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john -aka eauto, The Car Guy
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Experience:  ase tech over 15 years in the field
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2001 ford focus: charged battery..the next time we..wont start

Resolved Question:

2001 ford focus - would not start. charged battery overnight - it started but was dead again the next time we tried (8 hrs later). Bought a new battery and installed - still won't start. Help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  john -aka eauto replied 3 years ago.
most likely has a parasitic draw

 

A car battery is used to store electrical power in reserve to be used when the car engine is started. Several conditions can occur that will cause a battery to lose its charge overnight. There are several "live" electrical circuits that can draw electrical power from the battery when the key is in the off position

  • As a battery ages it loses its ability to hold a charge, as a rule of thumb a battery will last about three to four years. If the battery is fairly new you will need to start the engine by jump starting or charging the battery using a battery charger. Once the engine is running test the alternator in the charging system. If the alternator fails, replace it with a new or rebuilt unit and re-test system, if the alternator tests ok proceed to the next step.
  • This first test is simple but you would be surprised at how many people simply leave their headlights on overnight. If the battery is dead check the headlight control switch. If the switch is in the on position turn the switch off and jump start or charge the battery. The battery should re-gain its state of charge after about 15 minutes of driving and your problem will solved. If headlight switch is off proceed to next step.
    mechanism fails it can leave the interior light on draining the battery. If this is the case the interior light delay sentinel or Body Control Module will need to be replaced. If all tests ok proceed to next step.

  • Inspect the car stereo tape deck or CD player, sometimes a tape or CD will get stuck in the player either loading or ejecting causing the motor inside the tape deck to stop. This small motor can draw enough electrical power to drain the battery overnight. If a tape or CD is stuck in the player try using a small flat bladed screwdriver or small tweezers to remove the culprit. If the stuck tape or CD will not come out. Remove the player and disconnect the unit. Once the unit has been removed either replace the player or send it to a stereo repair shop and reinstall when repaired. If player tests ok proceed to next step.

  • Inspect the glove box illumination light, in most cases this light is controlled by a small pin switch. If this switch malfunctions or is misaligned it will allow the glove box light to stay on draining the battery down overnight. To check for this condition look for the light inside the glove box through the small cracks in the glove box door. If this light is illuminated when the glove box door is shut replace or readjust the switch to operate properly and recheck light operation. If it tests ok proceed to next step.
  • Inspect the car stereo tape deck or CD player, sometimes a tape or CD will get stuck in the player either loading or ejecting causing the motor inside the tape deck to stop. This small motor can draw enough electrical power to drain the battery overnight. If a tape or CD is stuck in the player try using a small flat bladed screwdriver or small tweezers to remove the culprit. If the stuck tape or CD will not come out. Remove the player and disconnect the unit. Once the unit has been removed either replace the player or send it to a stereo repair shop and reinstall when repaired. If player tests ok proceed to next step.

  • Inspect the glove box illumination light, in most cases this light is controlled by a small pin switch. If this switch malfunctions or is misaligned it will allow the glove box light to stay on draining the battery down overnight. To check for this condition look for the light inside the glove box through the small cracks in the glove box door. If this light is illuminated when the glove box door is shut replace or readjust the switch to operate properly and recheck light operation. If it tests ok proceed to next step.
  • Inspect the trunk illumination light, in most cases this light is controlled by a small pin or a mercury level switch. To test the trunk light operation observe the light as you close the trunk lid, the light should go off when the trunk lid is nearly shut. If the light doesn't go off replace or readjust the switch and recheck operation. If it tests ok proceed to next step.
  • Inspect the hood (covers the engine) illumination light, in most cases this light is controlled by a small pin or a mercury level switch. To test the hood light operation observe the light as you close the hood, the light should go off when the hood is nearly shut. If the light doesn't go off replace or readjust the switch and recheck operation. If it tests ok proceed to next step.
    debris that can cause an electrical draw like a penny or a gum wrapper. Anything that can cause an electrical draw will drain the battery power. If debris is found remove it with a small pair of tweezers. (Note: sometimes when inserting tweezers or removing debris from the cigarette lighter a fuse can blow, if so replace the fuse with new after the debris has been removed) If the lighter is ok proceed to next step.

  • Inspect the electric seat control switch, this switch can become sticky or weak allowing the switch to stay engaged forcing the seat motor to draw power from the battery until dead. To check for this condition observe the operation of the seat control switch if it does not return the neutral position or is sticking in one position replace the switch with new and recheck.
  • If no other electrical accessory is causing the battery to drain overnight a manual draw check of the electrical system will need to be performed. What this means is you will be checking the electrical draw the battery has on it when the car is locked up, with the key in the "off" position". First open the hood and disable the under hood illumination light, if equipped. Next, with the key off and the doors locked wait 15 minutes, then disconnect the battery cable on the negative side. (The 15 minute wait allows the computers to go into "sleep mode" and shuts down all electrical). Attach a test light between the negative battery cable end and the negative battery terminal. The test light should illuminate dimly or not at all. If the test light is on brightly there is a strong electrical draw in the system. To locate this electrical draw start removing fuses one at a time. When the test light goes out the circuit in question has been located. You will need a car repair manual to identify all accessories in a particular circuit, repair as needed and re-check system
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