Why Does My Car Battery Keep Dying? A bad battery is one of the most common causes of car trouble, especially in the winter. When you turn your key and nothing happens, it’s a pretty sure bet that the problem has something to do with your battery or your car’s charging system. But what causes a car battery to die in the first place? Is it always because I left my headlights on overnight? There are actually several reasons why your battery may be weak, and not all of them are easy fixes. In fact, sometimes they can require costly repairs. Here are seven common reasons why car batteries die:
Your battery is getting old
The most common reason for a battery to die is that it’s getting old. Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time, which means that they can only be used for so long before needing to be replaced. In general, a car battery will last 3-5 years before needing replacement (this varies by manufacturer and use), but there are ways you can extend this lifespan if you take care of the battery properly.
Properly maintaining your car’s engine involves keeping it well-charged and using cold weather gear such as gloves or hand warmers when necessary, especially in freezing temperatures.
Your engine is running hot
If the car’s engine is running hot, this can be a major factor in causing your battery to die. It is important that you check the temperature of your engine with a thermometer. If it is too high and not reduced by letting the car cool down or switching off the air conditioning, then something may be wrong with your cooling system. There could be a leak somewhere in which case you should have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to other parts of your vehicle. Also look for any signs of clogging in radiators or hoses that could cause overheating problems if left unchecked over time.
The alternator is malfunctioning
If your alternator is malfunctioning, it will be unable to charge the battery and the car may keep dying. The alternator is usually located on the front of the engine, but some cars have them on top or in another location. To test whether your alternator is working properly, use a multimeter with probes that connect to an alternating current (AC) voltage source.
Connect one probe to positive terminal on battery and other probe to negative terminal on battery (if there are more than two terminals, connect it somewhere else). Turn ignition key on so you can read voltage output from alternator by looking at multimeter display screen or reading a gauge mounted next to it. If voltage readout shows less than 14 volts and does not increase when engine speed increases, then this means that either your alternator needs repair or replacement
There’s a short in your electrical system
Many electrical problems can be traced to a short in the system. A voltmeter or multimeter is used to check the battery terminal connections, wiring and fuse box/alternator. It’s easy to check your battery cables by removing them from the posts on your car and checking for corrosion or other damage. If there are any signs of corrosion, clean them up with sandpaper. If there’s damage present on either side of the post or cable end where it connects to the battery terminals, replace it immediately!
The starter motor itself may be faulty if you hear an unusual noise when trying to start your car; if this happens then contact an auto mechanic immediately because it indicates that one of these components needs replacing as soon as possible before further damage occurs affecting other parts within your car’s engine bay such as its alternator belt which could potentially cause more serious issues later down line such as overheating problems resulting from lack of lubrication within said belt causing further damage which could eventually lead up until complete breakdown (something nobody wants).
Your headlights are left on too long
If you’ve recently noticed your car battery dying at an uncharacteristic rate, it may be due to headlights being left on. Headlights are a common cause of battery failure and damaged alternators. When headlights are left on for extended periods of time, the power from the alternator will go to those lights and not be available to run the rest of your car’s electrical systems.
If this is happening with your vehicle, check if all lights are off before attempting to start it next time by turning each one on briefly and then shutting it off again. If there is one light that keeps staying on after you turn them all off, then that particular bulb needs replacing or repairing
Your battery terminals are corroded or loose
If you’ve completed all the steps above, and your car battery keeps dying, there’s a chance that your battery terminals are corroded or loose. To check this, touch the positive and negative poles of the terminal to see if they’re dirty or corroded. If they are, clean them with a wire brush and then tighten them in place with a wrench.
Water leaks are causing corrosion
If your car battery is dying, it could be because water is leaking into the compartment and causing corrosion. Water can leak in from rain or snow, as well as from a cracked windshield or other damaged part of your vehicle. If enough water enters the battery compartment, it can corrode the terminals that connect to the car’s wiring harness. This causes a short circuit and prevents electricity from flowing freely throughout your vehicle. It also weakens the overall structure of a wet cell battery such as an AGM battery, which may lead to failure down the line if left unchecked by an experienced mechanic like ourselves!
If you can’t get to an auto shop, there are several temporary fixes you can try until you can
If you can’t get your car to a shop right away, there are a few temporary fixes that might help keep you on the road:
- Try to start the car. If it doesn’t turn over and make any noise, that’s a bad sign.
- Check the battery terminals and cables for corrosion or damage. If they’re dirty or corroded, clean off as much of the build-up as possible with a wire brush before reattaching them to their corresponding terminal posts. If they’re damaged beyond repair, replace them with new ones (or have this done by an auto mechanic).
- Check the battery itself for cracks or leaks; if found, replace it immediately! New batteries cost about $100-$200 US dollars depending on size; most will fit into your budget if you need one ASAP but don’t want go through all of these steps just yet (which is understandable).
- Check whether or not there is an alternator belt in place by removing its protective coverings – this may require removing parts first before getting access so call ahead first if unsure what needs doing beforehand! This part goes around both pulleys above it which means if one side breaks then so does everything else attached – including lights turning off when driving downhill due to loss of power supply from alternator outputting current instead through parasitic load (battery only).
Your car’s battery is one of the most important parts of your vehicle, and you will want to make sure that it stays in good condition for as long as possible. At the first sign of an issue, like trouble starting your car or dim headlights, you should take your vehicle into a mechanic to have it checked out.