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Beth 1/25/2020

2005 Honda Element EX 4 Cyl 2.40L


battery drain when car is sitting off

I just replaced the serpentine belt, alternator, and battery. replaced everything on a Tuesday, ran fine on Wednesday all day, Thursday ran fine in morning then after work in evening the battery was completely dead. got a jump start and it ran fine to get me home, battery light came on briefly along with airbag light but went off shortly after. have checked battery with meter and it reads at 14 when its running, alternator is fine and belt is not too loose or too tight, fuses test as good, connectors are good as well. I turn everything off including the radio and the heater, unplug the phone chargers and all that when i turn the car off. And when I turn it back on after its been off for hours the battery is completely dead. The old battery charged and tested fine when out of the car so we switched the batteries back out. but the battery light and airbag light are still coming on. What else should we be looking for? Going back out in a few hours to see if it turns on again.

2 Answers


Jimm 1/25/2020

Several possibilities; faulty / worn belt tensioner, faulty / corroded battery cables, faulty corroded battery terminals, short in the electrical system or wiring.

First step - check if any lights, residual circuits are 'on' with the key off and out of the ignition.

Check the parasitic draw with a volt-ohm meter across the battery terminals and pull (remove) the fuses one by one, from the fuse panel to isolate to a specific circuit.

BTW - when the drive belt is replaced, always replace the belt tensioner at the same time - due to mileage and wear considerations.

Try these various on-line parts vendors; www.autopartsanything.com, www.rockauto.com, www.partsgeek.com - to list only a few.

In fact, they (RockAuto) list the drive belt tensioner from around $25.00 for your vehicle.

Belt tensioner = GATES part #38278 - or it's equivalent


Teddy B 1/25/2020

If you had no Current Drain or Dead Battery before you replaced the Alternator,then
maybe the replaced one is no good,it happens alot,you can go thru 3 to get a good one.

You have to do a Current Draw Test as mentioned by Jimm , to find the circuit with the problem. I would start with the replaced alternator first or unplug it & remove the wire
to the Battery & see if you still have a drained battery.

The Parasitic Drain Testing is explained on the internet &
You Tube Videos.


Beth 1/26/2020

Thank you, would you perhaps know if the fuse box under the hood is supposed to be hot, or light up on both sides of the battery fuse when the engine is off and key is in hand? was told that on some newer cars that is normal but would like to know for this one.

Teddy B

Teddy B 1/26/2020

Any Fuse or Distribution Box, should Not have any wires hotter than the under hood temp,
when your using or driving the vehicle.

If it is just sitting cold in the driveway & anything is hot,then you know you have a lot of
current flow,you should not have.

When a vehicle is turned off & the key removed,all or most circuits go to sleep with a 15 to 30

Unless your told in person & shown in person, by a professional or someone that can explain
a vehicle issue to you & prove it to you,then it's speculation or lack of knowledge.

My guess (only) is that the new (rebuilt I would assume) alternator is no good & is draining the
battery thus the warm,not hot battery fuse & surrounding wiring.

You should have no more than approx 20 to 40 Milli Amps Current Drain, when a vehicles systems
are cold & shut down (timed out or asleep)

There is nothing that lights up near a fuse,the fuse just plugs into terminals in it's designated
location withing the fuse or distribution box.

Teddy B

Beth 1/26/2020

I am sorry I didn't explain clearly enough. I don't mean hot as in temperature or light up as in a visible light. What I meant was when the OHM meter probes (the red and black cabled pieces) were placed on the fuses they registered on the meter (this was while the vehicle was off and not using the probes on either terminal of the battery). We have since done a drain test and while there is a drain it isn't caused by any of the fuses.

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