Haunted car battery? New batteries won't work. Only the old, drained battery will power car (but requires jump after sitting overnight). Please help!

Asked by Mar 18, 2015 at 10:47 PM about the 2002 Ford Focus ZX3

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

This girl could use any advice/ideas anyone
can offer. Three days ago, I sat in my car
listening to the radio for  45 mins before
going inside for the night (car not on,
justturned so battery would play). Well, the
next morning, the car wouldn't start and I
assumed I had drained my 5 Y.O battery
from leaving the key in the ACC position for
so long. Was able to jump car to drive to
Wal-Mart with no issues. They didn't have
the 40R I needed and a Google search
suggested the 96R may work. Bought it, bf
connected it, nothing happened. Assuming
incomparability, we returned it and drove to
O'Reillys on the juice remaining in old
battery. Bought a brand new 40R. Again,
nothing happened. No lights, no radio,
nothing. Guys at O'Reillys suggest a bad
starter. Called my dad and he says same
thing (unaware of what they said). I begged
my bf to try the old battery and jump it just
to try, and it works! Everyone is stumped!
Why is the old, drained battery the only one
that works? The battety drains overnight,
but seems to work fine once jumped.
Please help!

11 Answers


Kinda sounds like you may have a bad battery cable, have you cleaned the terminal ends till they shine? Look closely at the cables, make sure there isn't any swelling under the insulation. You could also be looking at more that one problem also. You could have a battery draw with the ignition off.


These 40R batteries are 12volt car batteries ? They are correctly connected to pos. and neg ? They read 12volts or more with a voltmeter ? Then it has to be that their posts are oxidized and your help is not equipped, or incompetent. This is not the first time I have had this one. I had a lady they kept selling batteries to in my town. she came to the tavern to ask for help. With cables connected between 2 vehicles, hers would start, but die when cables were removed. Went to parts store that kept selling her new batteries. carried the battery in, the kid went to connect his chinese wanabe meter to it for a test, nothing. no reading. I asked, arent you going to brush the oxidized lead post before checking ? His ear touched his shoulder and his mouth was open. Get an AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIAN to help you. or your dad.

1 people found this helpful.

provided your dad has a test light, volt meter, wire brush for battery connections or pocket knife, and a set of wrenches and pliers. Then at least, you can get started looking for a cause as simple as a new battery that has dark colored or chalky oxidized posts. You say your cables work with your former battery and a jump, so.....? You need a real man. and every girls daddy is a real man. you just have to let him know what to bring and whats going on with it and or why. Let him call a technician if he finds himself at a loss after trying.

1 people found this helpful.

Dannyl, is correct get someone to check this beside,s people at auto store,s,any good mechanic can test for a power draw from battery,all it take,s is a meter and and to pull one fuse at a time,to find a power draw,if no fuse,s clear the draw,then lead,s to starter as your dad said,or alternator is bad,good luck with it girlwithfocus.


Oh, the starter idea made no sense because you said it started with the former battery and a jump more than once.


Better mention this, The red and black plastic caps are supposed to be removed from the posts of a battery before connecting the cars cables, ha-ha-ha, just joshin ya


The parasitic draw test ? not indicated yet, Her car starts with a bad (old,sulfated, or low)battery but not new batteries. simply not connected well and unable to deliver any amps because of excessive resistance


Thats the best I can give you with your story as it reads


I agree dannyl,but one question to focusgirl,when you put new battery in,where headlight,s bright?This would answer connection problem.


They had said, "no lights, no radio, nothing" that was second attempt with new batt. First attempt said, "nothing happened".... I think It is just not connected. The old one went back in and could be jump started. I could say that some folks need some special training and experience from some journeymen, but we all have heard how qualified people were too expensive, and younger, faster people sell more batteries at twice the price. i digress


There is a possibility that the cable end, at the battery has multiple wires. Where they converge inside the cable end can be where the resistance is. In that case, the power distribution center could lack a good connection to the battery. comparing volt readings for each of the cables where they goto away from the battery can prove this...........In this idea, the jumper cables being attached, when changing the old batt back in, supplies voltage to the outside of the cable end and offers a secondary voltage and amperage with capacity. The car starts, and connection is intermittant or on some wires but not others. At any rate, a new cable end costs about $2.50. putting ends on the other cables allows you to attach each feed circuit by bolt -on rather than squashing them all together. Using no-co pads helps stop this from ever being the cause. And protective spray or dielectric grease blocks the oxygen from ever getting to the connection. batteries that sweat around the posts and have this type of cable do this the most. I realize I lost you a ways back, but you can look at how yours is wired and realize a $2.50 part can shut you down just as easy as a $150 part that wasnt bad. A volt meter is low priced and a test light for diagnosis is about 4 bucks. This is why the big bad mechanic gets the big bucks, but you can do your own maintenance instead. This preempts the problem.

Your Answer:


Looking for a Used Focus in your area?

CarGurus has 80,709 nationwide Focus listings starting at $1,295.


Ford Focus Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
  • #2
  • #3
    Su'ad Barakat
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Honda Civic
407 Great Deals out of 49,589 listings starting at $1,495
Used Ford Fiesta
120 Great Deals out of 16,899 listings starting at $2,999
Used Ford Mustang
256 Great Deals out of 38,498 listings starting at $1,350
Used Toyota Corolla
599 Great Deals out of 66,930 listings starting at $1,460
Used Ford Escape
1,032 Great Deals out of 113,269 listings starting at $1,000
Used Honda Accord
582 Great Deals out of 104,480 listings starting at $1,225
Used Toyota Camry
752 Great Deals out of 73,889 listings starting at $1,250
Used Hyundai Elantra
430 Great Deals out of 48,565 listings starting at $1,700
Used Volkswagen GTI
77 Great Deals out of 6,061 listings starting at $2,395
Used Chevrolet Malibu
570 Great Deals out of 52,308 listings starting at $1,550
Used Nissan Altima
737 Great Deals out of 66,542 listings starting at $1,000

Used Cars For Sale

2018 Ford Focus For Sale
55,064 listings starting at $10,489
2017 Ford Focus For Sale
67 Great Deals out of 4,102 listings starting at $9,177
2016 Ford Focus For Sale
73 Great Deals out of 4,790 listings starting at $7,525
2015 Ford Focus For Sale
57 Great Deals out of 3,562 listings starting at $5,995
2014 Ford Focus For Sale
67 Great Deals out of 4,728 listings starting at $4,395

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.