A dead car battery is one of the most common problems drivers face. You are running late for work, an appointment or to drop the kids off to school and tragicly, your car will not start. When this happens, there is a good chance that your batteries are dead or have a low charge. There are many reasons why this happens.
- Drainage – Something was left on while the car was off. For example, the headlights, interior lights, air conditioning or the radio is left on while the car is not running. One of the most common is leaving the headlights on while the car is parked. This will cause the batteries to drain. You can simply prevent this by making sure everything is turned off when the car is not running.
- Alternator – The alternator continuously charges the battery while you drive. If the alternator is faulty, then it does not properly replace the charge to your battery and your battery therefore slowly drains from use until it is completely out of charge.
- Temperature – Extreme hot or cold temperatures can completely ruin your battery. In really hot temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the car battery drains more quickly because the extreme heat causes the battery to expend energy at a faster rate. In very cold temperatures, the motor oil thickens and makes it more difficult for the battery to start your engine. The cold temperature slows down the chemical reactions needed to make a car start.
- Old battery – The lifetime of a car battery is about four to six years. As the battery ages, the inner plates get covered and affected by sulfation. Once this happens, the battery no longer holds its charge as long as it use to and eventually loses all charge.
Sometimes your car will give you hints that the car battery is starting to wear down. For example, your keyless entry may stop working, your power windows may move slowly or your headlights may be dimmer than usual.
Many times, though, you will not get any hints at all, so always be prepared by carrying a portable car battery charger, jumper cables and membership in an auto club or road side assistance.