It’s early in the morning in Winnipeg, and you walk out to your car, ready to go to work and start the day. You stick your key in the ignition and turn it, and then – nothing. Your engine should have turned on – but instead, nothing has happened.
You turn your key again, and just hear a series of clicks. Your car’s battery is dead, and you’re not going anywhere.
But how did this happen? Contrary to popular belief, there are quite a few things that can happen to drain your battery. Curious about what these might be? Read on, and learn about the 5 most common reasons that your car battery may be drained.
1. Human Error
This is probably the most well-known cause of total battery drainage. If you forget to turn off your car’s headlights, fail to close your trunk all the way, or even neglect to turn off an overhead driving light, your battery will keep sending power to your car – until it’s totally drained off energy.
And despite modern car warning system and automatic shut off lights, this is still quite common. Even just leaving a door slightly ajar may be enough to cause the internal lights to illuminate – and if you leave your lights on long enough, your car’s battery will be drained.
Luckily, this can be easily fixed with a jump-start, and in most cases, your battery will be just fine afterward. However, if you drain your battery multiple times in this way, you can seriously shorten its lifespan, or cause it to fail entirely.
2. Parasitic Drain
Parasitic drain occurs when vehicle components continue to draw power from your vehicle’s 12v system – even after the key is removed entirely.
Now, a small level of parasitic drain is normal. Your 12v battery will deliver power to your car to do things like saving your radio presets, keep the clock running, and operate things like your security alarm, power doors, and power locks.
However, if your electrical system is faulty, it’s possible that larger systems could be running even when the car is turned off – leading to dead batteries.
This is especially common if you have third-party accessories like sensors and cameras installed on your vehicle – these often do not shut off automatically, and require the user to shut them off manually.
3. A Defective Alternator
Another cause of battery failure is actually not related to the battery at all – but to the alternator.
When the car is working properly, the alternator is what supplies electrical power to primary systems, by converting some engine power into electricity. This power is also used to recharge the 12v battery, ensuring that it has enough power to start the car.
If your alternator fails to charge your car battery, it will drain over and over again as you start your car – and eventually fail, requiring you to jumpstart your vehicle.
If your battery keeps dying, and you’re noticing other electrical issues like flickering lights or strange, abnormal noises, you may want to get your alternator inspected by a professional service like Ride Time.
4. Old, Worn-Out Battery
Batteries don’t last forever – in fact, most car batteries only last about 5 years. If you have an old car battery, it may just be on its last legs, and unable to deliver the power required to start your car engine.
Over prolonged, regular use, your battery goes through quite a bit of abuse. Plate corrosion, loss of water, and the buckling of lead-acid plates are all common, and can have a negative impact on the ability of the battery to hold a charge.
So if you’re driving a car with an old battery, chances are that you’ll just have to replace it. But the good news is that it’s easy to make sure this is the problem – just remove the battery and take it to an auto parts store, and they’ll be able to test it for you!
5. Loose Cables Or Corrosion
If your battery is relatively new, but you’re still experiencing poor performance or require regular jump-starts, the culprit could simply be poor installation and maintenance.
If the “leads” (the electrical wires that connect the battery to your car) are not correctly installed and tightened, they can occasionally shake loose. This can cause your car to fail to start, even if the battery is in good shape.
To avoid this, simply make sure that the leads are tightened properly with a wrench. It’s quite easy to do yourself – here’s a helpful tutorial on YouTube!
Corrosion can also cause your electrical systems to fail. If you see significant amounts of blue, fuzzy buildup around your battery terminals, you should clean it off, and see if your vehicle starts once your battery is clean.
Remove the leads and the battery from your vehicle, and then simply use an old toothbrush and a mixture of baking soda and water to clean off all of the corrosive buildup . Replace the battery and leads, and see if your car starts. Here’s a YouTube video with further instructions!
Beware, though – corrosion is often a sign of bigger problems, such as a failing battery, or a faulty electrical system, so you may want to consider having your car checked by a professional.
Battery Trouble? Need An Expert Opinion? Come To Ride Time Now!
At Ride Time, we understand how frustrating it is when your car battery fails, or when you can’t get your car to start. So if you’re having battery troubles, come to our Winnipeg location today!
We stock a wide range of car batteries, and our advanced 8-service bay facility features advanced electrical diagnostic equipment. No matter what’s going on with your car, we can help you understand what the issue is, and recommend the best next steps to get you back on the road!
So don’t wait, and don’t risk getting stuck with a dead car battery. Come to Ride Time now, and see how our expert service technicians can take care of your every need!