Car battery keeps dying on my Honda Element

I have a 2008 Honda Element. I’ve recently gotten my battery replaced TWICE. Each time, the people at the shop made sure the new battery was good and that there were no other issues (alternator, relay, starter, etc) that might affect the battery. After the last time the battery died, I called shop and guy told me that it may be some kind “intermittent short” that keeps making the battery go bad. Is there any other details that anyone can give me as to what may be causing the problem? Thanks.

Read this.


Tester, that article was way too long and had too much technical mumbo jumbo for me to understand.

Then you need to take your vehicle to someone who does understand it.


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Tester, I’ll show that article to car shop. Thanks.

When you discuss this problem with your shop make sure they differentiate between a “bad” battery and a “discharged” battery. A discharged battery can be made good again just by re-charging it. A bad battery is forever bad, defective. Presumably at this point the battery is good but discharged. Ask the shop to recharge it, then hook up their amp-meter to measure the current drain with everything turned off. Wait for 1/2 hour after turning the engine off and closing all the doors for the computers to go into their dormant mode. It should be less than 50 mA. What do they measure?

Besides that there’s some thing you can check for. Park the car at night in a dark spot. Any exterior lights remain on, like the brake lights? Any interior lights on, like inside the glove compartment, inside the trunk, under the hood? If you have an alarm system, good chance that’s what’s causing the battery to discharge, so turn it off, even better disconnect it, and see if that helps. Same with the radio. Especially if either the alarm or radio didn’t come with the car new. The door switches are a common cause of this problem. Open each door, one at a time and push on the door switch (in the hinge area). Does the interior light come on and go off smoothly & reliably? or is it a little intermittent, the switch seems sticky? Usually when the problem is a door switch, it is the driver’s door. So focus on that door.

If you are tech savy, another idea is to connect the amp meter as above, then program your phone to take a photo of the display every 10 minutes. I have no idea how to do that, but apparently it is possible with some cameras and phones. The idea is the current draw may start out at less than 50 mA, but at some point during the night goes to 1000 mA or more. You cell phone will catch it. Note that this method could damage your amp meter if the current spikes to a really high level, so good idea to install a fuse in the meter circuit.