Why Does My Car Battery Keep Dying? How To Diagnose This Common Battery Problem
If your car battery keeps dying, then you need to pay attention, especially if you just bought a new battery.
Don’t you hate it when your car refuses to start in the morning because of a drained battery? We hate it as much as you do.
Unfortunately, this problem can be caused by many reasons such as an old battery that needs to be replaced, or something more serious such as a dead or faulty alternator.
The electrical system is actually the lifeblood of your car, and your car battery is the main ingredient that powers the entire system. If your car battery keeps dying, or if the battery is always weak, this article will explain how to diagnose and fix car battery problems.
How To Diagnose And Fix A Car Battery That Keeps Dying
Here are the probable reasons why your car battery is always dying:
1. Old Battery
If your car battery is more than 3 or 4 years old, then it’s probably time to replace it. Old batteries are incapable of holding a strong charge, which also means that they won’t be able to supply a strong current for the electrical system of your vehicle.
Pop open the hood to visually inspect the car battery. Do you see cracks or bulges on the battery case? If you do, then it’s time to buy a new battery.
Keep in mind that car batteries have a normal useful like of 2 years, and you should replace the car battery every 2 or 2 ½ years. This will help you avoid any problems later on.
2. Faulty Alternator
The alternator is a crucial part of the electrical system. It charges the battery as you drive the car, and it keeps your battery in optimal form. Without the alternator, you can still drive the car, and you can still probably start the vehicle once. But you won’t be able to use the lights, radio, A/C, and the power windows.
If you have a new battery but it is constantly weak, you might have to go to a mechanic and have the alternator checked or replaced.
3. Multiple Short Drives
Taking multiple short drives will do more harm than good. Your car battery supplies power to the ignition system, which is the system that actually starts the engine. This takes a lot of power to accomplish, and it puts a lot of strain on your car battery.
If you keep starting and stopping the vehicle before the alternator gets a chance to fully charge the battery, then you will always end up with a weak battery, which makes it harder to crack the engine the next time you start the car.
4. Extreme Hot And Cold Temperatures
Your car battery is not immune to extreme hot and cold. In fact, extreme heat and cold is the killer of all batteries.
Temperatures above 100 degrees or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees or -12 degrees Celsius) can be excruciating to your car battery. If you operate your vehicle in extreme weather conditions, it will take a lot of time for the battery to achieve a full charge, especially if you constantly take short drives.
5. Parasitic Drain
Extreme parasitic drain is caused by a faulty electrical system. However, keep in mind that small parasitic drain is considered normal. Your battery needs to supply a low voltage current to the clock, radio presets, and the alarm system even when the car is parked or if the engine is turned off.
But faulty wiring, defective fuses, and improper installation of accessories can cause extreme parasitic drain, which is one of the major causes of why your battery keeps dying all the time. If this is the case, have a trusted mechanic check your electrical system to rule out extreme parasitic drain.
6. Loose Battery Cables
The battery connections should be tight, and the terminals should be free from dirt and acidic corrosion. Loose battery cables will make it hard to start the engine, which you might interpret as a dying or weak battery.
Check the battery connections and make sure that they are screwed on tight. If you see dirt or signs of corrosion on the battery terminals, clean the terminals using an old toothbrush or cloth.
7. Human Error
Leaving the headlights on, or leaving the trunk open will discharge your car battery. The same goes for the interior lights and the radio of your car.
Check to make sure that all vehicle accessories are turned off before locking the vehicle. Make sure that the headlights and the park lights are turned off, and make sure that the trunk is secure before leaving your car in the garage or parking lot.
Early Warning Signs Of A Defective Car Battery
Things don’t happen in an instant. If your car battery is dying, here are the warning signs that you should watch out for:
1. Hard Starting
If you find it hard to start your vehicle, then you most probably have a weak battery. Of course, hard starting can also be caused by fouled spark plugs or a sensor problem. But in the absence of any mechanical problems, hard starting is usually caused by a weak or dying battery.
2. Flickering Lights
If you notice that your instrument panel is dimming while driving at night, and if you see that your headlights are flickering, then you probably have a weak or dying battery.
3. Weak Alarm System
If your vehicle is equipped with an alarm or immobilizer system, and you notice that the alarm chirp is getting weaker, or if the central locks are weak, then you probably have a defective battery.
Now you know what to check if you notice that your battery keeps dying all the time. If you have an old battery, then replacing it with a new one will probably solve your problem.
But if you have a new battery that keeps dying, then the problem might be a bad alternator or a faulty electrical system. If this is the case, have your car checked by a qualified mechanic to correct the problem.