How long should a battery last? On average, a car battery should last for about four years but will depend on where you live, how you use it and how you take care of it. There are many reasons that a car battery will die on you. There’s good chance that whatever caused it to happen won’t happen again. If it does die over and over again, there may be an underlying problem that needs to be taken care of or you may just find yourself stranded somewhere. When we talk about a battery dying we associate it with the car not starting after it has been parked for a period of time. If your battery dies when you’re driving along the road, it’s almost always a problem with the charging system.
What Causes a Car Battery to Die Quickly
Loose or corroded battery connections, continuous electrical drains, charging problems, using more power than the alternator can provide and even extreme weather. Any one of these problems is enough to kill a battery and some of these reasons coupled with a battery that is already weak or nearing the end of its life.
• Lights that are left on. Headlights or a dim dome light can completely drain a battery overnight. Always check to make sure the lights in your car are off. When headlights are designed to stay on for a period of time it’s important to make sure they’re not malfunctioning.
• Weak or poor battery. Batteries that aren’t maintained or are weak will not be able to hold a charge very well. Small drains can kill a weak battery too, like the memory function on the car radio, for example.
• Loose or corroded connections. The charging system can have a hard time topping your battery off if the connections are corroded and loose connections can also lead to problems.
• Parasitic drains. The electrical system can suffer from parasitic drains. These drains can be hard to find and are totally capable of killing batteries. These drains can include trunk lights or glove box lights that stay on when they shouldn’t.
• Extreme temperatures. New batteries are safe from weather extremes, but hot or cold weather can cause a weak or old battery to fail. Extreme temperatures can also highlight hidden issues.
• Charging problems. If your battery dies when you’re driving, it’s most likely the charging system. Loose and/or stretched belts can cause the alternator to stop working. Just like your cell phone, your car battery is rechargeable and can only withstand so many charge/discharge cycles before it starts to get weak. There are steps you can take to improve the life of your battery. Rough driving condition can impair the normal function of your battery if it becomes loose. Avoid these driving condition and/or check the connections from time to time to make sure your battery is secure. Make sure you have your battery checked regularly. This simple test is like a snapshot of your battery at the time it’s tested to check through the chemical complexity of what going in in the battery.