There are few things that are more frustrating than a dead vehicle battery, especially when you have somewhere important to be. Is there anything more annoying than already being late to work only to get in your car or truck, turn the key, then nothing? When your engine refuses to turn over as you turn the key, chances are you most likely have a dead car battery. Dead batteries are frustrating and inconvenient, but the good news is they can be avoided. In order to prevent a dead car battery, you must first know what can cause it. Here are some of the most common things that can drain a vehicle battery.
1. The Lights Were Left On
Almost all drivers will at some point in their lives forget to turn off their headlights or an internal light, or they will fail to close their trunk or a door all the way, leaving other vehicle lights on. These electrical components use battery power to stay on and, if left on for a long period of time or overnight, will drain your car battery. Many vehicles today will alert you if you have left your headlights on or will automatically shut them off after a certain amount of time, but if your vehicle does not have this feature, or if you leave a light on other than your headlights, the lights will stay on until they completely drain your car battery.
2. There Is a Parasitic Drain on Your Car or Truck Battery
Your car battery can continue to run some electrical components, such as the clock, radio, and security alarm, even after the key is turned off. These alone should not use enough power to drain your car battery. However, faulty wiring, defective fuses, or incorrect installation can cause electrical problems that create a parasitic drain on your battery. This parasitic drain is more than your battery can handle without being recharged by the engine, so you will likely end up with a dead car battery. If you suspect your car may have a parasitic drain, tell your auto mechanic so they can check your electrical wiring.
3. Your Vehicle Battery Is Not Charging Correctly
When you are driving, your alternator is both powering your car’s electrical components and charging your car battery. If the alternator is not working properly, then the battery will not charge and can experience battery drain, sometimes even while you are driving. If your car has difficulty starting, even if you were just driving, then the charging system may be the culprit. This can be the result of a defective alternator diode, loose belts, or worn-out tensioners in the alternator. An auto mechanic will be able to diagnose the cause of your charging problem and fix it for you.
4. Your Vehicle Battery Connections are Corroded or Loose
The cables connected to your car battery can jostle and become loose over time, and corrosion can build up on your battery connections. When these connections are loose or corroded, the battery will not be able to efficiently receive and transmit power. This means your car battery will not be able to get completely recharged while you are driving, leading to battery drain and potentially a dead car battery. You should regularly check your battery connections to make sure they do not come loose or become corroded. If you notice any sign of corrosion, you should clean it as soon as you can.
5. You Are Only Driving Short Distances
Your car battery is charged by the alternator while you are driving. If you only drive short distances, the alternator will not have time to fully recharge your battery before you shut the engine off. Your car battery works the hardest to start your engine, so it is still having to exert a lot of power each time you turn your key for a short drive. When you consistently do not drive long enough to recharge your battery, you will probably find that you frequently have a dead car battery. Frequent short drives can also reduce the lifespan of your car battery in the long run.
6. Temperatures Are Extremely High or Extremely Low
Extreme temperatures can cause problems for your car battery. When temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit or fall below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, lead sulfate crystals can start to build up. If your car stays in these extreme conditions for too long, this buildup can affect your battery life. Your car battery can take longer to charge, have an extremely short battery life after charging, or even simply fail. If you take your car for short drives while temperatures are very high or low, then you are likely to experience a dead car battery, especially if the battery is older.
7. Your Car Battery is Old
Like most things in life, your car battery has an expiration. As time goes on, your battery experiences wear and becomes weaker. There are a number of factors that determine the lifespan of your car battery, including where you live, how you drive, and maintenance habits. In general, most car batteries will last around 3 or 4 years. However, if poorly maintained, the lifespan will be much shorter. When your battery gets old and weak, you may get a dead car battery on a regular basis. If your car battery dies quickly and frequently, then it may be time to replace it.
Certified Auto and Diesel Mechanic in Knoxville, TN
If you are having vehicle battery issues, an experienced auto mechanic can determine the cause of the problem and provide you with the solution to correct it. Here at Certified Diesel Solutions, our expert team of certified auto mechanics and diesel mechanics can handle any vehicle issue you may be having, from battery drain problems to brake issues to major engine repairs. We also provide preventative maintenance services to ensure your vehicle is always running as smoothly and safely as possible. To schedule service with an experienced auto and diesel mechanic, reach out to Certified Diesel Solutions today at 865-964-6598 or online.