Minivan + kids + interior lights = dead battery

Our family vehicle is a Honda Odyssey. The dome lights are toggle switches. Push the light, it’s on. Push again, it’s off. There’s no visible way to tell which position it’s in. If a child pushes the light and it gets left on, the next morning we have no minivan until after a date with Mr. Battery Charger. Since the kids were able to reach the dome lights, we’ve been vigilant. There are ways to be vigilant. We’ve tried:

  1. Exit the vehicle. Close all doors. Lock with the remote so interior lights turn off. Peer inside to see if any lights are on.
  2. Disable interior lights entirely with switch on dash.
  3. Re-enable interior lights, but forbid children from ever, ever, ever touching the light switches.

The third solution works most of the time. On Nov 3rd, I gave some neighbor kids a ride home from school. When they got out, one of them pushed the light switch to turn it off. The lights don’t turn off when the door is opened, so nothing happened. The child exited the van. Having trained my kids not to touch the switches, I didn’t perform #1. On Nov. 4th, we biked to school while Mrs. Odyssey and Mr. Charger hooked up.

On Nov. 5th, I found this post on the OdyClub site, detailing the LED bulbs another Honda owner ordered from China and installed in his Odyssey. I paid $28 for the following ten LED bulbs, shipped: (1) 51109, (4) #51002, (2) 35725, (1) 34641, and (1) #34608. When they arrived a couple weeks later, I installed them in about 15 minutes.

Last night, both kids were reading books on the ride home from swim classes. Both kids left their interior lights on. Both parents failed to notice. This morning, I opened the garage and saw the lights on. I smiled. When I got in, the van started. Mission accomplished.

2 thoughts on “Minivan + kids + interior lights = dead battery”

  1. Had this exact same issue with our Odyssey! The kids are relatively well trained now. Only the problem has escalated for different reasons. Our passenger side slider doesn’t quite close all the way and if we don’t shut off the lights AND the auto door switch we wake up to a dead battery. It has happened 3 times the last couple weeks! Those sliders are ‘spensive to have fixed… but a couple more dead batteries in 20 degree weather may change my mind!

  2. I’ve heard them sliding doors cost a fortune to fix. I’m not thrilled to hear it, because I have one that isn’t behaving. My doors close fine, but one doesn’t like to open fully. It often requires a little extra shove to got that last 1/4″. Otherwise, the sensor doesn’t register it as being fully opened, so the remote key fob won’t close it and neither will pulling the handle.

    The LED upgrade is a winner though. Now we let the kids use their lights any time, and they do!

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