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I have owned a 2003 Element for about 10 years and it has been absolutely wonderful until this past year. I have had one problem after the other. The biggest issue is trouble starting the car. My local dealership replaced the starter twice and the car is still struggling to start at times. They said something seems to be draining the battery, but can't figure out what. I am also having trouble with opening the doors with my key. Could this be related? The dealership is trying get me to trade my car in, but I really love my element!
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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Before replacing the starter, did they do any other troubleshooting, condition of cables, other system components?Opening the door mechanically, or using the remote?
 

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Starting woes are a PITA but not as much as taking one's car to a dealership and having them do nothing but cost you money. "Something that is draining the battery" demands a procedure that can determine what IS draining your battery but apparently they're not interested in doing that.

If you love your E so much you want to keep it, ask around, check on Yelp for a shop that's rated 5 stars with glowing recommendations (like I did when I found my current mechanic). They'll find out what's wrong. At least it's not the starter!

I had a "starter" problem last year. My shop finally determined that juice from the battery wasn't getting to the starter. The starter was fine (after 180k miles). Among other things they replaced the ignition switch. A competent shop can help you out, not your dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have owned a 2003 Element for about 10 years and it has been absolutely wonderful until this past year. I have had one problem after the other. The biggest issue is trouble starting the car. My local dealership replaced the starter twice and the car is still struggling to start at times. They said something seems to be draining the battery, but can't figure out what. I am also having trouble with opening the doors with my key. Could this be related? The dealership is trying get me to trade my car in, but I really love my element!
Thanks for the feedback! The dealership did a mult-point inspection. Below is the report I got. The starter cut relay was replaced along with the starter just last month. Since then, I have had my car towed twice when it would not start. Another thing I forgot to note, at night, I have noticed that all the lights on the dash no longer turn on or are delayed turning on. Perhaps, this is linked to the the battery? Maybe it is time to take it somewhere else. Honestly, I do not know a lot about cars, so trying to check things out myself would be a challenge.

204712
 

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Check your battery ground cable pigtail. It often gets frayed where it connects to the engine block. And that is hard to see location down under the air filter canister location. It would affect any high-current needs like starting the car and if really badly frayed, could affect the whole electrical system.

This one connects to the ground on the battery and then the drivers side body panel and the engine block. Often overlooked and with a 2003, I'd imagine it is shot. Any competent shop could also hack one together with new cables and fittings and maybe even make one better than the OEM. But this is the part. Easy fix if this is what the real problem is.

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My local dealership said something seems to be draining the battery, but can't figure out what. I had it towed to them multiple times when my car would not start.
 

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My local dealership said something seems to be draining the battery, but can't figure out what. I had it towed to them multiple times when my car would not start.
What was the voltage? Not doubting they told you that, but there are SEVERAL items that keep an Element from starting, besides the battery.
 

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Have you left any of the map lights on? That will drain the battery. We left ours on once for 2 days and it drained the battery.
 
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