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7 Reasons Why Your Car Battery Keeps Dying
Car batteries are designed to be robust. This means, that in a perfect world, they last for a very, very long time. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Over time, batteries are susceptible to becoming damaged and losing performance. When the problem gets really dire, the battery will completely die.
Keep on reading to learn about the top 7 reasons why car batteries run out of juice and die. And what to do about it if you find yourself with a dead car battery and your car won’t start.
The Headlights Are Left On
If you have a more modern car, you probably don’t ever have to worry about this. Modern vehicles use sensors to detect when the car’s headlights should be turned on and off.
However, for those of us who still have to turn our headlights on and off manually, leaving the headlights on after parking and leaving the car is the leading cause for accidental dead batteries.
Because headlights run off electrical power, if they are left on, they still stay on until they are shut off, or until the battery dies from powering them for too long without being recharged.
If you forget to turn your headlights off frequently, consider placing a sticky note on the dash where it can remind you to check that the lights are off when you leave your car parked at night.
The Battery Connections are Loose or Corroded
There are two terminals on the top of every car battery, one positive and one negative. Over time, these terminals can jostle themselves loose, especially if you spend a lot of time driving over bump roads and uneven terrain.
If the battery terminals come loose, your car will no longer receive the electrical power it requires from the battery. This will result in not being able to start the car, or even stalling out once the car has been started.
Terminals are also susceptible to becoming corroded. Corrosion occurs slowly overtime as a result of being exposed to the elements. The good news is, with regular cleanings and maintenance, battery corrosion is 100% manageable and avoidable.
The Battery Will Not Charge While You Drive
In order for your car to start, it needs an electrical spark to begin the combustion process. That is where the battery comes into play.
Once the car has started and is running, the battery then relies on the alternator to keep it charging while the car operates. Sometimes, with a dysfunctional alternator, the car battery will not charge while you drive.
If your car does not start, even after you just driving it, then chances are, the car battery is not being recharged, and therefore you are experiencing a problem with the alternator.
You Have a “Parasitic Draw” Occurring
Even after we shut our cars off, certain electrical devices still drain small amounts of power from the battery. Items like the radio, clock and electrical alarm system all slowly drain the battery. Fortunately, none of these things are able to completely kill the battery.
On the other hand, there are other parasitic draws that can suck the life out of the battery after the car has been turned off.
Common parasitic draws are:
When your car is turned off, the alternator cannot charge the battery, so many larger electrical drains are left on, the battery can die over time.
Extreme Heat or Cold Can Kill Your Battery
Extreme weather can also give your car battery a run for its money. The good news is that newer batteries tend to have a better resistance to weather related drainages.
However, over time, aging batteries become more and more susceptible to extreme heat and icy cold.
If you live in an area that experiences really hot summers, or freezing winters, then you might run into this problem often. Covered parking is nice to keep your car out of the elements, and always having jumper cables during the winter is a must.
Too Many Short Drives
Starting and the car drains the battery more than most people think. But this is often not a problem because the alternator will charge the car while you drive it around.
However, if you take too many short drives, there’s a chance that your battery will not get the time to recharge that it needs. This is especially an issue for older batteries.
If you know that your lifestyle requires frequent and short drives, consider mixing in a longer drive every once in a while to give the alternator time to charge the battery more fully. This could mean taking the scenic route to work, or heading out of town for lunch on the weekend.
The Battery is Simply Too Old
Nothing lasts forever. This much is true for car batteries as well. Even though they are designed to last a long time, eventually, car batteries become old. When this occurs, they begin to lose their performance. And when a car battery is in really dire shape, it may struggle to hold a charge completely.
A car battery is designed to last around 5 years. However, frequent short trips, extreme weather and lack of battery maintenance can shorten its life span. If your battery doesn’t hold a charge and keeps dying, it may just be time to invest in a new one.
What To Do If Car Battery is Dead
If you find yourself with a dead battery, there are a few things you can do to try and fix it.
Check the battery connections and terminals
Jumpstart the battery with another car and jumper cables
Call a roadside assistance service provider
Purchase and replace the old battery
Hire a professional for an inspection
If you are unsure what to do, you can rely on us to help you out. If you are struggling with car battery-related problems, contact us, and we will help back you back on the road.