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posted: 6/9/2013 3:10 AM

Should CD player draw power when vehicle is off?

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In our May 26 column, we were trying to help a reader with a Mustang whose car battery often went dead. One of our readers has experienced the same problem and shared the following information with us:

"Doug, nice try but no cigar!

"I have the same car and after a four-month test to solve the problem, I will tell you the culprit. Ford's Shaker 500 and 1000 CD player must be turned off if you plan on letting it sit for more than a few days!

"Just read the Mustang forum(s) and you'll see that this is a common problem with no 'fixable solution' Ford knows about and it says this is an acceptable side effect. Anyway, how did I solve this problem?

"I read all forums on Mustang out there and then performed my test over the long four months of storage here in the Northern suburbs. Normally, I just put a battery tender on it and forget it, but this time I said 'No.'

"I use the CD player always and had a habit of turning the car off and not the radio. I left the radio in the CD player position and the car died. I then shut down everything and before I turned the ignition off I switched the player from CD over to AM/FM, then turned the radio off. I took off the tender and let her sit. After 30 days started right up. Sixty, 90 and 120 days no problem.

"I own a '06 Mustang GT with 37,000 miles and the original battery.

"And there you go " Rob

Thanks for the information Rob. I hope this solves the Mustang owner's problem like it did for you.

While I did find some technical info on problems in the audio system, I find it amazing that a manufacturer could state that it's acceptable for a battery to go dead in four days. Something has got to be wrong in that audio system that you would think could be fixed. However, if shutting it down in the proper order works, that is certainly the cheapest fix.

Q. I service electronic equipment in commercial vehicles. I saw your May 26 article on the battery problem and did a double take. The obvious issue is that a fuse can never be a problem in a circuit.

A fuse is a passive device that only reflects what the circuit is doing. If the circuit is drawing too much current, the fuse gets hot and melts, or "blows." Otherwise it is benign. To suggest that a fuse is a problem can give someone the idea to eliminate it, probably with wire. And that could cause a fire. Thought you should clarify.

A. Thanks for responding. My comment about the fuse was about trying to isolate the circuit draw by removing them one at a time. I will reread the article to be sure I didn't leave someone with the impression they could replace a fuse with a wire. That could be disastrous.

A/C solution

Now that we are getting into the warmer weather, you will probably be running your A/C quite a bit. A problem that crops up several times in early summer is a motorist complaining of water on the floor of the car. The assumption is they have some kind of a leak into the car.

A lot of times the problem is simply the condensate drain for the air-conditioner gets plugged up with debris and instead of the water flowing out onto the ground, it fills up the evaporator box and then runs out onto the floor of the car.

Generally, this requires a quick clean out of the drain and all of the water runs out (usually all over the person cleaning it). Once the drain is cleared, you will notice the water once again dripping onto the ground when the A/C is on and your carpet will begin to dry out.

• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit Send questions to

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