If you’ve been asking yourself, “why does my battery keep dying?” here are all potential reasons for a dead battery:
- You left the headlights
- The battery is approaching the end of its lifetime
- The battery connections might be corroded or damaged
- There are some parasitic drains
- The temperature is extreme outside
- The charging system has a problem
It is OK for your battery to die one time, but it raises red flags when it dies multiple times in a row. Dealing with dead batteries is extremely challenging, especially if you're driving in the winter season and trying to get to work or probably drive the kids to school.
Dead battery problems might happen due to a variety of reasons add it can be a little tricky to determine the real causes. This article provides you with a detailed list of potential reasons for culprits that could drain your vehicle's battery. Furthermore, it helps you diagnose the problem to determine which culprit is the real cause of the problem.
Why does my battery keep dying? 6 potential reasons
Dead battery problems might happen before you start the vehicle or when you're riding the car. There are many potential causes for your battery to die. However, there are very common causes that could drain your vehicle's battery without you noticing. So let's take a closer look at what automotive experts recommend checking to help you answer that question, “why does my battery keep dying?”
1. You left the headlights
Have you ever been in a situation where you get off your vehicle at night and then come in the morning to discover that the battery is completely drained and you have difficulty starting your car? If you take a closer look inside the vehicle, you'll notice that the headlights were left turned on, or probably the radio wasn't turned off.
You might think that the headlights are very small components that won't drain the battery in a short time. However, that's not the case. In fact, many people reported that their batteries died just by the time they ran quick errands in a shopping or grocery store. However, if the issue comes from a smaller component like a Dome light, it might take overnight until you deal with a completely dead battery.
These simple mistakes and forgetting minor electric components turned on for a long time is a very common reason for your vehicle's battery to die. Therefore, to prevent dealing with this situation, you must take a second look and recheck your vehicle before leaving it at night to confirm that you didn't leave any of these components turned on.
If you were driving a modern vehicle, it might be equipped with certain sensors to keep some of the electric components turned on for some time until you walk away. For example, you might turn off the engine and look at the vehicle to see that the headlights are still on or probably the radio. Therefore, you don't have to worry, and you can walk away without warning that the battery will drain.
2. The battery is approaching the end of its lifetime
Batteries, like any other component in your car, are expected to expire or to break down at some point. Therefore, if you know that your battery is approaching about three to five years of its lifetime, it's probably time to change your vehicle's battery.
Even if the battery is in good condition or new, you might have problems with loose connections or some corrosion building up on the cables. Therefore, you must confirm that the cables are connected and tightened up before installing a new battery and spending a lot of money.
3. The battery connections might be corroded or damaged
The battery connections are responsible for transferring the electric current from the battery to the other electric components. Therefore, if these connections are not in good condition, it can be extremely hard for the battery to send an electric charge. Therefore, you will end up in a situation similar to a dead battery.
The battery connections can get damaged from normal wear and tear. The very common cause for battery connection issues is corrosion. If you look closely at the battery connections, you will see that a lot of corrosion can build up over time; therefore, the only way to get the battery going is to clean the corrosion.
4. There are some parasitic drains
Parasitic drains are also a very common cause of drains car batteries. Unfortunately, these drains can be extremely hard to detect, which means that you will need to consult your mechanic to determine where the real culprit is located.
5. The temperature is extreme outside
Temperature is a very important factor when it comes to your battery’s behavior. If the weather is extremely cold outside, there is a very high chance that the battery won't work fully, and the capacity and efficiency will drop significantly if the temperature drops below zero.
Similarly, hot weather is also not good because it can cause the internal liquids or the battery's internal components to expanded and damaged the external box. As a result, it's very common to deal with batteries problems during summer, not only during winter as we all know.
6. The charging system has a problem
Finally, if the battery doesn't receive the right amount of charge, it can easily die. In other words, you must confirm that the charging system doesn't have any problem. Problems with the charging system range from issues with the alternator to troubles with the tensioners or the belts.
Dead battery diagnostics: how to confirm what's draining my car battery?
As we indicated earlier, there are many potential reasons that could drain your vehicle's battery. Therefore, you cannot immediately, which is causing the issue. Let's take a closer look at how to diagnose your car's battery and confirmed the potential culprit:
1. Check the electrical accessories
Confirm that none of the electric components are left turned on. For example, look at the headlights, the dome lights, the radio, etc.
2. Check the battery terminals for corrosion
If you confirm that none of the electric components were left turned on overnight, the next step is to inspect the battery itself. First, take a look at the terminals and confirm that they're not corrupted. If they're corroded, that's probably what's going on and all you need to do is clean the corrosion if the battery connections are not damaged, as we indicated earlier.
If you confirm that the body connections don't have any breakage, you can go ahead and clean the corrosion using baking soda. As you clean the terminals, you must make sure that none of the baking gets inside the battery because it can damage it. Also, you must wipe off the surface is clearly so you don't leave any mixture of corrosion and baking soda on the terminals because it also can impact the transmission of electric current from the battery to the other electric components.
You can also use sandpaper to send out any remaining corrosion if it doesn't get cleaned with baking soda. Some designated tools help you send out the corrosion without damaging the battery or its terminals. You must follow all instructions to maintain a clean terminal without causing any issues that could cause you thousands of dollars down the road.
Finally, as you're cleaning the battery terminals and connections, take a visual inspection and confirm that the starter or the junction block doesn't have any most connections that could also contribute to draining your vehicle's battery and preventing you from starting the car.
3. Inspect the battery itself
However, if the connections and terminals are in good condition, the next step is to check the battery itself. First, inspect the battery visually and confirm that all the seals are in a spot and nothing is damaged before touching it. Sometimes when the battery has internal problems, you'll see that the seal or the box gets bigger and drains some internal liquid. If that happens, you must stay away from the battery and have an expert deal with it.
You can also test the battery using a load tester. If you want to invest or get access to the load tester, you can simply use the tool to confirm that the battery has no internal problem. If the tester said that the battery doesn't provide the necessary load or electric charge, it indicates that it's time to replace the vehicle's battery.
4. Diagnosis for parasitic drain
There are many small electric components in your vehicle that turn off immediately by themselves as you shut off the vehicle. However, there are some instances where you deal with internal malfunction preventing these components from turning off, and as a result, you end up with a drained battery. This is referred to as the parasitic drain.
There are many ways you can diagnose a prosthetic drain. You can either use a test light or probably disconnect the battery itself. When disconnecting the battery, make sure that no electric current runs in the quick vehicle using a multimeter.
If you confirm a prophetic dream in the vehicle, you must consult the mechanic and have him repair the issue before getting more complicated and costing you a lot of money.
5. Deal with extreme weather conditions
If you know that you're driving your vehicle in environments where the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold, it is important that you be proactive about this issue to prevent dealing with a dead battery. Therefore, before you ask the question, “why does my battery keep dying?” It is important to learn how to protect the battery during extreme weather conditions.
There are many ways you can protect the battery. For example, some people might use specific isolators to keep the battery temperature within a specific operating range. Others might have better, more innovative ideas that you can learn about from your mechanic.
6. Replace the expired battery
Finally, if the issue is a dead battery, you need to install a new one. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about expanding the lifetime of your car’s battery. Therefore, if you know that you're approaching about five years from the battery’s lifetime, then it's time now to install a new one.
The battery is one of the most critical components in any vehicle, whether driving a gasoline car or even an electric vehicle. Therefore, you must have a good working battery all the time to enjoy your driving experience and prevent dealing with difficulty starting your vehicles.
One of the first and most important questions you must always ask yourself is, “why does my battery keep dying?” This article walked you through all potential reasons behind a dead battery, including troubles with forgetting headlights turned on, expired batteries, parasitic drain, and issues with extreme weather conditions.
If your car has other major mechanical problems, you mustn't change the battery unless you compare repair costs to your vehicle's value. Therefore, if you realize that the repair costs are approaching 75 or more from the value of your vehicle, it is not worth investing in it and fixing it. Instead, you should find a potential buyer and use the money towards a better vehicle.
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