After having the best night ever with promising dreams, you wake up smiling and head to the window to gaze at how bright the days seems to be. You look at your watch and alas, you are already late for work. You prepare yourself hurriedly, take your office bag and car key and rush to your car. You stick the key in the ignition, turn it and nothing happens. You turn the key again and still, nothing happens other than a series of clicks. You realize that the battery is dead making the engine unresponsive and headlights dim.
A car battery is a very important gear in a car. Besides sending power from the starter motor to the sparks plugs to ignite the car’s fuel, car battery gives other systems power such as air conditioning, radio, lights and more. But how does a car battery drain? Basically, the last thing you’d want is your car battery to die when you seriously need to get somewhere within the shortest time possible. Keep scrolling and learn about 8 most common reasons that could make your car battery to be drained.
Humans are to error and after having a stressful day, you head home feeling tired and exhausted and the only thing you want is to have a warm bath and go to bed. In that process, you fail to close the trunk completely, forget to turn off the headlights, or forget about some internal lights, where the car battery will continue sending power to your car all night until it’s drained off energy and, in the morning, it won’t start. Even though some cars will alert you when you leave lights on, they won’t notify you about other components and therefore, your car battery will be drained.
Parasitic drain is experienced when various components of your car keep drawing power from a 12V system even after completely removing the key. Well, given that your battery delivers enough energy to keep things like the power locks, radio presets, security alarm, and clock operational all the time, some parasitic drain is therefore normal. Nevertheless, in case of a faulty electrical system like poor installation, faulty wiring and defective fuses, larger systems could be running even after turning your car off, and this may drain your car battery.
Faulty charging systems can make your car battery to drain even when you are driving. Basically, many cars power their radio, lights as well as other different systems from the alternator and in case of a charging problem, the battery can drain excessively. The alternator is very important, and, in any case, it has worn-out tensioners or loose belts, it doesn’t work as it should.
Another cause of battery failure is related to the alternator. When your car is in a good condition, the alternator converts engine power into electricity thus supplying electrical power to primary systems. It is this power that recharges the battery to ensure it has enough power to start your car. If the alternator fails as a result of a bad diode, the battery drains over and over again as you try hard to start your car and once it fails, it may require you to jump start your car.
If you leave your car in extremely hot temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or too cold under 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it may cause the build-up of lead sulfate crystals which can affect the lifespan of your battery. Also, if you use your car on short distances under these conditions, the battery may take a longer time to charge.
Excessive short drives
It goes without saying that different people buy cars for different reasons and if yours is intended for short drives along the neighborhood, be warned that you can wear out your battery before its time. This is because when starting your car, the battery seems to put out most power and shutting it off before the alternator recharges is the reason why your battery may die.
Corroded or loose battery cables
If the connections on your battery have corroded, the charging system is affected and can’t top off the battery when driving. Again, if the battery cables are loose, they ability to transfer electrical current is affected too and this makes it difficult to start the engine. Battery cables should, therefore, be checked regularly; clean them using a cloth in case they are dirty/corroded or fix them if loose.
Car batteries are not manufactured to stay forever. As a matter of fact, most of them have a lifespan of five years. Old car batteries cannot deliver the power the engine needs to start. After using your car battery regularly for a long time, it encounters buckling of lead-acid plates, loss of water, and plate corrosion, all of which affect its ability to hold the charge. If you want to be on the safe side, replace your car battery after 3-4 years.
If you are a car owner, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a dead car battery at the worse possible moment and if you are lucky enough not to have experienced it, one day you might. Without a shadow of a doubt, a dead car battery is frustrating and because it can be tricky to figure out where the problem is, it’s recommendable to consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose and take care of the problem to enhance your driving experience.