Car Guides

Why am I getting a ‘battery discharge’ warning on my car’s dashboard?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader concerned about a dashboard warning.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona. Hyundai

Q. My 2020 Hyundai Kona will display a “battery discharge” warning on the dash. I have taken the car to the dealer on multiple occasions, and they can’t find anything wrong. The car only has 4,500 miles on it. I didn’t expect these kinds of problems with a new car. What can I do?

A. This warning will come on when the battery is discharging. Typically, this will happen if you are sitting in the car with the radio on (accessory or key-on) with the engine not running. It is Hyundai’s method of warning the driver that continuing to do this could cause the battery to go dead. The other possible issue is the battery is not being fully recharged. This is possible since you’ve only driven 4,500 miles in a year. At this point I would want the battery to be slowly recharged and then tested. At the same time the car should be checked for a parasitic drain. Some Kona models had an issue with the rear hatch not fully closing, which kept the courtesy lights on. 

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Q. I own a 2007 Shelby GT500. I bought it new, and it has only 11,000 miles on it. When I was in Florida my battery maintainer failed and the battery went dead. I put in a new battery and now my Shaker 500 CD player keeps cycling. I cannot get the CD out. It keeps cycling even when the radio is shut off and the key is out of the ignition. Have you heard of this or know of a remedy?

A. This seems to be a fairly common problem with this audio system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like an easy or quick fix. You certainly could try completely disconnecting the radio and repowering it to see if that resets the control unit. Although it might discharge the CD, the unit may still cycle as if there is a CD it’s trying to eject. At this point you will need to send the unit out for repair or upgrade to an aftermarket unit. 

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Q. My cargo van has a removable seat, and I think my kids were playing in the van and put a handful of pennies in the space where the seat locks to the floor. Every time I stop, I hear the pennies sliding. Since they are pennies, I can’t use a magnet to get them out. Any idea how I can quiet the noise? 

A. Years ago, I saw a similar problem and it was fixed by squirting grease in the channel where the seat locks in. The grease only worked until it got warm and it started to “melt” and then the noise came back. The other issue is grease has an odor. If this were my vehicle, I would first try fishing the pennies out with a wire attached to something sticky. If that didn’t work, I would try spraying the area with expanding foam. The foam should glue the pennies in place and stop the noise. 

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Q. Are you familiar with Shine Armor products?  Do they work as well as they claim, especially the scratch remover?

A. I am not familiar with the Shine Armor line of products. When it comes to scratch remover, the test for a scratch is if you can catch your fingernail on the paint, you won’t make the scratch disappear. You may minimize its appearance, but the paint is damaged and can only be repaired with touchup paint. There are many spray-on detailing products. I have tried a few and found most of the “hybrid ceramic” sprays to be similar. Some will smell better; others have better spray bottles but in my very unscientific testing the end result appears about the same. 

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Q. What is your opinion of the latest Honda Ridgeline truck? 

A. The Honda Ridgeline is in my opinion the best compact/midsized pickup truck sold today. The engine is powerful and performs well. The cargo bed is useful, and the lockable hidden trunk is very handy. The interior is comfortable with plenty of room for four adults. My only critiques are the lack of a radio tuning knob, and the push button shifter, which I’m not wild about. 

Q. Before Covid, you came out to our senior center and did a talk about car care. It was quite informative. With all the interest in electric cars these days, could you do a talk about hybrids and other electric vehicles? Perhaps you can do the talk virtually from home.

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A. Certainly, virtual presentations are the new normal these days, and I would be happy to host a talk about hybrids, plugin hybrids, and electric vehicles. Readers, if you would like to have me at your event virtually just send me an email: [email protected]

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your car question to [email protected] Listen to Car Doctor on the radio at 10 a.m. every Saturday on 104.9 FM or online at northshore1049.com.

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