I have been having intermittent starting problems with my '03 Accord over the past year. First time, couldn’t start, was able to jump start - took it to Advance Auto who told me the battery and alternator were fine, but that I had a 20 amp (no not miliamp) power drain on the car, and to take it to a mechanic immediately before it died. I did nothing whatsoever and it continued to start fine for a few months, then died again. Jumped it, took it back to Advance, didn’t do any testing this time and just gave me a new battery. Two months later, with new battery in tow, car wouldn’t start again - took it back to Advance Auto (same guy, seemed to know what he was talking about) and re-tested - same problem 20 amp power drain. Started up OK, bought a clamp on ammeter at Sears the next day, draw was now 0.03 amps and took it to a different Advance auto shop - retested, confirmed that it was 0.03 amps (24 hours after being told it had a 20 amp draw!).
Decided to remove aftermarket iPod stereo adapter, thinking this could be the problem, but last week, same issue. Required serious attempt at jumping, but since jump start, car is starting fine.
Battery connections/terminals OK, cables seem OK, starter connections seem OK (visually) - a mechanic cannot locate the problem.
One weird thing is that everytime the car dies and is subsequently jumpstarted, the “dual control” light on the dash comes on, and this is a control we never use. Might it be a clue to the power drain (assuming that’s what it is)? Could this be a relay that is intermittently stuck open? How the heck can this be diagnosed?
What should I do - car is becoming completely unreliable as a family car for wife and kids . . . not good.