CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2010 Dodge Journey - batteries drain

I have a Dodge Journey 2010 - for the past 2 to 2 1/2 years, I must have changed my battery 3 times on the car. I don’t remember when it started, but the car started with a clik sound when I turned the key, then I would wait a few minutes and try again, then it would start. I would go like that for weeks and months until one time I would try after leaving it for a couple of days then the car would be DEAD. i went to NTB and have them test and replace the battery. I was happy for about 1 1/2 or 2 years and then the same thing started to happen, I went back and they change the battery. then it took less time to start misfiring again. I went back and the guys at NTB told me that they cannot change the battery unless I took the car to the dealer and have them check the electricity and everything else. I paid the dealer $174 and they told me that they didn’t find anything wrong. They advise that I drive the car more because I didn’t put that much mileage on the car. They told me that the battery was good, the alternator was good and had no choice but to take my car back home, That was bloody stupid but I had no choice. The next day, the car was dead, I called the Dodge dealer, they hung up on me because I was pretty upset and I didn’t know what to do. I called NTB and they looked at the paper from the dealer and gave me a new battery. That was a couple of months ago. I was going to spend a week out, and I chose to not unplug the battery. When I came back, the battery was dead. NTB had told me about another place, I took it to the other place and they told me that the battery was good, the alternator was good and everything else checked out ok. They said, I don’t know what to tell you but there is nothing wrong with the car except the car has about 71,000 mi on it and I have car that keeps discharging the battery. I have to tell you that before all this craziness started, the horn would blow at random, sometimes in the middle of the night, and would wake up my neighbors until I remove the fuses for the horn. I am desperate. I love the car, but I am afraid to go anywhere with it.

Has either place checked for parasitic electrical draw?
Do you have any aftermarket electronics installed?

The Dodge dealer told me that they did a draw test, I am assuming they meant parasitic electrical draw.
And no I had nothing installed in the vehicle.
Thanks for replying.

Wish I could offer more help. This appears to be an intermittent problem which can be extremely difficult to solve. All I can say is good luck.

Did you find out the problem as I have exact same car and problem

I have the same issue! Any resolution?

So everyone who has pretended to look at your vehicle used their “Magic Mulligan Card” that all shops seem to know they can play just once… They look at your car and either suggest an easily replaceable new component…or they say they cannot find anything wrong…or a combination of both.

What they (all the shops you went to) should really have told you was… “We really do not feel like investing the time it would take to properly diagnose this electrical fault that almost surely exists in your vehicle, so we are going to have you buy a new component from us so we can make some easy profit and then get you out the door so that you can go to someone else and they can deal with this time consuming, semi difficult to resolve issue, we already made our easy money and we are happy with that, have a nice day”

A shop that has a good reputation for solid diagnostics is where you will need to go. Nobody seems to do proper work these days, it really is embarrassing and sad. These issues aren’t really that difficult to solve, even at their most tricky to resolve. Hope you find a competent Indy shop to help you.

1 Like

Usually this sort of problem is caused by a faulty door switch, or aftermarket alarm or audio system. It’s pretty simple to monitor the battery drain current, but the problem is that you know it is draining but don’t know which circuit is causing it, or the drain isn’t constant. It may be fine at 10 pm, and not go into battery drain mode until 3 am. There’s a couple of tricks that can make this easier to solve.

  • Install a cell phone app on your cell phone that automatically takes a photo every 15 minutes. Aim the camera at your drain current meter. Then you will have a photo-record of the battery drain current every 15 minutes as the car sits unused, overnight.

  • If you know the battery is draining too much even right now, at the current time, but don’t know which circuit it is, aim a laser-guided infrared temperature sensor at the fuses one by one. The hottest fuse will be the problematic circuit.

I also have the same problem on a 2010 Dodge Journey. It is almost 2 years now

So nobody has figured this out? My car just started this. Put new battery in last month and now it’s dead. Took it to mechanic who put battery in. He put new battery in and after 6 hours, battery dead again. He said alternator is fine. He said it’s going to take some time to figure this out since apparently he will check to see which fuse is draining my battery so if I find it I’ll let y’all know. My horn also was beeping on its own in the middle of the night so I pulled that fuse.

I own a shop & have a 2010 Journey now with this same issue. It is likely an issue with the Bluetooth module if your car is equipped with one. They tend to go into eternal “search” mode trying to find units to pair with.
I will update shortly what I find with this one.

1 Like

On this Journey, I found the battery would go dead after sitting for anywhere from overnight to 24 hours. Customer noted that the battery had been replaced two months ago & I replaced the alternator 1 month ago. After slow charging the battery for 8 hours I went to work on a mission to track this down.
With an inferred temperature sensor I checked all the fuses but found none were really any warmer than the others. I then connected a second battery to the charging posts with an AMP meter in series and then disconnected the positive post of the cars battery to direct all current load to the test battery. With all electrical load in the “off” position I read the reading on the AMP meter. The “at rest” reading was 0.055 amps. Normal maximum allowable is 0.030 amps. So while watching the amp meter I removed and installed one fuse after the other in sequence. The reading changed minimally as I went through each fuse & relay if at all. The radio & the Amplifier fuses had the largest effect but still quite minimal. after ruling out those possibilities it was obvious the draw was not going through the power distribution center. I searched for other wiring that was connected directly to the power cable. At the positive feed wire I found an eyelet on the connection stud with a wire attached that ran into the cab. I disconnected that wire and the amp reading dropped to 0.003 at rest, well bellow maximum. I found that wire was connected to a GPS tracking unit that had been installed by the previous owner. I removed the GPS unit & left the car connected the test battery. I tested the cars battery after being charged for the 8 hours and found the CCA (cold cranking amps rating) to be at 550 amps. I also felt the ends of the battery and found they felt slightly bulged. At this point I left the car over night(10 hours) with the positive cable still disconnected from the car battery. In the morning I found the test battery was still at 12.80 volts & the amp reading on the meter to still be at 0.003. Another test to the cars battery found the no load CCA had dropped overnight to 300 amps. this indicates the car battery is weak.

The conclusion I came to was, while the 0.055 amp draw was just above the normal allowable limit it was still too much for a weak battery to handle for long sitting periods. The ultimate scenario likely was;
The GPS unit was constantly drawing the battery down while it was new causing it to need to be recharged. This stressed out the alternator pushing it into early retirement. With a weak alternator & a constant overnight drain the battery was also weakened prematurely even after the alternator had been replaced the battery was no longer strong enough to withstand the prolonged draw of the GPS unit.
So this is the path that you will need to follow to try to find the draw on your battery. An advisable step, if you don’t have the time or patience to follow this path would be to first look for any “aftermarket” installations and disconnect them for the normal amount of time it takes for your cars battery to be drained and see if it fixes it. If there are none, try this same thing by first pulling the “IOD”(Ignition Off Draw) fuse for that same period of time. There are a few circuits controlled by the IOD fuse but if it stops the draw it gives you some place to start. You can likely get a wiring diagram for the IOD loads from GOOGLE or your local parts supplier

Nice work. If I recall correctly wasn’t this mentioned previously as a suspect?

Very interesting…and with the GPS now disabled I guess you wont know where you are anymore? How will you possibly go on? jk

Thanks for the update and very well done.

Frequently, when strange, random electrical problems happen on a Chrysler Corp. Vehicle, the culprit is the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). It’s very complex and expensive. Try bringing this issue to a different Dodge dealer for a better diagnosis.