CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Electrical

I have a Toyota Camry Wagon 1989, four cylinders with about 200K miles. Recently the car has not started and had to use jump cables to start it. I checked the battery with the seller, who told me that the battery is in excellent shape and that there is something ?on? draining the battery. I already checked all the lights, door properly closed, ignition off; nothing is ?on?. Does someone know what it could be or suggest what to check before I go to a car shop and spend money in an electrical ?diagnosis? ? Thanks.

The only way to check to see if something is on and draining the battery is to use a current meter and verify that it is reading less than 50mA (0.05 Amps) thirty minutes after it is attached and the car is last disturbed.
Did you do that?
Also, did you check to see if the alternator is charging correctly? You should have between 13.8 and 14.5 volts at the battery while the engine is running.

If you don’t have a multimeter, then you can take the car to some auto stores and they will test the battery and the charging system for free. If their tests don’t reveal a problem, then go home and disconnect the battery. Let the car sit for the amount of time that it takes for the battery to go dead. Reconnect the battery and see if the car starts. If it does, then there is indeed a parasitic drain somewhere in the electrical system of the car. If it doesn’t, then the battery has a high rate of internal discharge and should be replaced.

Here is a link to help you out that explains how things are done to find that kind of trouble.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/battery_runs_down.htm

When did the seller tell you he last replaced his “excellent” battery? If it’s 5 years old or older, his excellent battery may be just plain tired. It also may have an internal short circuit.

I already checked the battery by taking it out after using the jump cables and I put it in another car to check the battery and the other car started normal. I also went to the store I bought the battery. They used the multimeter connected to the battery with the car off. The multimeter showed that there is something ?on? (while the car is off) draining the battery. I bought the battery last year. It has been used 12 month. The battery is supposed to last 60 months. The multimeter could not pass the checking point to tell what is wrong. So I was suggested to go to a car shop and ask for an ?electrical diagnosis ?to finds out the problem that is draining the battery; but before I do that I wanted to hear some additional suggestions. I will check the link you suggest. Thanks.