99 GMC Safari Electrical Short/Draining Batteries?

I have a 99 GMC Safari. A few weeks ago, I tried to start it and it would turn over but wouldn’t start. I took the bus to school because I didn’t have time to look into the problem. That weekend, I went to check it out and fix the problem, but this time the battery was completely dead.

I took the battery in to get tested, and the testers said it was completely toast. I bought a new one, and when I installed it, the lights and everything worked in the van. But when I went to start the car, it seemed like there was a short or something because everything went dead as soon as the starter engaged. The battery would no longer turn the lights on and the car wouldn’t start or turn over.

Do you know what this might be?

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Do you have a multimeter?


I can certainly get my hands on one. What connections would I need to test?


@dmfladager Test the battery itself for 12.6 Volts DC. If the battery is significantly lower than that you'll need to have it charged. (Have you tried jumping the car with another car and see if it turns over by the way?) Being a brand new battery, if it is low, then you might have a parasitic draw. I'll describe how to test for this a little farther down. When you installed the new battery, you may not have tightened the cables enough at the terminals. Be sure they aren't loose and that they aren't corroded. If the battery is not low, and your connections are good and tight, let me know, and I'll tell you what to try next.


@dmfladager If it is low and you suspect a parasitic draw, turn your multimeter to amps and switch the leads, so the meter is set up to read amps. Be sure you have it set up correctly, or you'll damage the meter. DO NOT try to start the car while you do this next part. Perform this test with the key turned off, removed from the ignition and with all your accessories turned off. Unhook the negative battery cable. Put one of the leads from the multimeter on the negative cable and the other lead on the negative battery post. If you see a reading close to an amp or more, then you likely have a parasitic draw. If you get to that point, let me know, and I'll help you narrow it down. Good luck!


Thank you! I’ll get back to you tomorrow.