3 Tips for Identifying a Parasitic Drain Once You Become an Auto Mechanic

If a car that has once been functioning smoothly suddenly reveals a dead battery, then a parasitic drain may be the culprit. The term parasitic drain may sound particularly alarming, but it simply describes a common issue that occurs when a car’s battery is continuously and consistently drawn out. Despite how long these draws may take, they always involve electrical issues that cause the battery to run even while the ignition is off. Ultimately, this shortens the battery’s lifespan. 

Auto mechanics interested in diagnosing electrical issues with their vehicles can take a proactive approach to identifying and even preventing parasitic drains. Read on to discover three key tips for diagnosing a parasitic drain!

2. Use a Digital Multimeter to Get an Accurate Reading

A digital multimeter is a great tool to have when testing for a battery drain. In fact, they play a pivotal role in different battery drain tests, including the amperage battery drain test, the voltage drop battery drain test, and the bad alternator diode test. 

You can get started with this handy tool by connecting it to the car’s battery pack while the ignition is shut down. When turned on, the tool should give a reading that can help you confirm whether or not a parasitic drain is to blame.

Students in auto mechanic training may be keen to know that starting with a fully-charged battery is a key part of this process. This way, they can receive a more accurate reading that better captures the state of the battery. Another tip is to disconnect any accessories and leave the car with its ignition turned off for at least an hour. The passing of time can help reveal the severity of the battery drain.

Using a digital multimeter can help auto mechanics more efficiently diagnose a battery drain

2. Consider the Different Probable Causes when Diagnosing the Issue

Knowing the various possible causes of a parasitic drain can help mechanic college graduates more efficiently diagnose the problem, giving them a roadmap to the right solution. With this type of battery drain, you can consider the probability of a faulty switch or battery, issues with the car’s dome light or alternator, as well as problems with aftermarket features—like a radio or an alarm system.

With your multimeter, you can check different fuses to see which ones are causing the drain. Here, it’s important to note that different vehicles have different setups, potentially leading to more than one fuse panel in different areas. While working as an auto mechanic, you may be able to use specific software that’s designed to identify circuit problems. This way, you can complete your tasks at a faster rate.

After mechanic college, you can work with special software to diagnose battery issues

3. Regularly Check a Vehicle’s Battery Drain after Mechanic College

Being proactive when it comes to diagnosing electrical issues and checking the battery can help prevent significant parasitic drain. Reminding clients to unplug additional accessories or equipment, as well as phones and chargers, when parking their cars can also be a big help. During your mechanic training, you’ll have the opportunity to develop valuable customer relations skills as well as technical know-how to better perform these tasks. 

By promoting awareness and being vigilant during maintenance checks, you can quickly catch parasitic drains and identify potential problems. With this approach, you can help clients avoid experiencing dead batteries.

Looking to become an auto mechanic?

Contact ATC Cambridge for more information!

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