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My 2012 Town and Country was parked in the garage for 2 weeks. All electronics were working when I tired to start it, but the van would just click when I tried to start it. It also showed a lightning bolt in between parenthesis and the check engine light. I thought I would be smart, so I got a OBD, but when I hooked it up it showed no error codes. So I tried to start it again and again just clicking and lightning bolts. I decided that maybe I did just need a jump, because there were no errors, but the jump was not successful. I disconnected the cables, tried to start it again, and now it seems like the battery got drained and now everything is just completely dead. I put my fab in the slot and tried to crank it, now the key fab is stuck plus no power and I can't change gears to neutral to push it into the driveway to get a tow... Any help would be appreciated!
 

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Welcome.

Your battery is dead.

Either charge or replace your battery and your vehicle should start. KFOB stuck due to battery voltage being low.

That lighting bolt means something wrong with your charging system.
 

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When a battery is weak or lost its charge enough, it won't have enough power to engage the starter, hence the clicking of the starter solenoid you are hearing. Lights, etc, will still work because they require less power.

Sometimes jumper cables are faulty and sometimes they just don't work. Hooking a charger to the battery for about 4 hours, maybe more, will likely give it enough to start. I have a Schumacher SCF-200A charger, not expensive, under $50.00, which does the job very well and has had very weak batteries charged up enough to start the engines in about 4 hours.

Walmart should have something similar.
 

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The lightning bolt symbol can actually appear for a number of reasons. If something on the engine is unplugged it will often appear, at least on my van. Generally, if your battery is really dead and not just discharged, a jump start will not work, at least not with anything short of a professional-grade booster. The dead battery acts like a current sink and saps the voltage of whatever you're using.
 

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Firstly, a check engine light will stay on permanently until the engine is started. Meaning if you were to turn the key to the "on" position without starting the engine, the check engine light will be on (because the system expects the engine to run and it isn't, hence the check engine light). And no, no codes will appear in this case. If you stall a manual vehicle the check engine light will also come on, until the engine is started then it will turn off once the engine is running again. (assuming no other errors are active)

The lightning bolt in brackets is normal when the engine isn't running. When I turn my key to the on position without starting it, it takes it about 10-30 seconds to turn off. This will go away the moment the engine is started (assuming there isn't an issue with the system)

I suggest charging the battery, 2 nuts secure it to the vehicle wiring, loosen those and pull out the battery. You can take it to a local shop and have them charge it and test it to see how much life is left in the battery itself if you do not have a charger yourself. They should be able to charge the battery for free, and most shops offer the battery test for free as well. If needed, get a new battery and all should be fine.

You can also push the vehicle outside (key in "ON" position, foot on brake, shift it to the neutral position which will be one click above drive) and release the park brake and push. Then if you have jump leads you can start the van right away, if you do go for a 30 minute to one hour drive to charge the battery, and go to a shop to have the battery life tested.

The key fob should not be stuck in the ignition. The only reason it will be stuck in the ignition is if the vehicle is not in Park. Otherwise, it should always pull out, no matter what. Turn the key to the accessory position or start position, then turn it back to "off" like normal, then pull it out. Try a bit more pressure, don't worry you won't break this key. Also, check the shift lever is in park. Turn ignition to "on", foot on the brake, and move the shift lever to the park position. (if you have 08-10 year van then you must push the silver button on the lever to move it up).
The only other reasons the key would be stuck is, if the shifter line has moved out of it's support bracket (and cannot go into park) or the shift lever wiring itself has failed/shorted and the lever cannot sense if it is in park or not.
 

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The weird lightning bolt icon is for electric throttle errors, it comes on at key on and goes away after a self diagnostic. If it stays on that indicates a ETC problem. The battery icon is just a square with + and - symbol on it if I remember right.
 

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The weird lightning bolt icon is for electric throttle errors, it comes on at key on and goes away after a self diagnostic. If it stays on that indicates a ETC problem. The battery icon is just a square with + and - symbol on it if I remember right.
The weird lightning bolt icon is for electric throttle errors, it comes on at key on and goes away after a self diagnostic. If it stays on that indicates a ETC problem. The battery icon is just a square with + and - symbol on it if I remember right.
You are correct, but I've seen that symbol came on when battery is very low and you try to start the vehicle.

Battery symbol comes on when you have charging problems.

Charging/replacing the battery should fix it.
 

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The weird lightning bolt icon is for electric throttle errors, it comes on at key on and goes away after a self diagnostic. If it stays on that indicates a ETC problem. The battery icon is just a square with + and - symbol on it if I remember right.
If you unplug the map sensor, the lightning bolt icon will be on, apparently it's part of the same circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok - you guys rule. I charged the battery overnight and it started right up! Seems simple, but sometimes even the simple things can be hard to figure out especially when you start reading some of the complicated things it could be. Thanks again!
 

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How old is the battery?
 

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You were pretty hard on your old battery, not keeping it maintained as to charge, and then beating the heck out of it trying to get it to turn the starter. A few hours on a charger would likely have brought it back to life for another couple years, if maintained with 10 - 15 minute drives every couple of weeks or on a maintenance charger.

Now, what are your plans to maintain your new battery? Starting the engine and letting it run for 5 minutes, doesn't do it, because starting the engine takes a lot of juice, right off the bat.

My recommendation is a $40.00 to $50.00 maintenance charger similar to the one I referenced in Post #3, which does the following (from the information provided):
NOTE: The charger automatically switches between Charge Mode and Maintain Mode as necessary. The CHARGED (green) LED will cycle on when the battery is at full charge and off when the voltage drops below a preset level and the charger goes into Charge Mode. This cycle will continue, and the CHARGED (green) LED will stay on for longer periods of time as the battery becomes more fully charged.

Desulfation Mode
If the battery is left discharged for an extended period of time, it could become sulfated and not accept a normal charge. If the charger detects a sulfated battery, the charger will switch to a special mode of operation designed for such batteries. If successful, normal charging will resume after the battery is desulfated. Desulfation could take up hours. If desulfation fails, charging will abort and the CHECK BATTERY
(red) LED will blink.

Aborted Charge
If charging can not be completed normally, charging will abort. When aborts, the charger’s output is shut off, and the CHECK BATTERY
(red) LED will blink. To reset after an aborted charge, either disconnect the battery or unplug the charger.

13.CALCULATING charge times
This charger adjusts the charging time in order to charge the battery completely, efficiently and safely.
This battery charger has a rated output of 2 and 4 amperes. This output will vary with the age and condition of the battery being charged. If the battery has only been slightly discharged, it can be charged in less than a few hours. The same battery will take longer to charge if it is very weak.
There are also solar powered battery maintainers available.

PS: A multi-meter, or voltmeter, comes in handy for checking battery voltages.
Fully charged automotive batteries should measure at 12.6 volts or above. When the engine is running, this measurement should be 13.7 to 14.7 volts.
58260
 

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I have that problem with my older vehicles. I don't drive them much, and now with our state's stay at home order, I've not been able to drive my 2013 Town & Country. My bus has a charger plugged in to an outlet in my carport. My Ford and my Dodge both have solar battery chargers plugged in to them, and that's doing the trick. I'm having to start the Town and Country every week or so and letting it run for fifteen minutes or so.

I know from experience that without maintaining battery charge, my batteries weren't lasting more than a couple of years.
 

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I have that problem with my older vehicles. I don't drive them much, and now with our state's stay at home order, I've not been able to drive my 2013 Town & Country. My bus has a charger plugged in to an outlet in my carport. My Ford and my Dodge both have solar battery chargers plugged in to them, and that's doing the trick. I'm having to start the Town and Country every week or so and letting it run for fifteen minutes or so.

I know from experience that without maintaining battery charge, my batteries weren't lasting more than a couple of years.
Batteries need to be taken care of, they make battery storage trickle chargers, that every few days cycles and uses power as if "to start the vehicle" then it recharges the battery to full. It's meant to help batteries last a long time.

Another thing to consider, is battery storage and use. If you use your battery when it's really cold, that weakens the batteries a lot (compared to spring) this is why batteries tend to die in the winter because they are weaker when it's cold.

Another thing to note, is for storage, make sure the battery is fully charged. If it's not, that will also reduce the batteries life.
 

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All true statements.

I have a riding mower and a generator, both electric start. I run them regularly to keep the batteries charged.

I'm planning on adding a solar charer to the generator this summer.
 

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Firstly, a check engine light will stay on permanently until the engine is started. Meaning if you were to turn the key to the "on" position without starting the engine, the check engine light will be on (because the system expects the engine to run and it isn't, hence the check engine light). And no, no codes will appear in this case. If you stall a manual vehicle the check engine light will also come on, until the engine is started then it will turn off once the engine is running again. (assuming no other errors are active)

The lightning bolt in brackets is normal when the engine isn't running. When I turn my key to the on position without starting it, it takes it about 10-30 seconds to turn off. This will go away the moment the engine is started (assuming there isn't an issue with the system)
Man... I had to sign up just to thankyou for this piece of gold. I had a permanent low voltage error that I (hopefully) just got rid of by changing out my battery.

Searched everywhere for the normal start up procedure for these cars on YouTube and elsewhere. I was furious that the damn MIL and lighting bolt symbol were still present with the car in the “run” position but engine not started.

My car does exactly what you describe with the exception that after my lightning bolt symbol goes out, my MIL blinks for a few seconds then goes solid. I’m really hoping the issue is fixed now.

thanks again
 

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Pardon this "Johnny come lately" addition but I've been reading a thread or two about batteries.
There's a lot to know. I'll just point out two things very briefly.
1) No charging system will restore a battery to "100% Full Charge". I read throwing a charger onto any battery to bring it closer to full charge is advisable as it enables the alternator to put out all it can.

With driving time greatly diminished, I now put my old charger on each of the family's vehicles every 2 months. The youngest battery of the three is a 1 year old Walmart middle grade. The other two are >4 year old OE. All 3 are flooded lead acid batteries.

2) I learned that some (many?) AGM batteries will react badly to overcharging. While I'm not entirely certain, I do believe an 8-10 hour home charge can often be just fine but clipping on an unintelligent charger and walking away for days can kill AGM batteries. I mention this because many people buy AGM batteries and might not know the differences.
 
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