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Nissan stands out as one of the more reliable manufacturers on the market, and although Versa is their smallest and cheapest offering, the subcompact typically justifies that reputation. However, the mini car still has its fair share of issues, and Nissan Versa battery problems tend to be among the most common.
There are a few possible battery problem scenarios, but the most common is the battery’s age. As with pretty much everything else, a car battery also has its expiration date. Furthermore, even newer batteries are known to fail prematurely. Other Nissan Versa battery-related issues include a faulty alternator, parasitic drain, corroded terminals, and faulty cables to name a few.
While the simplest solution if your Nissan Versa isn’t starting is to replace the old car battery, that might not necessarily fix the problem. That’s why it’s important to identify the problem so it doesn’t reoccur. This article will shed some light on the most common battery problems faced by Nissan Versa.
Different Types of Nissan Versa Battery Problems
A draining car battery can be frustrating, and identifying the cause can be tricky. Assuming the cause of the problem isn’t a human error, it’s typically related directly to either the battery or the alternator.
There are two scenarios in which the Nissan Versa battery can drain:
- draining while the car is driving
- draining while the car is turned off.
Pinpointing the problem more accurately is easier if you’re aware of the type of battery drain.
Battery Draining While The Car Is Driving
If your Nissan Versa battery is draining while the vehicle is in motion, the problem is almost exclusively related to the alternator. A failing alternator will have trouble producing the necessary power to recharge the battery, which will slowly drain it even though the vehicle is running. Whining noise is a usual tell-tale sign that the issue indeed lies in the alternator.
Loose alternator belt
A car alternator doesn’t only serve the purpose of charging the car battery but also powers certain systems like lights, power windows, power steering, air-conditioning, etc. Needless to say, a loose belt will diminish the alternator’s ability to produce enough power, which, in turn, will cause the battery to drain. You’ll recognize the slipping alternator belt by a whining, high-pitched noise it creates upon startup, especially when it’s cold outside. If that’s the case with your Nissan Versa, it’s high time to have the alternator belt checked.
Faulty alternator diode
A diode allows the electricity to travel one way only – from the alternator to the car battery. However, a faulty diode will also allow reverse current travel, creating a battery drain. A bad alternator diode will typically affect your car’s headlights or instrument panel. They’ll begin to flicker and dim due to inadequate power supply. Furthermore, a faulty diode may cause an overnight battery drain, even while your car is parked and turned off.
Corroded battery connections or cables
If you spot corrosion on your battery terminals, that’s an indicator of either a battery overcharge or undercharge. Corrosion on the positive terminal means the former, while a corroded negative terminal means the latter. In both instances, the corrosion will lead to the battery’s deterioration if left unchecked. Cleaning corroded terminals using a steel wire is an easy process. However, replacing corroded cables is somewhat more complex.
Excessive short drives
An unlikely scenario where a vehicle takes too many short drives can also deplete the battery. The car draws the most power from the battery upon starting, and shutting it off before the alternator gets a chance to recharge the battery will lead to premature draining.
Extreme temperatures will have a detrimental effect on a car battery regardless of which end of the spectrum we’re talking about. Whether it’s too hot or too cold, a battery can develop a lead sulfate buildup that will damage its long-term life and prolong the charging time.
Battery Draining While The Car Is Turned Off
A car battery can also drain while the vehicle is parked, whether over a short or prolonged period of time. In such an instance, the problem can still lie in a faulty alternator, but a more likely culprit is the battery itself. An old or damaged battery won’t be as effective as a new healthy unit. There’s also a possibility of a parasitic battery draw. If your Nissan Versa is having such difficulties, here’s a list of possible culprits.
Loose battery cables
Loose battery cables won’t be able to transfer electrical current efficiently, leading to problems upon the car’s startup. Luckily, they’re easy to check and tighten.
An old or faulty battery
A car battery’s biggest nemesis is age itself. An old battery simply won’t be able to hold a charge as long as a new one and after three or four years of use, it’s typically time to replace it. It can also get damaged over time, resulting in similar symptoms. Since the car batteries are typically inexpensive, it’s best to simply replace a damaged unit rather than trying to repair it.
A parasitic battery draw is a continuous drain of the battery’s charge even after the vehicle has been turned off. It can be one of the most annoying Nissan Versa battery problems because a number of things can cause it, making it hard to identify at times. Newer car models such as the Nissan Versa exhibit a constant parasitic draw for keeping the radio presets, clock, and other similar settings. However, this is all within the intended margins and won’t affect the battery.
If your battery drains overnight or after a prolonged period of parking, then there’s a more serious parasitic draw at play. Even a human error such as forgetting to turn off the overhead light, for instance, is considered a parasitic draw. However, sometimes the battery drain can be tricky to identify no matter how hard you look.
The easiest way to identify the parasitic battery drain is to let a qualified mechanic take a look. If you’re a DIY type of person, however, you’ll need a multimeter capable of providing Amp (DC) reading and needle-nose pliers or fuse-pullers.
Disconnect the negative battery cable and set up your multimeter for Amps readout and DC (direct current). Place one of the multimeter’s wire leads on the negative battery terminal and another on the disconnected battery cable. A typical modern-day vehicle will have a regular parasitic draw of up to 50 milliamps, although some luxury vehicles draw even more current. If the multimeter reading shows a higher figure (typically in single-digit amps), then your Nissan Versa has a parasitic draw.
Now it’s time to identify the culprit and the only way to do so is to test each of the fuses. The Nissan Versa has a fuse box under the hood and on the driver’s side of the dashboard, but you can always consult the car’s manual if you can’t find them. Start pulling out the fuses one by one while keeping your eyes on the multimeter readout. An extra set of eyes would be helpful here – especially while you’re working on the interior fusebox. Once the reading drops to optimal levels, you’ll have successfully identified the problem. It’s either a faulty fuse or a system connected to it that needs replacing.
Every car model, no matter how reliable, can exhibit battery problems sooner or later, and Nissan Versa is no exception. There are a number of different possibilities ranging from a simple human error or aged battery to more vicious parasitic draws. Identifying them can be tricky, and doing so is better left to a qualified mechanic. In the best-case scenario, it’s a faulty fuse or battery. In the worst-case scenario, on the other hand, the problem can be one of the numerous electrical system components.
How Long Does a Nissan Versa Battery Last?
The Nissan Versa battery is no different than any other vehicle’s battery on the market. With that in mind, its typical life expectancy is between three and five years. However, poor maintenance, exposure to extreme temperatures, and even the general state of the car’s electrical system can shorten its lifespan.
What Kind of Battery Does a Nissan Versa Have?
The type of battery a Nissan Versa has depends on its owner’s choice. Genuine Nissan OEM batteries are often discontinued or rarely available, which is why it’s easier to go with one of the numerous available corresponding options on the market.
What Causes a Nissan Versa Battery Drain
Provided it’s not a human error, the typical cause of a battery power drain is either a faulty battery itself or a parasitic draw. The former is easily rectifiable by replacing the battery, while the latter’s troubleshooting has been explained in the article. A faulty alternator can also cause a power drain.