How can I diagnose a slow battery drain that appears to be caused by the fuse labelled as "short" in the underhood fuse box


Asked by Feb 16, 2015 at 12:48 PM about the 2005 Toyota Highlander Limited V6 AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander Limited 3.3 that has had an ongoing slow battery drain issue. If I don't drive it every day or so, and in cold weather for a long enough time every day, the battery gets drained. If I remove the fuse labelled as "short" on the underhood fuse box, it stops, but that fuse enables a lot of the interior accessories, like dash lights, AC memory, Radio, etc that I would rather not have to do without. I purchased the car about 6 months ago from family and knew about the problem. The battery was replaced, as well as the alternator a month or so prior to my purchase in an attempt to fix the issue.

5 Answers


Since you know what fuse it is, now you have to pinpoint which accessory is your issue. You have to do some probing with your multimeter to know which one it is. I assume you don't have the knowledge to do so, so have a local shop help you out. You can tell them what you told us to help them along.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Tom is right, you're half way there since you know what fuse it is. I's known as parasitic drain. Since the dash lights are out, your taillights may be also. Looking at pictures of a Highlander, it does not look like the taillights are on the rear hatch, but the license plate lights are. Have a look at where the wires go from rear hatch to chassis, from 10 years and hundreds of open/close, that MAYBE it.

If you do have a multi-meter, normally the anti-theft and clock will draw on battery, but only a miniscule amount. Put it on 12V and set on amps, and disconnect Neg-- battery cable. Put leads between Neg battery post and ground cable terminal, or just ground it anywhere on the chassis. Normal draw with engine off, key out, is 0.25 amps. Or ΒΌ of 1 amp@12Volts

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

We have a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with the same problem as Thaekor. We must drive it at least once/week, as, after about 1 1/2 weeks, the small battery in the engine compartment goes dead. We've replaced the battery 3 times over the years at a Toyota dealer. I use a 12V 1.5A "battery tender" to keep a motorscooter battery fully charged. When first connected a light blinks green, an hour or so later it goes green all the time indicating a full charge. If I connect THIS unit to the Highlander it NEVER stops blinking indicating the battery either never reaches a full charge OR there is a continuous drain the battery tender is trying to overcome, w/o success. We do NOT have an 'anti-theft' device, and no lights are on except a blinking red light trying to fool thieves to 'think' there is an anti-theft device, which there isn't. The only thing I can imagine that draws power is the dash clock and radio. Also they are "off" thy have to draw a little to save the clock time and selected radio stations. That may well be the 0.25 amp mentioned by FordNut. I'm going to call the Toyota dealer for an answer, and if I get a "Huh?" I'll then look for an auto electrical shop that specializes in this sort of problem. Jim - San Clemente, CA

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Check your seat belt latches.My 2002 Highlander developed a leak awhile back. The battery would drain completely after a couple of days. I checked everything I could think of, then I noticed the driver side seat belt latch button was stuck down. The seat belt still worked, but the button would stay down when the belt was released.I checked it with an ohm meter and it was stuck. I replaced the latch and solved the drain.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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