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How to Detect a Battery Drain on a Tractor

by Dan Ferrell

Just like a regular automobile, your tractor uses the battery to produce and store electrical energy to operate the different electrical circuits. Overtime, wires, connectors and components in these circuits wear out and may cause a myriad of malfunctions, including accidental connections. Even with your ignition key off, a loose electrical wire may reroute your battery's charge and drain it overnight. However, you can troubleshoot your battery using a simple tool to detect a possible drain in your tractor.

Step 1

Detach the ground (black) battery cable with a wrench.

Step 2

Clean the battery post and the terminal on the battery cable with a battery post-cleaning tool, if necessary.

Step 3

Get the test light out of your toolbox. This light resembles an ice pick with a clear handle and a small light bulb inside the handle. A wire connects to the light bulb through the top of the handle and comes equipped with an alligator clip at the other end.

Step 4

Connect the alligator clip on the test-light wire to the terminal on the battery cable you just disconnected.

Step 5

Touch the test light pick to the ground battery post. If the test light does not light or glow, there is no drain in your battery. If the test light comes on or glows, you have detected a battery drain in your tractor.

Locate the wire or component causing the drain by leaving the test light connected to the battery cable and post. Disconnect and reconnect components and wires -- alternator, ignition switch, solenoid -- one at a time until the test light goes out. Examine the circuit with the wire or component that caused the test light to go out to find the malfunction or take your tractor to a service facility for repairs.

Items you will need

  • Wrench
  • Battery post cleaning tool
  • Test light

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