What happens when a car battery dies? Well, a lot of things, most important being that you cannot even start your car to do the most important tasks for the rest of the day. The battery is a most essential component of a car in that without it, your automobile might as well sit as idle decoration.
Of course, cars need that initial spark to get its engine going and to eventually serve its purpose: taking you to places you need to be. Most of the time, drivers take the battery for granted. But it helps to pay attention to signs that say your battery is about to die.
First of all because it causes less hassle to your schedule and of course, you can also anticipate and make the necessary steps to replace your battery before it causes you real trouble.
What Factors That Your Battery Is dead?
1. Your Battery Drains Resources Even When The Ignition Is Turned Off
As you may already know, some components of your car actually constantly drain a portion of your car battery even when the ignition is turned off. That drain in power is needed to keep your car’s clock on time, and also to keep your radio presets stored. Of course, this drain is also responsible for keeping the security alarm system on your car active.
Now, this drain normally just takes up a portion of your battery, and not enough to drain an entire full charge even for hours. This makes sense design-wise, as it would not be economically viable to have a security alarm that completely drains the battery every time you leave the car overnight.
However, if there is an underlying electrical problem, be it with the circuits in your car or the battery itself, this drain may be amplified to levels that may leave your battery dead after a few hours of being idle. If this is the case, you should take the car to a mechanic for them to check possible solutions regarding this draining problem.
2. Bad Charging Problem
Car batteries usually get charged while driving, that is, when the engine is running. Now, when the charging system of the car does not work properly, chances are that the battery will be drained even while the car is running. Worst case scenario is that your car will be stalled in the middle of a highway without any chance of it starting again. You may need a tow or at least boost when this happens.
The car’s radio, lights, dashboard, and almost any other component on the car relies on the battery in some way, so a bad charging problem can drain the battery’s resources significantly, without it getting the charge it needs to sustain the supply.
3. Alternator Diode Problem
This is similar to the previously mentioned problem, as the alternator is usually the component that recharges the battery. Now, this bad charging problem can manifest in a number of ways, but sometimes, it pays to check if the diode of the alternator is working properly.
Opposite to the bad charging problem above (where problems persist when the car is running), a bad alternator diode will try and charge the battery when the car’s ignition is turned off. It is easy to see why this is bad; you may end up finding that your car is completely drained of power in the morning because of a defective alternator diode.
4. Your Battery Is Too Old
Sometimes there is just no other way of getting around it— your battery is old and needs to be replaced. It should go without saying that old batteries cannot really hold a full charge, thus making them unreliable for your day-to-day endeavors. Generally, a battery is considered old when it has run a lifespan of four to five years.
At about this time span you will notice signs indicating that your battery is suffering from good old wear and tear. It could be that your car cannot start consistently, or you have constant trouble getting it at full charge, or you may find that it needs constant recharging in such a short span of time. In any of these cases, replacing the car battery should be the top priority for you.
5. Good Old Human Error
Still sometimes, the reason for your battery woes is not any of these things. It could just be that you accidentally neglected the car’s systems and functions when you got off. Maybe you left the trunk partially open, or you forgot to turn off the headlights or the radio. In any case, this puts an unnecessary drain on the battery.
The solution: make it a habit to check that everything is closed or turned off every time you leave your car to park.
This problem usually does not present itself much nowadays, as newer cars have alarms that help signal the driver if they left some systems on unintentionally. However, for those who own older models, the force of habit will be the most reliable solution to prevent unnecessary battery draining due to human error.
Signs That The Your Battery May Be Dying
Earlier, it was discussed that one of the reasons the battery keeps draining itself out of charge is that it is old and needs replacement. It will be obvious come four or five years in the battery’s life that it needs replacement, but here are some early sings you can watch out for that may indicate your battery maybe in its final laps.
1. You Have A Hard Time Starting Your Engine
When a vehicle is completely stopped and turned off, the battery is the only thing that you rely on to get from idle to running. Starting a car engine all by itself requires a lot of power from the battery, and it would make sense to say that a good indicator of battery freshness is how easily you get to start your engine.
So when your battery is fresh, one turn of the ignition may be enough to get the car going. But if you find yourself having a hard time before you can get your car to run, it might be time to consider battery replacement. (Need to know how to install your car battery?).
2. Electrical Component Issues
Are the power windows not working? Is the radio producing garbled audio? Is the air conditioning system not cooling the interior enough? Chances are there might be problems with these individual components themselves that are worth a checkup.
However, if you find several electrical components all affected at the same time, it may be the other way around— you electrical stuff are fine, it’s just that the battery does not have enough juice to run them all simultaneously any more.
3. Never Ignore The Dashboard Warning Lights
In the course of your driving, you may have seen the “Check Engine” light turn on a couple or more times for the car. The meaning of this is fairly obvious: something is wrong with your engine and you should get that checked out.
Similarly, there is another dashboard light that looks like a battery, and when it lights up, it means that there may be a problem with a battery, as well. It could be that the battery is not being replenished correctly, or that the alternator or some other part of the car’s electrical system may be failing.
In cases like these, there is really little choice other than to go see your mechanic and have them check the situation of your car’s electrical systems.
4. Bulging Battery Cases
There is also a risk, while unintentional, of physically sabotaging the battery’s lifespan. An example of this is having the battery cases bulging, which is caused by certain temperature extremes, especially high heat like Florida. As many know, the cases contain chemical reactions that are required for the battery to provide energy, and the chemicals are susceptible to heat and cold, too.
In fact, batteries are sensitive to temperature that they must really be taken care of when planned to be stored in these extremes for so long. Be very careful when storing the car for a winter, as the coldness of the temperature may make the battery case swell and bulge. (Check if you need a good battery for cold winter).
Unfortunately, one the swelling happens to the extreme, the battery may become unrecoverable. This dead battery cannot be revived and your car will require a replacement.
Professional drivers should always care about what happens if my car battery is dead. Sometimes, the problems stemming from a dead battery can be easily prevented. However, in situations wherein battery failure cannot be avoided, it is good to have an experience that will help reduce the hassle, or even the panic, of being put into such a difficult situation.
You can try these dead car battery tricks if your automobile battery is dead!