1993 Honda Accord Sdn - Car loses power when driven

My car began losing power over a couple of days, (think of a Microwave power %) and then the battery would die. As if my car was drawing juice from the battery until it was all gone.

Have the battery and alternator tested. If that doesn’t turn up anything you probably have a “parasitic draw,” meaning that something is using electricity even when the vehicle isn’t running. A good independent shop can diagnose and correct it.


Where there any lights glowing on the dash during that time and what color were they?

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The alternator has been checked and seems to be o.k. but your idea of a ‘parasitic draw’ might very well be the problem. Thanks for the suggestion

no lights, nothing. Just dead! Thanks for trying to help.

No, not by the time it was dead… before, when you were driving it around and dying, were any lights on?

Are you saying that once it dies the starter motor will not crank the engine and there are no dashboard warning lights on?

With the battery charged and the key in the RUN position (engine not started) does the red “BATTERY” light illuminate? If not, the alternator will not charge.

It’s going to take more info to narrow this down and a failing ignition switch is not out of the question. Later Hondas are under a Recall for faulty switches but this problem has been ongoing for decades even on models not subject to a Recall.

There were never any warning lights and I never had a problem with the starter really. I think you all were right about it being an electrical problem and I should probably take it in for a diagnostic. The car is so old I am not sure it is worth it but I hate to think of shopping for another car during this pandemic. Thanks everyone.

First have a proper diagnosis done, along with an estimate. I sympathize with your situation but a 1993 Accord is worth maybe $1500. There’s a limit to what I’d put into it. If it turns out you do need a new vehicle, dealers in my area (St. Louis) are bringing cars to customers’ doors for test drives. There may be similar options available to you. I find Autotrader.com to be useful when shopping.

Your answers are still unclear to me. I understand you are not mechanically inclined but right now your car complaint is the equivalent of saying “I’m sick” to a doctor with no details. The doctor is left guessing at various symptoms.

If a shop is given a complaint like this on a car that is running this could lead to guessing and replacing a number of items that may not need replacing and at considerable expense. I am simply trying to help narrow it down a bit as I do not like guessing at a problem.

So are you saying that when the car engine dies the starter motor will crank the engine over but it will not run?
If the key is in the RUN position (engine not running) are all of the dash warning lights on including the red BATTERY indicator light?

To try to simplify everything: My car begins to loses its power as it is running- there are no red lights anywhere., Withing a couple of days the power continues to lessen, and then one morning it does not start at all. Everything is dead! It will not start, the engine does not turnover -there are no lights - it is completely dead! Replacing the battery which I have done twice now, seems to solve the problem for awhile and then the same problem begins again. The car starts to gradually lose power over a couple of days and then …dead. That is all I can tell you.

Offhand, sounds like an alternator charging problem or a parasitic draw. I assume you do not know how the alternator was checked. Output should be checked at the back of the alternator and at the battery terminals. It’s possible to have a good alternator with a fusible link failure between the alt and batt. This would keep the battery from charging.

Another possibility is a glazed or worn alternator belt which allows the pulley to slip on the belt.

As for a parasitic draw, that is easy to test for but can sometimes be a bit tricky to find. Just for hoots try to determine if the trunk light is staying on. Believe it or not, that is not a rare problem. Think of the fridge. Did the light really go off when you shut the door?

If this were me I would do those alternator checks first. Output and belt slippage. If things are ok there then I would check for a parasitic draw. As i said, determining whether or not there is a draw is not that difficult but tracking it down can (at least sometimes) be a bit tricky. Hope this helps and good luck. Feel free to post back. Sometimes coming up with the right answer without hands on the car can be difficult but we all try anyway.

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If it is running down the battery to dead while driving the charging system and connections need to get thoroughly checked out imhop. You have replaced the battery, so hopefully we can rule that out.

I really appreciate the help all of you have given me. Thank you. But what the heck is a parasedic draw?

A parasitic draw is a constant drain of the battery, due to an electrical fault.
If you visualize the way that a parasite drains nutrients from a living organism, that should give you some idea of what is being referred to.

Not every mechanic is eager to do what is necessary to track-down a parasitic draw, so you might want to find out which shops in your area are auto electrical specialists.

Hint: Don’t even think about going to the local tire shop, Pep Boys, Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, or AAMCO if you want a good auto electrical specialist.

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I really think that is what it is! I always felt that my battery was draining instead of charging. Would a diagnosis find the problem or is it not specific enough?

FWIW, I told you what a parasitic draw was two days ago.

In my humble opinion a parasitic draw kills a battery when the car is not running, he is running on battery power and the system is not charging so when the battery dies, the car dies.

A parasitic draw doesn’t have to just be active when the car isn’t running. It’s true that parasitic draws are most troublesome when the engine is off and the alternator isn’t compensating but the draw can still be happening when the engine is running. For example, if the light in the trunk is on as @ok4450 mentioned it will be on all the time. The OP says the battery dies over a period of a couple of days, that the alternator tested okay, and that the battery has been replaced twice. If–admittedly a moderately large if–both the battery and alternator are good then something is draining the battery and draining it faster than the alternator can charge it. That points to a parasitic draw as a strong possibility. Another is badly corroded battery cables.

O.K. Thanks very much