Why Do Batteries Die?

Car batteries should last for years. However, they can die much sooner under certain circumstances. Here are some key reasons why car batteries die prematurely.

VW Battery

You Have A Faulty Alternator

A key piece of your battery recharging system, the alternator plays an important role. It is a motor which charges the battery while providing electrical power to the vehicle. It minimizes the wear and tear on the battery making it last longer.

If it is faulty, it will fail to recharge battery completely, or just charge the battery too slowly to be effective.

Solution:

Have your alternator tested and replaced. Also, purchase a new battery when you replace the alternator.

You Only Drive Your Vehicle On Short Trips

Quick trips can damage your battery, not to mention reduce fuel efficiency. They’re bad because your vehicle simply doesn’t run long enough to get up to operating temperature. This can lead to:

  1. Alternator not having enough operating time to fully recharge battery, thus dropping charge levels.
  2. A battery that discharges more than 25%. Starting batteries that discharge more than 25% often don’t function correctly and eventually discharge completely.

In addition to battery problems, short trips don’t allow the engine to reach full operating temperature. This can reduce fuel economy, as “cold” engines run rich to prevent damage.

Solution:

If at all possible, try to drive at least 15 minutes at a time. If not, try to combine trips to maximize the amount of time the vehicle is running.

You’re Constantly Using The Battery

These days, vehicles have become more than a point A to point B transportation aid. They are now filled with all sorts of electronic devices turning them into a mobile DJ or office. These devices need power and often the battery provides the bulk of this. When your vehicle is used this way, you’re battery can die faster if you:

  • Leave interior lights on
  • Use your vehicle as a charger or power supply while the engine is off
  • Run the radio, lights, etc. while the engine is off

Solution: Avoid using lights and/or plugging in devices when the vehicle isn’t running.

Geography

Your car’s battery life can be dependent on your climate. Studies have shown that both hot and cold climates can cause excessive wear and tear on batteries. This is due to the chemical reaction which occurs inside the battery. If you live in a hot or extremely cold climate, keep these thoughts in mind:

Warmer climates can drain water out of battery due to evaporation (high heat under the hood)
Frigid temperatures can slow the chemical reaction in the battery and excessive cold can wear down battery

Solution:

On hot or cold days when garage parking isn’t an option, find a covering when it is hot. When it is cold, consider buying a battery heater.

Avoiding these things will ensure you get the full life out of your battery. Considering batteries aren’t exactly cheap, making them last is ideal.