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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thread question: Why does it only happen to the wife????
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Ok... pulled the cars out into the blazing Michigan sunlight this afternoon to hand-wash off the salt slime.

Went to move my '04 back into the garage and was rewarded with that now familiar panic: " STEERING MECHANISM LOCK MALFUNCTION, YOU ARE DOOMED, PISSED, SCREWED, STRANDED AND ABOUT TO SPEND $800.00"

So I looked up the threads...

I disconnected the (-) battery and charged it up a little.. Thanks...

Problem solved, blood pressure back to normal.

Then my wife and I went for a spin to help charge up the battery... and because it was so nice out..

...and I realized that we only drive it around a bit in the winter with both seats blasting heat, plus the lights... cause it's always dark here in the Winter...and stereo...etc

Guys will generally warm up the seat and then back it off to a minimal setting. Women crank 'em and leave 'em that way... they'll even turn on the one in the passenger seat to help out... ;)

... stop and go trips, heater fan & seat cranked... there goes the battery.

Mystery solved...???
 

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I totally know what you mean on the seat heaters, brother.

I live in NC as you can see...my wife always has her seat cranked, and it nowhere near as cold here as there (I know about the cold you speak, I grew up in Sparta...she grew up in Toledo and we met while she was at GVSU).

As for the battery thing....if your alternator is working and puts out a good charge, you could run every electrical component in the car and still have Amps to spare, so that is not the issue- that the battery is not being properly charged.

How is W. Michigan these days? My folks keep complaining about the cold and lake effect snow, but they won't ever leave...and I am never going back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The battery is OEM and probably a bit soft from sitting around. The problem is short runs at max drain. Lead acid batteries need a full charge to stay healthy.

Yeah, small world! I had a business in Sparta long long ago.

GVSU is thriving. Got one of ours out there now.

GR would be an automotive ghost town if it weren't for the AMWAY and MEIJER founders. They are creating a "medical mountain" of research and treatment centers that is revitalizing the city. Downtown never looked better. We even have good food ! :cheesy:

We've commanded all the kids to move to warmer places...

But.. you know how perfect those 7 glorious weeks of summer can be...

...and how awesome the Fall and a real Winter can be here.

its that muddy stretch from March to June that tries your patience..

You picked a great area in NC !! I spend a lot of time down there and would love to to bring the 'vert down to cruise the Blue Ridge or the Outer Banks or hang out on Lake Norman...!

Ever been to Lexington BBQ????
 

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I thought that's why cars have alternators. If your battery can't even hold a charge of 12.1 volts then it is time to replace. The only time I had problems like these was when my battery needed replaced. Turning on multiple features at the same time shouldn't drain the battery if you are driving because the fact that you have an alternator so I have to say mystery not solved.
 

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Never been, but people talk about it. Taking some leave in May, en route to my next assignment (still here in NC), and we are headed west toward the Blue Ridge, will look up the joint and stop in for a plate. Mmmm, now to figure out whose car we're going to take- probably mine since the VTune will be done and it will scream its way to the west!!!!

As for the battery, I bet it is getting old. The alternator should have no trouble recharging the battery and powering the electrical systems. If the alternator were bad...well you'd know it driving down the road; but the battery it can be a slow thing. Doubt you've got a short, though it is possible. My guess goes to the battery.
 

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MY battery is still new. Only use the heated seats until car is warm. Still get the warning on and off.
 

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I agree with your theory - yes, in principle the alternator would keep up with any electrical demand, but there is only a finite amount of current available. It seems to me that unless the alternator is far bigger than it needs to be that if more energy goes to heat the seats and run the blower, then less is available for the battery.

Sure, on a longer drive it'll recharge the battery just fine, but as you noted, her trips are shorter. Add to that the fact that it's cold and the battery is probably getting older it makes sense to me :D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
This was the original thread back in 06 from roddemp:

I should've used it in the original post.

"Apparently, the steering wheel lock malfunction issue is pretty common based on the number of threads on the issue. However, my problem is a little different. It only happens when my wife drives the car (03 Linear), never me. (She, of course, says I do something to the car hoping that it would deter her from wanting to drive it. ) Seriously, this only happens when she drives. We've switched keys and it still happens. Could there be something about the way she uses the key or starts the car that would account for this?"

Which prompted some head scratching and the "Ah HA!" moment....:eek:


I'm also wondering if the steering wheel lock mechanism has a glitch. I do remember that I shut the car off before putting it in park and it rolled just a bit. Might have gotten things out of sequence. So in my case it could have been charging the battery or the reseting the computer/steering lock by disconnecting the battery that solved the problem. In any case, It was great to be able to find the right advise and fix it.

********************** NC:

I thought Tuscaloosa,AL had the best BBQ outside of "Texas parking lot brisket" until finding Lexington BBQ (Just off the Lexington, NC ramp)... It's all slow cooked and smoked over hickory coals. Not touched by anything, including sauce until it hits the plate.. Don't miss out ;) The cole slaw is unique and really tasty. Top it off with the warm peach cobbler ala mode!
 
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