Car keeps dying while off, won't start HELP!

Asked by Oct 28, 2017 at 07:32 PM about the 2002 Dodge Caravan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

OK. Battery is new and good. No accessories
pulling power. Starter is fine. Mechanic checked all
these things. No melted wires. Slightly corroded
battery cables. Jump starts immediately. Makes a
very rapid thumping noise when the car has been
off for a few hours, but not after a predictable
amount of time, then no power. No lights, no noise,
no starting! To make the thumping stop the key
has to be in the ignition. What the hell I'm at my
wits end!

11 Answers


the denmo needs replacing

And a denmo is?


Well the corroded battery terminal wires may the starting issue (inside insulation may be corroded bad). I have heard car thump, make alot of weird noises because of a bad alternator and since your having issues with electrical I would have the alternator tested and change those terminal wires too they will only corrode worse and cause issues in the future if they are not the issue at all now.


Solenoids & relays can make weird noises. If its running rich or fuel vapor is getting stuck in EVAP canister or EVAP system may cause some weird stuff but not related to no power. Check for fuses around alternator too. Anymore info you have may help figure it out.

The thumping noise came from the fuse for the front wiper on relay, pulled it and the noise stopped. So what circuit is this related to that would drain my battery or prevent my car from starting?

Do I have to do anything else beyond replacing the fuse and battery cables, and jumping the battery?


If the wiper is doing this when the its off then I think there is a short or ground issue there on that circuit, May be on a hot wire or ground may be getting power from another hot wire touching ground which is frame/body metal or engine metal. Even switch may be bad and but to be getting power while off it would be ignition switch or short to frame/body/engine somewhere. I would test for parasitic drain first. You can use multi-meter (DC voltage setting) put negative to negative battery terminal and probe frame/body/engine with positive side of multi-meter looking for voltage (may need to reinstall that relay or fuse for wipers.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

See Battery terminals have good connections on both ends and positive (bare wire) touching metal even down at engine/trans or starter solenoid wires bad or touching somewhere.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

If wipers on relay and ignition switch is on then it may just be you wiper switch but if its not when key is on then there is power getting to circuit from somewhere.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Going to charge it up and keep working on it. Thank you for your help I'll keep posting my progress till solution.


Hope you get it fixed.

Your Answer


Looking for a Used Caravan in your area?

CarGurus has 73 nationwide Caravan listings and the tools to find you a great deal.

Postal Code:

Dodge Caravan Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
  • #2
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Dodge Grand Caravan
227 Great Deals out of 10,497 listings starting at $3,495
Used Chrysler Town & Country
23 Great Deals out of 454 listings starting at $4,995
Used Honda Odyssey
27 Great Deals out of 938 listings starting at $2,500
Used Toyota Sienna
19 Great Deals out of 918 listings starting at $2,899
Used Kia Sedona
12 Great Deals out of 488 listings starting at $2,999
Used Nissan Quest
51 listings starting at $2,500
Used Dodge Durango
96 Great Deals out of 1,005 listings starting at $3,900
Used Ford Explorer
37 Great Deals out of 1,613 listings starting at $4,500
Used Chevrolet Tahoe
4 Great Deals out of 912 listings starting at $8,500
Used Dodge Ram 1500
51 Great Deals out of 486 listings starting at $2,495
Used Honda Pilot
4 Great Deals out of 610 listings starting at $3,490
Used Ford F-150
509 Great Deals out of 10,018 listings starting at $3,490

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.