Car Battery Drain, Dead Overnight Understanding Why Your Battery Dies

January 27, 2012

Car battery drain is a common enough problem. If you have ever woke up with your battery dead for no good reason you know exactly what we are talking about here. Sometimes the reason is logical and the result of something left on, such as your lights. Often times however, it is something less obvious.

Reasons Your Battery Dies

There are several reasons your battery may have died over the course of the night. Included among these are things you can control. The most obvious one is your headlights or your dome light. This is simple enough to fix and hopefully the problem will only happen once. Less obvious problems include your radio running (for whatever reason) or your glove box light being on from the glove box not being entirely closed. These problems are harder to fix and may require someone with electrical knowledge.

There are also situations which can crop up that you may not know about. These include your trunk light not turning off from a broken switch. Your cigarette lighter draining power could be another problem, as could your electrical car seats draining power. These types of problems drain a bit of amperage and don't become immediately obvious until your car remains at rest for long periods of time.

What Can You Do?

If the problem is an operator error, you can fix it by simply not leaving your lights on. However, you may need to find where an electrical drain is located and repair it. This could mean a trip to the auto service station to get your electrical problem fixed.

Other factors to consider include your battery and your cables. How old is your battery? Typically a battery is good for three to four years but some last longer, while others don’t. You may need to simply replace your battery and the problems will go away. This is especially true if your find car battery acid leaking out or seeping into the engine compartment.

You can also check your car battery cells to ensure they are full of water. If they are low, it could result in your battery not properly holding a charge. Next, you can inspect your cables. Maybe they aren’t properly connected or have some damage. While it is unlikely this would cause battery drain, you should ensure they are intact and working properly. Lastly, you can check your alternator. It may be that the battery is fine, but the alternator is not properly charging the battery while you drive.

Usually Not a Major Problem

Luckily, a slow drain is typically not a major problem. Likely, the problem is a diode or minor leak, draining a few amps at a time. Most of the time this can be discovered and fixed for fairly cheap. However you should repair the problem as soon as possible, as you don’t want to become stranded someplace. Plus, jumping your car every morning isn’t a good time.

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