer (3 miles away)? I have no relationship with the nearer dealership.
Hi The_nik,

Not a problem, and if something should occur after 8 days again with your battery, feel free to keep us posted. We can certainly add any additional assistance with this, and get in touch with your dealership on your behalf. We look forward to your updates.

Patsy G
Chevrolet Customer Care
 
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