My 3 yr old battery went dead and would not jump off. Replaced it. After 48 hours it was dead. Jumped it off. Held charge another 10 hrs. Dead again. Took to a shop. They replaced the negative cable end. Went to pick it up 3 hrs later it was dead. After they checked the battery. Said my new battery was no good. Went and got a new one. Another 48 hours and it's dead again. 2005 Ford Focus. Any suggestions?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Is the alternator working? If so, how was it verified? Has anything changed in the vehicle, such as adding a new electronic part (radio) or something else? Has any other electrical maintenance been done to the vehicle in the past while? Any other strange things happening with lights or electrically driven parts? Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 15:02
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    The car is almost 15 years old, and there's something wrong with its electrical system: either a charging system failure (as @Paulster2 mentions above), or a wiring or component fault that creates a persistent, parasitic drain as soon as a battery is installed in the vehicle. Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 15:05
  • Nothing new. I have had the alternator check at a auto shop and a parts store. Both said the alternator is fine. The negative battery cable end replaced. This is the second new battery in a week. No other electrical maintenance has been done. I did give a lady a jump about a week and a half ago with my original 3yr old battery. Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 15:09
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    So should I take it back to the shop and ask them to do a parasitic drain check? Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 15:11
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    "The shop said they did a electrical diagnostic" If it was thorough they would have found the parasitic drain.
    – Moab
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


Doing a parasitic drain test is quite simple, all you need is your multimeter (DMM).

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Remember to place your DMM lead to 'A' and 'COM' , use flat screwdriver to close the latch on your bonnet, shut all doors and wait for about 30 min. for the vehicle to go fully into sleep.

If you see high current draw, let say 800 mA, start pulling all the fuses one by one and watch any for any difference. If you pull a fuse that will drop the current to near 0 mA you have isolated the problem.

If neither fuse makes a difference, disconnect the heavy red cable leading to your alternator. A bad alternator diode will allow current to flow from the battery to the alternator when your engine is shut off. The winding in alternator will just sit there and draw current like a stalled electric motor causing a drain.

Alternators are not always fused, they will usually have fusible link only and thus not revealed problem when pulling fuses.

Hope that helps.

DO NOT start the car with this test in place starter current would fry your ammeter.


Many years ago I had a similar problem, it turned out to be the boot light was staying on causing a small current drain.

A very helpful garage mechanic climbed in the boot to find it.

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    Good solution, but the extra weight of a mechanic in your boot will hurt your MPG.
    – Frog
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 19:25

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