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Pete, Saturn Mechanic
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 29116
Experience:  17 years Saturn Technician experience.
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Battery keeps Draining. no explanation. Battery tested good

Customer Question

Battery keeps Draining. no explanation. Battery tested good last night. this morning after 2 nd start, it's struggling to start. no lights left on. what else should i check.
JA: Just to clarify, what are the exact lights you're talking about?
Customer: no dome lights or car lights left on. why does my car battery keep draining. (2008 Saturn Outlook)
JA: What year is your Outlook?
Customer: 2008 Saturn Outlook
JA: Are you fixing your Outlook yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I took it to check battery. I don't want to get the run around buying an alternator and starter if its not those two things. How do i Really know if my battery needs to be replaced. It was tested as a good battery last night.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: its' sporadic no starts. Didn't start last night. It did this morning. then next time it's struggling.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Pete replied 11 months ago.

Hi my name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist with this today.In some cases I may need more info to assist better.I apologize for any delay.

Do you have a multi meter that reads milliamp or amperage at all?

Let me know so we can continue,thanks Pete.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No. I took my car last night to check the battery itself at Autozone. the technician tested it with his equipment and told me my battery is good. My car started right up this morning at 6:30 am, but at 7;00 am, it struggled. I drove to work and noticed the battery indicator was lower (ranges from 8-18) it was getting closer to 12 and 13. something is draining my power.
Expert:  Pete replied 11 months ago.

O.k.,what needs to be done from here is to have a battery drain/draw test done.This is done with a multi meter connected in line with the battery positive or negative cable.This will help determine if a component is draining the battery as well as how large the drain is and will help in locating the source of the drain.Below is the procedure I follow for this here:

what needs done is to leave the key out of the vehicle with the windows rolled up and make sure everything is off with access to the battery.

Set the meter to amperage or milliamp and disconnect the negative cable from the battery.Put the leads in the multi meter the correct way (negative in negative and positive in the amperage or milliamp slot if equipped).

Connect one cable from the meter to the ground cable that was connected to the battery and the other lead to the ground terminal on the battery,this way the current is flowing through the multi meter.

After around 5 to 10 minutes see what the meter reads for a amperage draw.Normally you want to see less then 50 milliamp or less then .05 amp.

If you see over this amount of a battery draw/drain then your vehicle has an electrical component draining the battery.

From here you would remove one fuse at a time with the meter still in place and observe the reading on the meter until you come across one fuse that allows the draw to read below the 50 milliamp.This is the fuse or circuit that has the component on it that is drawing down the battery.Make sure when you remove one fuse if it is not the issue reinstall it and move to the next waiting a minute between each fuse removed to get an accurate reading.

Once you find the fuse or circuit its on then you would look on a wiring diagram to see what that fuse powers and unplug each of those components one at a time until you locate the component causing the draw then this component would need replaced.

If this test is done and found there is no drain on the battery then I would have the alternator tested.A local parts store can test the alternator at no charge to you if you can drive the vehicle to them to test it.

If more help is needed, use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If no further assistance is needed, kindly rate my service,your 5 star rating is appreciated.You can rate at any time and we can continue to work on your question as this will not close out your question.Keep in mind in some cases it can be difficult to fully diagnose or help repair your vehicle without seeing it and I work on delivering the best possible answer from what I see to work with.

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you - Yes I already had planned to get my Alternator tested at auto store. But I don't want to go pay $99 for a diagnosis at the dealer for them to tell me it's a fuse or module that is easily replaced. My battery is underneath (behind my passenger seat). not easily accessible. to save time, is it better to go to GMC dealer? not too many Saturn dealers around here, I just don't want to pay for something I don't really need done.
Expert:  Pete replied 11 months ago.

Your welcome

A GM dealer can diagnose this as well as any Saturn dealer as they have experience in the Saturn vehicle as well as the correct diagrams to do this testing.I would have the parasitic drain/draw test done to see if anything is draining the battery and then if found o.k. have the alternator tested.

Let me know if you need anything else and feel free to rate my help here as this is how I receive credit for my time.Your 5 star rating is appreciated

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. IF I cannot sell my vehicle soon I will sign up. right now I don't need a monthly membership.
Expert:  Pete replied 11 months ago.

Your welcome

If there is anything else I can help with let me know as I strive to achieve a 5 star rating above.

Thanks Pete