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Why Do Car Batteries Drain & What To Do About It?

Frustrating and time-consuming.

These are two feelings associated with an empty battery. If it happens frequently, the consequences for the driver can be even worse.

In most cases, keeping your lights or electronics on is one of the most frequent causes of an empty battery. If you leave the lights or devices on for a long time, this can drain the battery. Before you switch off the engine and exit your car, turn off all lights and gadgets to avoid this.

Why Do Car Batteries Go Empty?

An issue with the alternator is yet another typical cause of an empty battery. While the engine is operating, the alternator is in charge of charging the battery; if it isn't working right, the battery may not be recharged and may finally expire. Visit a mechanic to check your alternator if you suspect it is not working as it should be.

A third common reason for an empty battery is cold weather. Cold weather can reduce the battery's ability to hold a charge and can even cause the battery to freeze, which can be highly damaging. Keep your battery charged adequately during the winter months. Also, consider installing a battery blanket to keep it warm.

An aging battery can also be a reason for an empty battery. Car batteries naturally lose their ability to hold a charge and will eventually need to be replaced. The best way to deal with this is by having your battery checked regularly and replaced if necessary.

Another reason for an empty battery is a parasitic load, which is essentially an electrical load that is still drawing power from the battery, even when the vehicle is turned off. It can be caused by electronics that continue to draw power, such as an alarm system or a GPS device. To prevent this from happening, make sure to turn off or disconnect any electronics that are not in use and have them checked by a mechanic if you suspect they are causing a parasitic load.

Lastly, an empty battery can be caused by a loose or corroded battery cable, preventing the battery from being charged or delivering power to the vehicle. If you don’t want a scenario like this, make sure to regularly inspect your battery cables and clean them if necessary, and have them replaced if they are damaged or corroded.

What To Do With A Drained Car Battery?

If your car battery is drained, there are several steps you can take to get it working again:

  1. Jumpstart the battery: If your battery is completely dead, you can jump-start it using another car or a portable jump starter. Simply connect the positive and negative cables from the jump starter to the corresponding battery terminals on your car, then start the car with the working battery to transfer power to your battery.
  2. Charge the battery: If you do not have access to a jump starter, you can charge the battery using a battery charger. Simply connect the charger to the battery terminals and let it set for several hours.
  3. Check for a parasitic load: A parasitic load is an electrical load that continues to draw power from the battery even when the car is turned off. To check for a parasitic load, turn off all the electronics in your car and remove the key from the ignition. Then, use a multimeter to test the voltage of the battery. If the voltage is still decreasing, there may be a parasitic load.
  4. Check the alternator: If your battery continues to drain even after you have checked for a parasitic load, the alternator may not be functioning correctly and may not be recharging the battery while the engine is running. Have a mechanic check the alternator to ensure it is working correctly.
  5. Clean the battery terminals: Dirt, grease, and corrosion on the battery terminals can all prevent the battery from charging. Take action by cleaning the battery terminals and cables with a wire brush and baking soda, and water solution.
  6. Replace the battery: If your carbattery is old or has been damaged, it may need to be replaced. Take the battery to an auto parts store or mechanic to have it tested and replaced if necessary.

An empty battery can be caused by various factors, including leaving your lights or electronics on, a problem with the alternator, cold weather, an aging battery, a parasitic load, and a loose or corroded battery cable.

The goal is to understand these reasons and take steps to prevent them. That way, you can reduce the risk of an empty battery and ensure that your vehicle is always ready to go when you need it.