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2004 Ford Focus battery drain mystery

I have a 2004 Ford Focus. I had the battery replaced in May. Two months ago, the battery light came on for 10 minutes than went off. A week later the dash lights dimmed and then rebrightened. Talking with people they thought the alternator was the issue. I had it replaced three weeks ago. I got it back from the mechanic and it worked for two days. On day 3 it would click and the dash lights would flash but it would not crank. Mechanic jumped it and brought it to the shop and found nothing. Two days later the same problem. Took to another mechanic and they found the radio was draining power so they unplugged the fuse. Again, it worked for two days, then the same problem. They have had it for a week and have no clue what is wrong. Any thoughts?

Here’s a good article on how to diagnose battery drains:

Your mechanics should be doing a systematic check as described in the article. If not, they’re just guessing. Is the battery still being drained after they pulled the radio fuse? If so, there’s either a drain source they haven’t found yet, or the charging circuit isn’t working properly, or the battery itself is defective.


I just looked at your owner’s manual online, and I noticed that fuse 41 feeds the radio AND the instrument cluster. Is there any chance the shop actually unplugged the radio, but left the fuse in place? If they did so, and the cluster was the actual problem . . .

FWIW . . . I’ve worked on plenty of cars where the cluster was the cause of the draw

For that matter, the darndest things can be the cause of the draw

There was a Focus in the shop with a cluster that was causing a draw

I even worked on a Focus where the A/C pushbutton switch was causing the draw

Ask the shop if they performed a second parasitic draw test AFTER unplugging that fuse

Personally, I don’t think they removed the fuse, because if they did, your cluster wouldn’t work

I am not sure what your problem is, but this is apparently not uncommon with Ford Focuses (Foci?)

Of course you can Google any car and “battery drain” and get back some results…

They pulled some sort of fuse, I cannot remember what number they said it was. The radio is definitely off and the fuse is in my cup holder. The instrument cluster is still working. It is only showing a drain of 2 milliamps when it is off. When the car sits overnight and I try to start it in the morning, the battery is showing a 10 amp charge. The car is a ZX5 2.3L if that helps.

The radio is the factory 6 cd changer. It has been acting up lately with cycling through the cds for a few minutes when it first turns on. I was also wondering if physically disconnecting it would help.

How can the cd player be operative if the radio is “definitely off and the fuse is in your cupholder.” Is the cd changer a separate device? If so, yes, I would try disconnecting and see if that helps.

It isn’t operative anymore. It was before they pulled the fuse.