One of the worst feelings in the world is getting into your car, putting your car key into the ignition, turning it, and realizing that it’s not starting your car up like it always does. More often than not, it’s an indication that your car battery is completely drained.
“What drains a car battery?” might be the first question that pops into your mind when this happens. And it can be frustrating trying to figure out the right answer. There are any number of things that could cause your car battery to die on you out of the blue.
1. Start Your Car on a Regular Basis
Have you gotten into the habit of only driving your car once every few weeks? You might think that this is good for your car battery, but in reality, not starting your car regularly is one of the worst things you can do to it.
If you don’t use your car for even just a week or two, that alone could cause your battery to drain down to nothing. You might have to jumpstart it at that point to get it up and running again.
You’re better off starting your car every few days to keep the battery charged and ready for action.
2. Keep It Out of the Sun During Summer
Exposing your car to extreme heat in the summertime could cause your battery to drain. You should never leave your car parked right in the sun if you can avoid it.
Instead, park your car in a shady spot where it won’t get any direct sun exposure. This will protect your car battery and prevent the interior for your car from getting too warm.
3. Park It in the Garage During Winter
While it’s not good for your car battery to get too hot, it’s also not good for it to get too cold. Extremely cold temperatures can wreak havoc on your battery and make it difficult to start your car up, even with a jump.
If you have access to a garage, it’s best to put your car into it in the wintertime so that it’s not exposed to the cold all the time. You should be very mindful of taking this approach if there is snow and ice in the forecast as they can sit on your car and make it even colder than usual.
4. Drive It for Longer Distances
Do you only drive your car for a few miles at a time? This will reduce the wear and tear you put on most of your auto parts, but it will take a toll on your car battery.
The alternator in your car needs enough time to recharge your battery while you’re driving it. So if you’re only taking short trips here and there, your battery is going to drain and stay drained.
Try to take your car out for longer trips from time to time to avoid this scenario. It’ll cost you a little extra to fill your gas tank every week, but it’ll be well worth it as far as your car battery and certain parts of your engine are concerned.
5. Turn the Lights Off When the Car Is Off
When you shut your car and get out of it, make sure that both your headlights and your interior lights are shut off. These things might not seem like they would put much of a strain on your car battery, but they can drain it within just an hour or two.
6. Turn the Car Radio Off When the Car Is Off, Too
Some people like to play their car radio when their car is turned off. They’ll often turn it on when they’re parked waiting for someone or when they’re cleaning their car.
Just like with the headlights and interior lights, playing your car radio when your car isn’t turned on will strain your battery and cause it to die before long.
7. Unplug Gadgets When They’re Not in Use
Most people plug all kinds of things into the outlets and cigarette lighters in their cars these days. From smartphones and navigation systems to DVD players and even computers, these gadgets can run off your car battery power when you’re driving.
But if you have too many of these gadgets plugged in at once, your battery isn’t going to be able to keep up. It’ll start to drain over time and give out on you at some point.
8. Clean Your Battery Every So Often
Pop the hood on your car and take a look at your battery. If it has dirt, dust, and other debris all over it, wipe it down to make it look clean.
Dirt and grease, in particular, can hold heat close to your battery and drain it. By cleaning your battery, you’ll keep it at an optimal temperature and prevent it from giving out on you.
9. Put a Battery Charger to Good Use
If you’re planning on putting your vehicle into storage or keeping it parked for an extended period of time while you’re away on vacation, hook a battery charger up to it before you do. It’ll stop your battery from draining all the way when you’re not using your car for whatever reason.
10. Replace Your Battery Every Few Years
No matter how hard you try to stop your car battery from draining, it’s not going to last you forever. Most car batteries are only built to last for about 4 years, if that.
Replace your battery every few years to prevent it from dying down all the way. And make sure you replace it with a quality battery as opposed to a cheap one. Get more information on buying the right battery for your specific vehicle before purchasing one.
What Drains a Car Battery? It Helps to Know
There will be times when your car battery dies without warning. There won’t be anything you could have done to prevent it.
But by asking yourself the question, “What drains a car battery?”, you can educate yourself on some of the steps you can take to avoid draining your battery unknowingly. The tips listed here should help you keep your car battery in good condition.
Read our blog to learn how to replace a car battery when yours dies on you.