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Eight Things That Can Drain Your Car Battery

A car battery is the heart of every vehicle. It sends power from the starter motor to the spark plugs, igniting the fuel, while also giving other systems power. This includes interior and exterior lights, the stereo, air conditioning, etc. When your car battery starts to die, it will be difficult to start, have flickering lights and sometimes a weak alarm system. When this occurs, it’s time to replace your vehicle’s battery. Here Doug Yates Towing & Recovery discusses some of the main reasons why your car battery drains and is unable to start your vehicle.

Blog photo - Car battery with jumper cables connected to it

You’ve probably done this at least once in your life, forget to turn your lights off in your vehicle. Many newer vehicles have headlights designed to turn off after a certain amount of time. But if your car doesn’t have this feature, your headlights may stay on until you either turn them off or till your car battery is completely drained. This can be anything from the car’s headlights or even a overheard light in the backseat. Avoid this easy mistake by simply checking your lights when exiting your vehicle.

Parasitic Drain

Parasitic drain is due to components in your vehicle continuing to run after the vehicle is turned off. Some parasitic drain is normal. Your battery delivers enough energy to keep things, like your clock, radio presets, and security alarm operational at all times. However, if there’s an electrical problem such as a faulty wire, poor installation, or defective fuses, the parasitic drain can become excessive and drain the battery.

Faulty Charging System

Your vehicle’s charging system can be another reason you have a drained battery. If your charging system isn’t working properly, your car battery can deplete even while driving. Many cars power their lights, radio, and other systems from the alternator, which can make the battery drain worse if there’s a charging problem. The alternator may have loose belts or worn-out tensioners that keep it from working properly. It’s always a good idea to get this checked when you get your car serviced.

Corroded Battery Cables

The positive and negative terminals connected to your battery can sometimes become loose or corroded over time. If your terminals become loose or corroded, you might have trouble starting the vehicle. This is because your battery can’t properly transmit its power to the rest of the car. You could even stall out while driving or damage the vehicle’s electronic components. You can help prevent corrosion-related problems by regularly cleaning your car’s battery terminals.

Alternator Issues

The alternator recharges the battery and powers certain electrical components like lights, stereo, air-conditioning, and powered windows. If your alternator has a bad diode, your battery can deplete fairly quickly. A bad alternator diode can cause the circuit to charge even when the engine is shut off, and you end up in the morning with a car that won’t turn over and start.

Extreme Temperatures

Whether extremely hot or cold, temperatures can cause lead sulfate crystals to build up. If the car is left in these conditions for too long, the sulfate buildup can damage the long-term battery life. It may also take a long time for your battery to charge in these environments, especially if you only drive short distances. If possible, park your vehicle in a climate-controlled garage. This can reduce the potential build-up of sulfate resulting in a decreased battery life.

Short Drives

If you take multiple short drives a day, this can lead to a drained battery. The battery puts out the most power when starting the vehicle. Shutting off your vehicle before the alternator has a chance to recharge could be a reason why the battery continues dying or doesn’t hold a charge. This is even more of a problem with older car batteries. Allowing your car to run for a longer time gives your alternator and battery more time to recharge.

Old battery

If your battery is out dated or weak, it will not hold a full charge and drain fairly quickly. If your car consistently won’t start or is faulty after a jump start, it’s possible that the battery is worn out. You should generally replace your car battery every three to four years. It’s important to stay on top of your battery’s life to avoid becoming stranded.

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Dead Car Battery? Need a Tow?

Doug Yates Towing and Recovery is located in the city limits of Chattanooga, one of Tennessee’s most vibrant business communities. Since 1946 it has been the company’s mission to conduct business with integrity and professionalism in all phases of day-to-day services. We offer 24/7 towing and recovery services for all motorists and vehicle types. Our team of tow truck technicians will help get your vehicle wherever it needs to be safely and securely. You can count on us for all your towing & recovery needs. Give us a call today!


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