A dead car battery is the worst thing to walk out to in the morning. It’s even more frustrating when you don’t understand why your car battery keeps dying.
In this guide we’ll cover some things you can do to figure out why your battery keeps draining and whether or not it needs replacement.
1. Dirty Battery Connections
Ensure that the connectors on your battery are firmly connected and clean. Dirt and corrosion are big culprits for causing the battery to have problems charging or drawing current from the battery.
Brush the battery posts with baking soda and tighten up the connections to ensure a solid connection.
2. The Alternator Needs Replacing
The alternator charges the battery while you drive. If your battery seems to not be getting charged and dies while driving, the alternator or alternator belt is likely the problem.
If you suspect the alternator may be the problem with your vehicle, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for further evaluation.
3. Lights Left On
Check to ensure that any lights aren’t remaining on when leaving your vehicle parked. An undetected dome or glove box light that stays on when it shouldn’t, can drain your car battery overnight.
Have a look at your vehicle at nighttime to see if you can spot any lights illuminated in or on the vehicle.
4. Faulty Electronics Installation
If the vehicle has had an auto-start system, alarm, or third-party stereo system installed, it may be draining the battery. Check to ensure these items are properly wired and installed correctly.
Auto-start and alarm systems drain a small amount of power from the battery no matter what. This drain is amplified during cold weather. This can result in a rapid battery discharge.
If there is a switch to turn off your auto-start or alarm system during inclement weather, you may want to use it to cut power.
5. The Battery is Done
Car batteries don’t last forever. They typically can last about 5 years depending on the weather conditions.
Look for a battery health indicator. Some newer vehicles have this feature. The indicator is usually a small colored circle located on the cover to the battery. If the indicator is green, the battery is detected as good. If it’s read, the battery is low. If it’s black, the battery is done and can no longer be used.
Use a multimeter to test the battery after it has been fully charged. Set the multimeter to 12V and connect red to positive and black to negative. A healthy and fully charged battery should display around 12 volts. If the voltage is below 11, your battery might have a bad cell.
If you don’t own a multimeter, many auto-part stores or battery stores like Interstate Battery will test your battery for you.
I hope this guide has helped you with troubleshooting steps in determining why your car battery keeps dying.