Acura RDX 2016 Battery Drain

My battery is draining every few days. Mechanic says battery is fine and alternator is fine and they can’t find anything draining it. On further googling, I see (for example Honda Battery Drain Class Action Lawsuit - Seeger Weiss LLP) that there’s a class action about the HandsFree draining the battery in Acuras. I’m seeing the dealer tomorrow. Any suggestions on how I should approach this with them?

My tendency (based upon your HandsFree legal issue) would be to ask the dealer to disconnect the HandsFree, and then see if the problem disappears. I would also carefully ask what technical service bulletins they have on this subject. The first step is to diagnose the problem. Repair costs and legal action could be evaluated later.

Maybe you can deactivate the hands free system yourself. Your owners manual should have instructions if it can be done. It’s a big fat book, I know, but the index should narrow it down for you.

You don’t go to a shop and “lead” them by suggesting you already know what the problem is

You pay the shop to diagnose the problem and provide a repair recommendation


I’m not sure. The shop wants to charge me $180 to make a diagnosis. I think someone who knows what they are doing can unplug the HandsFree unit in 10 minutes and we can then see if that solves the problem. Even if I pay them $75 for the unplugging, I’ve saved myself $105, and I can then decide whether I should get them to replace the defective unit with another potentially defective unit (at a cost of well over $1,000 from what I’ve seen), or I can decide whether to install a cheaper after-market bluetooth unit in the car. Of course, if the problem isn’t solved by unplugging the HandsFree unit, then I need to pay the $180 for the diagnosis.

Well, good luck :smiley:

You doctor doesn’t work for free, why should your mechanic?

No, you haven’t saved anything. You’ve spent $75 on a guess. Might as well play the lottery with that $75. You can go broke fixing cars like that.


Battery drain issues are very easy to diagnose by probing the fuses for Voltage drop using a Volt meter set to the the 200mV range.

If I suspect that I know that the problem is due to HandsFree, based upon reliable sources, I don’t want to pay a shop diagnostic time for an intermittent problem. Disconnecting the HandsFree is just part of the process of elimination. Eliminate that variable, and then move forward.

Maybe the hands-free IS part of the problem

If op is so sure it IS, he should buy his own multimeter, disconnect the handsfree and perform his own parasitic draw test

If he figures it out and fixes it on his own, fine

If not, then pay the shop to diagnose the problem

But do NOT go in there telling them you already know or suspect what the problem is


Can you expand on why it’s wrong to go there telling them I suspect what the problem is? Is it somehow unethical, or is it a bad strategy for getting the car fixed?

If I felt I had the skills to disconnect the HandsFree, I would, to see if that eliminates the problem. I don’t have those skills. What’s wrong with paying them to do the disconnection for me?

I’ll add to the story. Someone I know, who owns a different model Acura, had exactly the same problem about a month ago. She paid an Acura dealer to diagnose and fix the problem. They diagnosed and “fixed” (not the HandsFree) and charged $1,600. And it didn’t fix the problem. They basically threw up their hands and said they had no idea what else it could be, and suggested that this might be an ongoing problem that they couldn’t fixed. They offered her a good deal to trade in for a new car, which she did. Maybe if she’d suggested to them that they disconnect the HandsFree, she would have avoided a huge hassle.

Telling a mechanic what you suspect is probably OK, but telling them definitively what to fix before they’ve had a chance to make their own determination is a bit of a slap in the face. You’re paying for their expertise, so let them be the experts.

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because if you tell them it is the hands free, and they disconnect it for you they are going to charge you. if it turns out that it was not the problem then they are going to charge you to fix the real problem on top of it.
if you let them diagnose the problem and they go to fix it and it turns out it was not fixed. then they might not charge you or at least they should not charge you full price. just my thoughts.

If your problem is intermittent, I would definitely just ask for the disconnect. If it is not intermittent, I would ask them if they have the service bulletin for the parasitic draw problem or the hands-free problem. I would not start off with an unknowledgeable mechanic.

I contacted the service manager at the dealer and was completely transparent with him. Told him everything I knew, including things on the internet about the HandsFree and about the person I know with a similar problem that they paid $1,600 and it wasn’t fixed. I asked if I could bring the car in for diagnosis but then when I finished the diagnosis, I wanted them to unplug the HF device for me. He said ok.

Took the car there on Monday and was told that they could find nothing wrong with anything, including the HF device. I then asked why the battery was running down and was told that I should expect to have to run the car at least twice a week for the battery to stay charged. When I asked why this had never been the case in the past, I didn’t get an answer. But they happily unplugged the HF device for me.

I deliberately left the car sitting from Monday until today - certainly the battery had not recently been able to hold a charge for 6 days, so I figured that was a reasonable test. I started the car with absolutely no difficulty this morning, which seems to imply to me that the HF is very likely the cause.

So now I have to figure out how to proceed:

  1. I could ask Acura to put in a new HandsFree device. From what I read, that’s probably $1,000 or so.
  2. I could get an after-market replacement for Bluetooth, which probably won’t integrate as well into the whole system e.g., if I get an incoming call, I assume it won’t turn off the radio.

Anyone have thoughts about which of these options (or something else I haven’t thought about) is best?

Go talk to your local Best Buy, Car Toys, or whatever car stereo place around you has a good reputation. I think you’ll be surprised how close the aftermarket can come to factory configuration. For example, the Sony stereo I have in my car will turn off the radio sound when I have an incoming call.

I also think you will be surprised at how reasonable $1000 is for a factory radio/nav/handsfree unit.

I recently had a draw on a late model Chevrolet that would kill the battery over 3 days. I found the draw to be the OnStar module. The customer chose to disconnect it and happily drive on. Customer paid over $300 for that diag, BTW.

I was going to offer the same advice but when I looked this vehicle up on, they do not recommend replacing the radio (with an aftermarket one) and offer nothing that will fit. The original radio must have a strange physical configuration and/or integration with a lot of functions.

Well in that case the $1000 that the dealer wants is an even more reasonable and attractive choice.