Throughout your life, there are a few things you are bound to experience at least once. Some of them are wonderful. Some — like a dead car battery — aren’t so pleasant. Occasionally needing a jump start for your vehicle isn’t a big deal, but if it is becoming a regular occurrence you’re probably wondering what the cause is. Here are a few of the top things that can drain your battery and how to handle them.
Oops! You Left the Lights On
Most newer model vehicles have automatic headlights and alerts for when you leave an interior light on. But if you leave a door ajar or forget to close the trunk after unloading the groceries, you might wake up to a drained car battery. In this case, you’ll just need to get a jump start and try to be more careful in the future.
Bad Connections or Short Drives
Whenever you crank up the engine, your alternator charges your battery. However, there are a few things that can interfere with the process. If your battery cables are loose or corroded, or your alternator has loose belts or a bad tensioner, your battery may not charge correctly. You could also be taking a lot of short trips that aren’t long enough for an adequate charging period. You can try leaving your car running to give the alternator time to charge. If that doesn’t fix the issue, get a professional to take a look at your charging system.
Some things always draw power from your battery whether your car is on or not. This is called a parasitic draw and it’s completely normal in small amounts. Electrical problems like faulty wiring or malfunctioning fuses can increase the amount of parasitic draw to increase beyond what is normal and drain your battery. These types of problems are hard to diagnose yourself and will likely require a trained technician
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Your Battery Has Reached its End
Even though we wish they did, car batteries don’t last forever. If your battery is older than three years and is no longer holding a charge, it may simply be that it’s time to replace the battery. Take it in for a battery test with your mechanic to find out for sure.
Battery issues can be frustrating. If you’re having trouble identifying the cause, have a trained mechanic take a look. And if a fender bender has left you dealing with more than just battery issues, contact Red McCombs Superior Body Shop to get your vehicle back on the road.