Why Your Car Battery Keeps Dying

6 Reasons Your Car Battery Keeps Dying

It can be tempting to write off a dead car battery as an accident. However, car batteries can fail for many reasons. First, of course, there’s always the chance that whatever went wrong won’t go wrong again. But If your car battery keeps dying, you can be sure that an underlying problem needs to be fixed before it lands you in more significant trouble.

Why Do Car Batteries Die?

Many problems can cause a car’s battery to go dead. However, almost every battery problem can be grouped into electrical system problems, battery problems, and user errors. While some of these issues can be handled at home, others may require you to visit your mechanic. Unfortunately, however, there is no way to know for sure until you get started.

It is important to remember that most people who talk about a dead battery refer to a situation in which the vehicle doesn’t start when it is parked. If your car battery keeps dying while you’re driving down the road, it’s more likely that you have a problem with the charging system.

What Causes a Car Battery to Keep Dying?

A car battery can die from various reasons, including corroded or loose connections, persistent electrical drains and charging problems, a constant demand for more power than the alternator can provide, extreme weather, and other factors. Some of these problems are enough to kill a battery, while others are usually coupled with an already weak battery or on its last legs.

1. Headlights or dome lights left on​​​.

  • Headlights, or even a very dim dome light, will drain a battery dead overnight.
  • Make sure to check for any interior lights when it’s dark outside.
  • Some headlights are designed to remain on for a while, but a malfunctioning system may leave them on permanently.

2. Battery in weak or poor condition.

  • ​A poorly maintained or weak battery may not hold a charge very well.
  • Even small drains, like the memory function in your car radio, may kill a very weak battery.

3. Corroded or loose battery connections.

  • ​Corroded battery connections can prevent the charging system from topping off your battery when you are driving.
  • Loose battery connections can also cause problems.

4. Other parasitic drains in the electrical system.

  • ​Parasitic drains can be difficult to find, but they are fully capable of killing batteries dead.
  • Common drains include glove boxes and trunk lights that come on or remain on when they shouldn’t.

5. Extremely hot or cold temperatures.

  • Hot or cold weather won’t kill a battery that’s new or in good shape, but a weak or old battery may fail in extreme conditions.
  • Extremely hot or cold weather can also magnify other underlying issues.

6. Charging system problems.

  • If a battery seems to die when you’re driving, the charging system may be at fault.
  • Loose or stretched belts and worn tensioners can prevent an alternator from working.

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Checking Headlights, Dome Lights, and Other Accessories

Car batteries are intended to power headlights and dome lights when the engine is off. However, they have minimal capacities. If any accessories are left on after the engine has shut down, the car battery almost keeps dying.

If you leave the headlights on, it can cause a weak battery to die. This is true even for a quick task such as grocery shopping. But even a small interior light can quickly drain a battery. So it’s worth looking at your battery in the dark, especially if it has been going flat for a while.

Many newer vehicles can also be left on the radio, dome lights, and headlights for a while, even after the engine is turned off. You can safely leave a vehicle with this setup if everything works properly. The engine will then shut off automatically. However, if things like the headlights still work after an hour, your car battery probably keeps dying.

Maintaining and Testing a Car Battery

If there is nothing obvious (e.g., headlights or a dome lamp left on), you need to check the battery. You can prevent many battery problems with essential maintenance. However, a poorly maintained battery won’t last as long as it used to.

If your battery has not been sealed properly, you should ensure each cell is filled with electrolytes. Electrolyte levels may have dropped to the bottom of the lead plates if you inspect the cells.

If you have distilled water nearby, the best way to top off your battery is to use it. But it’s OK to go straight into the tap. You can also test your battery with an inexpensive tool called a hydrometer, which allows you to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell. If the voltage of one or more cells drops after fully charging it, then the battery may need to be replaced.

You can also check the battery with a more expensive load tester tool. This tool puts a load on the battery that simulates the draw of a starter motor and allows you to see both the loaded and unloaded battery voltage. In addition, it will enable you to see both the charged and unloaded battery voltage. Many shops and parts stores will free test your battery if you don’t have a load tester. Others may charge a fee.

You should remember that batteries can explode if they are not correctly sized. Therefore, it is important to wear protective gear when working with batteries.

Checking for Loose or Corroded Car Battery Connections

If you visually inspect your battery, corrosion may be visible around the cables and connectors. Sometimes the corrosion is not visible, but you might see large white, green, or blue blooms of corroded material.
Corrosion between the connectors on your cable and battery terminals will cause the starter motor to stop drawing current from the battery. This will also affect the battery’s ability to top off the charging system.

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Removing Corrosion From Battery Connections and Cables

You can clean battery corrosion with water, baking soda, and a stiff-bristled scrubber. However, you must be careful not to get baking soda in the battery cells. It is also important to remember that if you allow corrosion and baking soda to remain on your garage’s floor or driveway, it can cause a stain that is either difficult or impossible to remove.

It is possible to remove corrosion from the cable connectors and terminals of batteries with sandpaper or other specially designed tools. These tools often take the form of wire brushes and are very simple to use. After using one of these tools will see a brighter, cleaner battery terminal and a better electrical connection.

It is also important that the battery connections are tight. If the battery cables become loose, there’s a good chance that you have located a big part of your problem.

If you can track your ground and battery cables to the frame and starter, fuse box, or junction block, you will need to ensure they are clean and free from corrosion.

Checking for a Parasitic Drain

If your car battery keeps dying repeatedly, one of the most straightforward explanations is that some drain on the system persists after you remove the keys and lock the doors. So even if you’ve already ruled out obvious things like the headlights and dome light, there may still be a drain in your system.

To check for a drain, disconnect the battery cable and examine the current flow. You should use the highest amperage setting if you are using a multimeter. If you do not, your meter could blow an expensive fuse. Some meters have an inductive clamp that checks for current flow and disconnects nothing.

You can also use a test lamp to check for a drain, but it is less precise. The same procedure is used to check for a drain. Disconnect the negative battery cable, and then complete a circuit connecting the ground and the negative terminal. If the test lamp illuminates, there may be a drain in your system.

The downside to using a test lamp is that it can be challenging to see how much drain is presently based on the brightness of the light.

A parasitic drain can occur in the trunk, glove box, or other malfunctioning lights. These lights and any other interior lights should shut off automatically, and if they do not, they can drain a battery overnight.

In most cases, the only way to track down a parasitic drain is through a process of elimination. The easiest way to go about this diagnostic is to leave your multimeter or test light connected and remove individual fuses until the drain disappears. You will then need to identify the corresponding circuit, which will help you track down the specific component causing a problem.

Dealing With Extreme Weather, Charging System Problems, and Weak Batteries

However, extreme hot or cold weather can cause battery problems. This will only happen if the battery has already become weak. If your battery tests OK and you are sure that the connections are secure and clean, the weather should not affect it.
Problems with the charging system can also lead to a battery dying repeatedly. However, you will often notice some level of drivability problems as well. You can easily check the alternator belt at home. It should not be loose and crack-free. If the belt seems loose, it may prevent the alternator from generating enough power to charge the battery and running everything else.

What If Your Battery Keeps Dying When Driving?

If it seems like your car battery keeps dying while you’re driving, the root problem probably isn’t the battery. The purpose of a car battery is to power the starter motor and provide electricity to run accessories like lights and your radio when the engine is off. Once the engine is running, the charging system takes over. So if you feel like your car battery keeps dying while the engine is running, this could indicate problems with your charging systems.

The belt is the only part of the charging system that you can check or test without special equipment. If your alternator belt is loose, you may be able to tighten it. You may also have a belt that uses an automatic tensioner, which can also be a problem. Belts can also stretch with age.

The Trouble With Checking a Charging System at Home

You can technically test the output of an alternator using a multimeter that has an inductive clamp. But this type of diagnostic is complicated without more specialized tools and knowledge of the alternator. For instance, attempting to test an alternator by disconnecting a battery cable while the engine is running is not good if you drive a modern vehicle.

While some parts shops and repair shops offer a free test, others may charge a fee. First, however, it is important to understand two types of tests: a quick test or a more in-depth diagnostic that gets to the root cause.

Most cases where an alternator doesn’t charge and the engine stops working are caused by a bad alternator. But there are many reasons an alternator might not be charging when the car is being driven. There are also other reasons an engine could stop functioning.

How to Keep Your Car Battery From Repeatedly Dying

Although every battery eventually will die, it is important to maintain the battery’s life and keep it in good shape. If your battery dies repeatedly, the lifespan of your battery will likely be shorter.
It is possible to extend the life of your battery by maintaining a high level of corrosion prevention, keeping the connections tight, and not allowing electrolytes to drop from non-sealed batteries.
Although there is not much you can do about sudden parasitic drains, they can be fixed quickly to prolong your battery’s life. If the weather is unusually cold or you don’t plan to be driving your car for long periods, a battery tender can help.

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Bottom Line

I am sure the above article properly answered all your questions. Meanwhile, it’s essential to know that while exiting your car, always make sure to turn off all accessories and lock the car doors. Check your battery connectors regularly to make sure they aren’t loose. If you continue to experience problems with your car’s battery, call your local car service provider.

It is vital always to turn off all accessories and lock the car doors while exiting your car. Also, check your battery connectors regularly to ensure they aren’t loose. Finally, call your local car service provider if your car battery keeps dying. I am sure the above content correctly answered all your questions.

FAQs on Reasons Your Car Battery Keeps Dying

How do I find out what’s draining my car battery?

Pull the negative off the battery. Put the test light between the post and the ground wire. If the light illuminates, you have a draw. Use the fuse pull method to find the draw; when the light goes out, you found the draw.

Why does my battery keep dying if my alternator is good?

A short circuit can cause a high current draw and battery drain. Check for loose or worn alternator belts, circuit faults (loose, disconnected, or broken wires), or faults in the alternator charging system. Excessive use of the battery at start-up can also be caused by engine operating problems.

How do I know if my alternator is draining my battery?

A battery test is easy to perform and can be done at home. First, open the hood and start the car. While the engine is running, remove the negative cable from the battery. If the vehicle stalls or dies, the alternator is likely bad.

What would cause a car battery to drain overnight?

A car battery that dies after sitting for a few days will either need replacing due to age or be suffering from a parasitic drain. A badly wired radio, a faulty relay, or a phone charger left plugged in could all be drawing power from the battery while the car is sitting.


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The content on this site is posted with good intentions. If you own this content & believe your copyright was violated or infringed, make sure you contact us at [techqlik1(@)gmail(dot)com] and actions will be taken immediately.

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