Battery dies if car is not driven in past 10 hours

Last February I got my car battery replaced. It was less than 2 years old and went dead if I didn’t drive my car in at least the past day. I brought it to Sears and they replaced the battery and gave me a discount for the short life of the previous battery.

About 4 months later, it started happening again. Now it’s down to only about 6 hours of non-driving. I had the battery tested at Sears, another garage where I was getting other work, and by my father, who has all the meters and is a former machinist.

Everyone says the battery is in good shape, the cables are secure, and the battery is taking a charge.

Do I need a new (non-Sears) battery or might this be a mechanical problem?

You haven’t told us the make and model of the car you’re driving. This is basic information we need. Please tell us what you’re driving.

And also tell us if you checked the trunk light and glove box light to be sure they turn off when supposed to.

It’s a 2002 Toyota Corolla. I just checked the glove box light, and it doesn’t go on even when I turn the dome lights on. In fact, I’m not sure this car even has a glove box light.

I can’t tell if the trunk light goes out. It’s dark now, and I’ll have to try to disconnect it tomorrow morning and see if it still has the problem. My trunk does have difficulty going out. It was hit pretty hard in the rear on an entrance ramp about a year ago. They never seem to fix it totally.

I think you’ll have to have the battery charged and checked and if it is holding a full charge, and the alternator is putting out the proper voltage, you would have a drain somewhere. Finding a drain requires using a test light and pulling fuses to isolate the circuit and going from there,

Here is a link to a site that may be able to help you find the trouble.

What you need is to have a “Parasitic Load Test” performed. This is BASIC automotive electrical troubleshooting. Something is draining the battery…

I’d definitely investigate the trunk light further, especially knowing now that the car was rear ended. The glove box light probably comes on with opening the glove box door, not turning on the dome light. Definitely try pulling the trunk light and see if it makes a difference.

A glovey light wouldnt do this unless the batt was weak to begin with. My guess is its the alternator…However Caddyman hit it directly on the head. You need to find the drain and there are several ways to do this…I cant go into all of them. But you need to have a parasitic load test done …they will put a meter on or between the pos term and the pos batt cable…then start pulling fuses to find the circuit pulling too many volts/amps…basic basic electrical troubleshooting…

I drove about 12 miles today. I haven’t driven since 6:30 pm today. Tomorrow I’ll do a couple of errands on foot (lots of exercise here in the burbs). I won’t drive until 7:00 pm at the earliest. Then I’ll see.

BUT, I left the car parked from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. This morning it struggled to start. This afternoon, it started no problem, so it sure looks like it was the trunk light. If so, Steve F just saved me $100. Steve, I’ll email you a beer, once someone invents a way to do it.

This worries me…a small light like that SHOULD NOT cripple your vehicle. I can leave all 5 of my interior lights on in my GTi all night and it will start right up. Granted my vehicle has ALL the electrical stuff in order. My batt terminals are CLEAN and GREASED…my cables tight and clean…Grounds…the same…see the pattern? Also I do NOT have any special type of battery…IN FACT it is the Original 03’ Batt that came with the vehicle.

How do your Batt terminals look? Cruddy? Corroded? IT is VASTLY important to your batt and charging system to have all of the above as I stated… Electrical connections to the BATT MUST BE CLEAN AND TIGHT AND GREASED…its Charging system 101 kids.

I dont like to hear that a small light can cripple your vehicle… I could be wrong (it happens sometimes lol) but I am making an honest statement to try and help. It doesnt bode well for the health of your Batt and or charging system methinks.

Honda Blackbird, your expwrience is not typical. I have seen many cars with a drained by a trunk, hood, or glovebox light during a 8 or 10 hour work shift. Are the interior lights on your GTI Led or something beside incandescent?

The battery is a Sears store brand and was probably made by gorillas and designed by orangutans making 2¢ a week. I had all of the terminals tightened. The terminals are not corroded at all. I recently had them redone to see if that would fix it. I do make a lot of short trips. Everything is so close around here. It’s almost like the city.

Maybe I should replace the battery anyway. I’ll see how it works out over the next few weeks. If I can get away without buying a new battery until next year, maybe I can afford to buy a new pair of shoes this year.

Hey hoofer, thanks for the offer. It is indeed possible that your trunk light was entirely responsible for your troubles, but we are still not certain. Not yet anyway. So check back with us in a few weeks and give us your report. Toyota or Vibe.

Battery connections can look fine but have a thin layer of corrosion on the contact surfaces of the connections that can cause problems. The connections need to be disconnected and the connection surfaces need to be cleaned using a battery post cleaning brush. Then they should be reconnected and not over tightened to the battery posts along with some sort of sealer put on them to keep corrosion from forming on them.

Battery performance can be checked doing a load test to see if it needs to be replaced or not. I suggest you get a load test done to make sure your charging system doesn’t have a problem. Since the battery is pretty new I doubt there is a problem with it. The shop could also check for a current drain on the battery. It sounds like the battery either isn’t getting a sufficient charge due to a charging problem or there is a current drain somewhere. Normal current draw should be around 15-20 milliamps while the car is parked.

Trunk light! Just like the puzzler from a few weeks back.

Yep don’t underestimate the power of a trunk light to discharge a good battery. My wife was parked at the airport for a few days and her companion failed to completely close the trunk. I had a good Delco battery in it but the thing was so dead even the airport starting service couldn’t get it going. The motor club had to do it.

By the way, those lights operate on a mercury switch like a thermostat. So the position of the switch tells it when to turn on or shut off. If it was hit, it could be just bent out of shape a little and not enough to turn it off.

OK, it’s a couple of weeks later, and my car starts up just fine every time.

Before I removed the trunk light, even when it did start the next day it hesitated. Now it starts up instantly, and I did let it sit undriven for a day. I say, problem fixed.