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I recently posted a bunch about the battery in my 2016 Pilot on another thread that took the discussion down a different path from what the OP started, so I decided to start a new post sharing my latest battery adventures. I ended up using my multi meter to do a current draw on the battery. Even though I've owned a multi meter for years years, this is the first time I've ever attempted something like this on a car. I've seen lots of posts about parasitic drains on the forum, but never any about a basic current draw test to see what current the car pulls when its asleep assuming everything is in good working order. So right or wrong, here is what I did.

The battery is still factory original, roughly 4 1/2 years old. Its a 620 CCA, 70 ahr flooded lead acid battery. Not AGM. My Pilot is a basic EX model with nothing too fancy installed (i.e.: no power tail gate). So I turned off everything in the car I could think of, like lights, made sure nothing was in any 12V adapter plug-ins, etc. Even wrapped the key fobs in aluminum foil and put them in in the microwave so the car would stop searching for their signal. Most importantly, I unplugged the micro to protect the key fobs from the wife. :giggle: I was basically trying to set up normal shut down conditions with nothing accidentally powered ON that would create erroneous results. Then I put the battery on my smart charger to bring it up to full charge. With the hood open, I waited an hour for everything electrical in the car to go to sleep. Voltage read 12.72 volts. I reset my multi meter to read DC Amp current and moved my red probe to the 10A socket. (See pic below) I disconnected the negative battery terminal but left the positive cable connected. I touched the disconnected negative cable with my black probe and the negative battery post with the red probe so any current would run thru the multi meter. The meter immediately jumped to 0.437 amps for about 5 seconds or so, and then started a steady decline. After about 20 seconds it settled in on 0.011 amps and did not fluctuate. After what seemed like an eternity holding the probes in place (probably a good 30 seconds or so), I moved the multi meter dial to the mA setting. My meter read 10 milliamps. I was expecting something higher than 20, but can live with 10.

So I let the car set for 24 hours as is, with the battery cables disconnected. This morning I re-ran all those tests. This time the voltage read 12.71 V. The current draw started out at 0.444 amps and settled down to 0.012 amps in about 10 -15 seconds once again, and did not change. When I moved the meter to its mA setting I got another 10 milliamp reading. Assuming I did this correctly, it looks like the normal standing current draw (or whatever the proper term is) on the battery when my Pilot is shut off is about 10 milliamps.

I did all this because I'm concerned that my battery is beginning to go bad. I got a new battery tester last fall and every time I used it, it indicated that my battery was "good" with normal cranking and charging results as well. I felt great. Then a couple of weeks ago the tester started saying my battery needed "recharge" once in awhile. I wondered if the battery was old enough now that it couldn't hold a full charge anymore, or if there was an unknown parasitic drain. Anyway, to make a long story short, my attention now is turning to my driving habits and how long the Pilot sits in the garage.

Measuring instrument Temperature Gas Gadget Font
 

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I recently posted a bunch about the battery in my 2016 Pilot on another thread that took the discussion down a different path from what the OP started, so I decided to start a new post sharing my latest battery adventures. I ended up using my multi meter to do a current draw on the battery. Even though I've owned a multi meter for years years, this is the first time I've ever attempted something like this on a car. I've seen lots of posts about parasitic drains on the forum, but never any about a basic current draw test to see what current the car pulls when its asleep assuming everything is in good working order. So right or wrong, here is what I did.

The battery is still factory original, roughly 4 1/2 years old. Its a 620 CCA, 70 ahr flooded lead acid battery. Not AGM. My Pilot is a basic EX model with nothing too fancy installed (i.e.: no power tail gate). So I turned off everything in the car I could think of, like lights, made sure nothing was in any 12V adapter plug-ins, etc. Even wrapped the key fobs in aluminum foil and put them in in the microwave so the car would stop searching for their signal. Most importantly, I unplugged the micro to protect the key fobs from the wife. :giggle: I was basically trying to set up normal shut down conditions with nothing accidentally powered ON that would create erroneous results. Then I put the battery on my smart charger to bring it up to full charge. With the hood open, I waited an hour for everything electrical in the car to go to sleep. Voltage read 12.72 volts. I reset my multi meter to read DC Amp current and moved my red probe to the 10A socket. (See pic below) I disconnected the negative battery terminal but left the positive cable connected. I touched the disconnected negative cable with my black probe and the negative battery post with the red probe so any current would run thru the multi meter. The meter immediately jumped to 0.437 amps for about 5 seconds or so, and then started a steady decline. After about 20 seconds it settled in on 0.011 amps and did not fluctuate. After what seemed like an eternity holding the probes in place (probably a good 30 seconds or so), I moved the multi meter dial to the mA setting. My meter read 10 milliamps. I was expecting something higher than 20, but can live with 10.

So I let the car set for 24 hours as is, with the battery cables disconnected. This morning I re-ran all those tests. This time the voltage read 12.71 V. The current draw started out at 0.444 amps and settled down to 0.012 amps in about 10 -15 seconds once again, and did not change. When I moved the meter to its mA setting I got another 10 milliamp reading. Assuming I did this correctly, it looks like the normal standing current draw (or whatever the proper term is) on the battery when my Pilot is shut off is about 10 milliamps.

I did all this because I'm concerned that my battery is beginning to go bad. I got a new battery tester last fall and every time I used it, it indicated that my battery was "good" with normal cranking and charging results as well. I felt great. Then a couple of weeks ago the tester started saying my battery needed "recharge" once in awhile. I wondered if the battery was old enough now that it couldn't hold a full charge anymore, or if there was an unknown parasitic drain. Anyway, to make a long story short, my attention now is turning to my driving habits and how long the Pilot sits in the garage.

View attachment 144404
The initial ~1/2 amp surge is most likely power supply filter capacitors charging up. Keep in mind batteries can self discharge in paths other than through their negative terminal to ground. Also batteries self-discharge with no load. How long does your Pilot sit in the garage? At room temperature, a typical lead acid car battery will self discharge about 4% per week. I don't know what threshold your charger determines the battery needs a charge but without knowing, you could be chasing windmills.
 

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Time for a new battery. I'm amazed that you got this far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The battery is clean, no corrosion on the terminals or messy top. It's maintenance free so I can't check the fluid levels. Probably 80% of the mileage on this vehicle have been long, sustained highway drives back home, or vacationing (as in 600 + miles, one way). But with the pandemic it's mostly small trips around town now. Its also winter now, so the temps are lower. So it may sit 3 - 4 days as we have another vehicle ... a '18 CRV with a 2-year old battery that unlike the Pilot has needed constant "recharging" ever since I bought the tester. Judging by all the wonky, 5-minute long error messages on the dash after the CRV battery has been reconnected before all the computers finish rebooting, I'd guess the CRV has a LOT more electronically controlled systems on it than the Pilot. Its not uncommon to recharge the CRV battery, drive around town and re-test only to see "recharge" again. If I drive the CRV with the headlights ON however, I see the opposite ... a "good" battery (i.e.: 12.60+ V) after showing "recharge" right before the trip around town was taken. Hello dual mode charging! :( I hate the CRV, but that's a whole different story. Anyway, the tester I have seems to trigger a recharge result whenever it detects voltage below 12.40, even though all other loaded tests show normal results. I trust the tester as it unexpectedly throw off a "replace battery" recommendation when I used it on two of my son's vehicles over the Christmas holidays. Boy were they surprised. In both cases, O'Reilly retested and confirmed they were bad batteries before buying replacements. To get back on track, I did this voltage draw test to see if I could actually do it. Plus, I really wondered about the current used when the car was off since it is driven less now; and lastly, I'm suspicious that Honda's dual mode charging system keeps the Pilot battery at a more subsistence voltage level after driving around than it does with the CRV. So yes, I'm chasing windmills but it is kinda fun. :)
 

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The battery is clean, no corrosion on the terminals or messy top. It's maintenance free so I can't check the fluid levels. Probably 80% of the mileage on this vehicle have been long, sustained highway drives back home, or vacationing (as in 600 + miles, one way). But with the pandemic it's mostly small trips around town now. Its also winter now, so the temps are lower. So it may sit 3 - 4 days as we have another vehicle ... a '18 CRV with a 2-year old battery that unlike the Pilot has needed constant "recharging" ever since I bought the tester. Judging by all the wonky, 5-minute long error messages on the dash after the CRV battery has been reconnected before all the computers finish rebooting, I'd guess the CRV has a LOT more electronically controlled systems on it than the Pilot. Its not uncommon to recharge the CRV battery, drive around town and re-test only to see "recharge" again. If I drive the CRV with the headlights ON however, I see the opposite ... a "good" battery (i.e.: 12.60+ V) after showing "recharge" right before the trip around town was taken. Hello dual mode charging! :( I hate the CRV, but that's a whole different story. Anyway, the tester I have seems to trigger a recharge result whenever it detects voltage below 12.40, even though all other loaded tests show normal results. I trust the tester as it unexpectedly throw off a "replace battery" recommendation when I used it on two of my son's vehicles over the Christmas holidays. Boy were they surprised. In both cases, O'Reilly retested and confirmed they were bad batteries before buying replacements. To get back on track, I did this voltage draw test to see if I could actually do it. Plus, I really wondered about the current used when the car was off since it is driven less now; and lastly, I'm suspicious that Honda's dual mode charging system keeps the Pilot battery at a more subsistence voltage level after driving around than it does with the CRV. So yes, I'm chasing windmills but it is kinda fun. :)
Whatever blows your skirt up, have fun!
 

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I recently posted a bunch about the battery in my 2016 Pilot on another thread that took the discussion down a different path from what the OP started, so I decided to start a new post sharing my latest battery adventures.

The battery is still factory original, roughly 4 1/2 years old. Its a 620 CCA, 70 ahr flooded lead acid battery.

I did all this because I'm concerned that my battery is beginning to go bad.

Anyway, to make a long story short, my attention now is turning to my driving habits and how long the Pilot sits in the garage.
I'm on the fourth battery in my 2003. Each of the three previous batteries has lasted about 5 years.
Either try to eke out the last bit of life from your present battery - and hope that it doesn't finally croak at an inconvenient place or time - or just go buy a new one now and stop worrying about it.

If your Pilot is going to be sitting unused for an extended period, also buy a battery maintainer.
 

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Just get a new battery. If you got four plus years out of it you’re near the average depending on your location.

Good to hear your Pilot only draws 10mA in standby mode. Besides capacitors charging up, the 450mA you noted could also be the various computer modules powering up before going into standby mode (since you physically disconnected then reconnected the battery).
 

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Sam's Club has this battery cheap right now. 730 CCA
144431
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I'm on the fourth battery in my 2003. Each of the three previous batteries has lasted about 5 years.
Either try to eke out the last bit of life from your present battery - and hope that it doesn't finally croak at an inconvenient place or time - or just go buy a new one now and stop worrying about it.

If your Pilot is going to be sitting unused for an extended period, also buy a battery maintainer.
Thanks for the confirmation xGS. Three months ago before I bought all my new car toys (including a smart charger/maintainer) I essentially knew nothing about car batteries. Today I know next to nothing. But, its been an interesting learning experience. Like you, I hope to get the most out of my car batteries by staying attentive and taking car of them. When I eventually do preemptively replace one, it will based on data. Until then I am not going to replace a perfectly good battery simply based on time.

Hopefully I am learning from experience. When I bought my Pilot, I completely ignored the VCM feature on the window sticker. After forking out $800 last month to replace the front active motor mount I wish now that I checked out that little item a lot more before buying. My wife would like to replace our Pilot with a Subaru Ascent. Only this time I surfed a Subaru Owners forum first. After I showed her a Subaru Ascent Dead Battery Club Facebook owner''s group, she agreed that maybe we ought to check out other brands instead.
 

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Thanks for the confirmation xGS. Three months ago before I bought all my new car toys (including a smart charger/maintainer) I essentially knew nothing about car batteries. Today I know next to nothing. But, its been an interesting learning experience. Like you, I hope to get the most out of my car batteries by staying attentive and taking car of them. When I eventually do preemptively replace one, it will based on data. Until then I am not going to replace a perfectly good battery simply based on time.
If you like toys, get a battery tester to check out your battery.
Or, visit one of the auto parts stores that offers free battery tests.



ArtiBattery AB101


My wife would like to replace our Pilot with a Subaru Ascent. Only this time I surfed a Subaru Owners forum first. After I showed her a Subaru Ascent Dead Battery Club Facebook owner''s group, she agreed that maybe we ought to check out other brands instead.
Show your wife this reliability rating list from Consumer Reports.
Note the comment on the Ascent.
If she still wants one, probably better to lease it for only as long as the warranty lasts
 

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All vehicles have their quirks, some worse than others. Even the super reliable Toyota Tacoma has its issues. If you go onto a car forum searching for problems you’re bound to find something since people like to gripe (sometimes the complaint is valid). What I’m getting at is that you’re not going to find the perfect vehicle, but instead one that has few enough issues that you’re willing to live with them. As XGS mentioned Consumer Reports or equivalent is a good starting point.
 

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Hi....in my experance numerous multi meters are not able to degree dc current but mily amps. in case you're attempting to check battery draw whereas the fix isn't being utilized i would put a 12v taillight bulb in arrangement with the ground cable from the battery in the event that the bulb light lights there's a draw
 
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