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1999 Volkswagen New Beetle Battery being drained when car sits for a few days

Has anyone had this issue? My daughter has a 1999 New Beetle and when she doesn’t drive it for a week or so, the battery is drained down to zero and the car needs a jump start. We’ve replaced the battery twice - the latest battery is only about 3 months old but when we came back from a week’s vacation, the car was dead. Instead of jump starting it ourselves we decided to call AAA (gotta’ use the membership occasionally). They tested the battery and it was drained to zero (in warm weather). After jump starting it and a few days of normal driving, I took it to the shop where we bought the battery. They tested it and it registered 759 amps (its rated at 730).

The guy at the shop said that it was normal to for a battery to drain to zero after sitting for 7-9 days because of negative drain (keeping the clock running, etc.)

I’m not sure I believe him - because I’ve never had that quick of a battery drain with my other cars.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Any advice?


It’s not normal for a battery to drain over that period of time. So there must be a parasitic current draw.

One thing to try is to quickly open the glove box/trunk and feel the bulb. If the bulb is hot it’s been on for a while.

If that shows no results, then you have to look for something like a computer/module that fails to go to sleep when the vehicle is shut off, or wakes back up when the vehicle is shut off.

These are called FRED’s.

This article explains what FRED’s are.


One common place to have a current draw from is the CD player unit. Logical trouble shooting will lead you to the trouble. Normal battery drain should be around 20 milliamps when things have gone into the sleep mode. That should let the car start up even after at least several weeks of being parked.