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Why Did My Car Battery Die – Reason and Checking
A car battery is a rechargeable secondary battery that performs the job of starting a motor vehicle. The main purpose of this battery is to provide the electric potential to the electric starting motor of the car that provides power to the internal combustion engine of the car. After the combustion process starts and the motor vehicle is in the start position, the battery stays in the active mode to supply electric power to the vehicle essentials while constantly being charged by the alternator of the car.
A car battery works fine for an average of 3 to 5 years before starting to face any degradation in its performance. To avoid any complications with the battery performance a routine monthly check-up should be performed. There can be a lot of reasons that can cause the battery of your car to discharge or die leaving your motor vehicle stranded until the battery is recharged or replaced.
What Can Drain a Car Battery When the Car is Off?
The last thing a person wants for their car is to have a dead or discharged battery. Such a situation leaves no alternative for the car owner except for a replacement or recharging.
It is not always necessary for a situation to occur only in cases when the motor vehicle is in operating mode. Sometimes, or most of the time, battery problems occur when the car is off. However, to apply proactive precautions to dead car battery it is important to know the possible causes that might cause such incidents:
1.You Left Your Headlights On
The most common mistake that leads to a dead or discharged battery is that the car owners leave their headlights turned on. The latest cars have the feature that allows the headlights to turn off automatically after a certain amount of time. The older cars are most exposed to this problem where the headlights of the car remain on and stay that way until it drains out the complete battery.
2.The Parasitic Draw
The car battery provides electrical power to some features like the clock, the radio, and the alarm even when the car is turned off. Also, features like interior lights and door lights take up the electric power when the car is turned off. All of these features together do not sum up to an amount of electric current that can cause the battery to drain. However, when the car is turned off the constant charging and discharging mechanism of the car via alternator is not available and any of these features can become a drain-source for the battery. Battery drainage through any of these features, while the car is in the off state is known as the parasitic draw.
3.Corrosive or Loose Battery Connections
The positive and negative terminals of the battery can become loose or corroded over time. If the terminals become loose or corroded, the battery becomes unable to provide sufficient electric power to the essentials of the car. This can cause damage to the electrical features of the car which in turn can cause a parasitic draw. Loose connections or corrosion can be dealt with by checking the connections of your car battery on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
4.Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme weather conditions are one of the possible causes of a dead or discharged battery. This threat proves to be more dangerous for old cars or for cars that have batteries with low health. It may happen in extreme winters or summers that when you try to start your car after a long break, the battery stays dead or becomes so low on the charge that it can not support the self-start mechanism.
5.Your Alternator is Not Charging the Battery
The main purpose of the battery is to start the car from the zero states. Once the car starts, your battery depends solely on the performance of the alternator for it to charge and discharge according to the electrical usage of the car. However, if the alternator is not working properly it won’t charge the battery enough to support the electrical requirements of the car. Also, it can create problems for your car even if you are driving and the car is past the start process.
Can a Car Battery Die Out of Nowhere?
There a lot of reasons that car breakdown services come across when receiving calls for help. However, the most common reason that comes to the breakdown services is a discharged or dead car battery. There are a lot of reasons that account for a failed car battery. A few common ones are:
1.Leaving headlights, interior lights, or electrical features on even when the car is off.
2.Using high power features when the car is off.
3.Leaving the car battery unused for long periods.
4.Lack of maintenance
5.Failure of the voltage regulator inside the battery
6.Low air temperature
Also, sometimes the lead-acid batteries fault internally. They show a good voltage level when tested but do not provide the required amperage for the starter to start the vehicle. This can happen at any time and in any state of the car (on or off). Moreover, this can happen to new or old batteries regardless of their health.
How Do You Tell If It's Your Alternator or Your Battery?
Starting a car is a three-step process.
In the first step, the battery provides power to the starter. In the second step, the starter starts the combustion and activates the alternator. In the third step, the alternator charges the battery.
If the engine starts through the battery and can’t keep up the on the state, the alternator is not doing its job. Whereas, if the engine is not turned on with the battery and is working in the case of a jump-start, you’re looking at a faulty battery. To get further assurance, check for the following signs:
Signs of a Dead Battery
1.Interior lights and cautions lights getting dim
2.Corroded battery terminals
3.Car battery getting old
Signs of a Faulty Alternator
1.Dim interior lights
2.Dim or bright headlights
3.Noises from the car bonnet
The smell of burnt rubber