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Vue Died While Driving on Highway

madisonvixmadisonvix Posts: 4
edited January 2016 in Saturn
Hi - My 2007 Saturn Vue Hybrid died on Sunday while driving down the highway. The car has 101,500 miles and a brand new (November) battery. It was -5 degrees out at the time. Different engine lights started coming on, one at a time (the check engine light, the traction control light, the oil change light, then the seatbelt light) and then all of a sudden the entire dashboard went dark and the driving lights went out (it was close to sunset so we had the lights on). My fiance barely managed to steer the car over to the shoulder before it completely died. The hazard lights wouldn't even worked. My mechanic got it jump started yesterday and was able to drive it and said no engine lights are on, and everything looks fine. He does not think it was the alternator. Any thoughts on what this could be?

Comments

  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited January 2016
    When a car is running at highway speeds, dead battery hardly will put out all the running lights . It is the alternator fault I think which stopped producing all the current. A battery going dead at highway speed is a sign of alternator failure. It could be jump started so no mechanical fault.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,998
    I think carboy is right. Charging system failure, loss of voltage to all sensors would just light up the dashboard.

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  • Talked to my mechanic again who just finished driving the car again, including on the highway, and it's fine. He says the alternator passes all tests; that something in the charging system completely died but he really doesn't think it's the alternator and he's reluctant to give me an expensive "fix" like a new alternator if not really needed. Any other thoughts? I don't see anything online about problems with the Hybrid Vue's charging system that would've caused this.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760

    Talked to my mechanic again who just finished driving the car again, including on the highway, and it's fine. He says the alternator passes all tests; that something in the charging system completely died but he really doesn't think it's the alternator and he's reluctant to give me an expensive "fix" like a new alternator if not really needed. Any other thoughts? I don't see anything online about problems with the Hybrid Vue's charging system that would've caused this.

    Take it to a dealership. For second opinion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,998
    Well you either have to pay someone to dig further into it, or wait for the next failure. Since you weren't hallucinating, there's something definitely wrong.

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  • Yeah, thanks.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,629
    Your Saturn hybrid is a pretty rare model and very few people are going to have any experience with it. What you described is a loss or depletion of the 12v system which is created by the DC/DC convertor that also controls the belt driven hybrid alternator/starter assembly. With the 12v system going completely dead, that also erased any codes that had set prior to it dying.

    The problem of course is likely to occur again, the things to pay attention to would be the 12v output cable connections from the DC/DC convertor to the 12v power distribution center. The connections between the hybrid controller and the alternator/starter assembly. If none of those show signs of overheating then the diagnostics will hinge on getting the failure to occur again. That often requires re-creating the operating conditions that the problem occurred under. Try and identify details such as how long and/or how far the car was driven when the first symptoms were observed. How far was the car able to be driven before it died completely?What accessories were being used? What were the weather conditions?

    This is a low voltage hybrid system (42v) but that's still more than enough potential that it has to be respected and only technicians with hybrid training should be attempting diagnostics and repairs.
  • Thanks for those additional thoughts. My mechanic has a lot of experience with hybrids, and I've also consulted a specialized hybrid mechanic in town who was also stumped. It would be hard to recreate the exact conditions since it was minus 6 degrees that day. I have noticed since then that the car seems sluggish when accelerating and seems to rely more on the "assist" than the "charge."

    I was using a new iphone car charger (plugs into lighter) and audio aux cable that day...both were pretty cheap versions...is it possible that they were lousy and somehow drained the system? That's the only variable that was really different that day, other than the extreme cold.
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