When you’re driving, you notice the driver information display aglow with the battery warning light. After realizing that this situation may become potentially dangerous, you wonder if the car’s battery is actually going to die while you drive.
Yes, car batteries can die while driving. Dead batteries indicate there is something wrong with your vehicle’s electrical system, even while your engine is running. As soon as you see your car’s battery indicator light, move to a safe stopping location and turn off the engine. And the engine will cease to run as soon as the battery dies.
The sudden death of a fully charged battery when the engine is running might seem strange, but there are several reasons it can even happen to a fully charged battery.
No matter how good your car batteries are, you still have the possibility of having them fail. Various factors account for this. There are some that can be dealt with, while others may need a mechanic.
Discover the warning signs of a dead battery and potential causes in this article. You can avoid being stranded along the roadside by knowing how to maintain your car’s battery.
What Are The Signs Of A Bad Battery?
There are some obvious signs that your battery is bad, like your car failing to start or the ‘check engine’ light on your dashboard turning on. However, there are some less obvious indicators as well. A battery light could appear on your dashboard or you might experience issues with your electrical system.
It could be that your battery is struggling to maintain a charge and needs to be replaced if you notice problems while the engine is running. Bad batteries exhibit the following signs:
- The car stalls.
- Starting the engine causes the engine to turn three (3) or more times.
- Your car needs jump-start more than three (3) times a week.
- When it’s cold, your engine has a harder time starting.
- There is dimming or non-functioning of the exterior lights.
- There are dim interior lights, flickering lights, or no lights at all.
- Intermittently, the radio shuts off or has poor reception.
- After shutting off the engine, the battery dies within 10 to 15 minutes.
- During driving, the battery goes dead.
- The battery terminals are either loose, broken, or corrosioned.
- An older battery has low or no distilled water inside the cells.
If you pay attention to warning signs, you may be able to avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. When you diagnose a bad battery, you can rule out more serious problems with your car, such as problems with its alternator or electrical system. However, if you encounter the same problems with a healthy battery, you will need to see a professional.
Reasons That Can Cause The Car Battery To Die While Running
At times, you may experience difficulties with your car battery draining while you are driving. During those times you get frustrated and can’t figure out why such a problem occurs. However, finding out what causes such an issue is imperative to prevent it in the future.
We need to concentrate on tackling some primary reasons that drain your car battery. Here we go:
A Faulty Battery
One of the most common causes is a faulty or defective battery.
Whenever your car doesn’t start, you think it’s because the battery is dead. A faulty battery works like Loki! It’ll trick you into thinking everything is fine when you’re actually stalling because you are driving as normal.
A malfunctioning battery can make your alternator work harder to keep everything running (particularly your engine system). A stressed alternator makes the engine suffer even more, and before you know it, the engine goes out. Stalls occur in your car.
Generally, a car battery lasts about 1.5 to 2 years, longer for top-of-the-line batteries.
Often after work, people forget to turn off their headlights, close the trunk completely, or remember to turn off the inside lights in their cars. Consequently, your car battery drains and you cannot start it the next day. Some newer vehicles will alert you when the lights are on, however, they may not alert you if you leave the other components on.
In essence, parasitic drain occurs when the key is turned off but parts of your vehicle are still running. Honestly, it is normal to experience parasitic drain at times. Batteries supply sufficient power to power items such as security alarms, radio presets, and clocks.
The parasitic drain can increase due to an electrical issue, such as an improper installation or faulty fuses, which can result in the battery being completely discharged.
While driving, the battery of your car can drain if the charging system doesn’t work properly. In many cars, the alternator powers the radio, lighting, and other systems, which may lead to greater battery drain if there is a problem with charging. And it is not uncommon for alternators to fail due to worn parts or loose belts.
A Faulty Alternator
What are the functions of an alternator? The alternator charges your vehicle’s battery and provides additional electricity to your vehicle’s electrical system when the engine is running.
People often mistakenly believe that a new battery will solve the problem. If the alternator fails to charge even a brand new battery properly, the battery will quickly run out of power. In order for your; car to run smoothly, the alternator and battery must work hand-in-hand.
Next to your dashboard meter, you’ll see a red light flickering on when your alternator is sending out an S.O.S. If you see this, pull to a safe area as soon as possible and contact an automotive assistance provider who will tow it.
Temperatures over one hundred degrees or temperatures under ten degrees can induce the formation of lead sulfate crystals. Expectedly, a car left in these conditions for too long can build up sulfates and affect long-term battery life, as well as cause the battery to take longer to recharge, particularly if you’re driving for shorter distances.
A Bad Engine Sensor
Although this isn’t directly related to the topic and battery performance, but I believe it is important and wanted to include it. The engine management unit of your car is provided by a variety of sensors that track engine operation in real-time. It is possible for a car to crash and die due to a faulty engine sensor.
Depending on the engine, some sensors hold more significance than others. A mass airflow (MAF) sensor, crankshaft, and camshaft sensors, as well as the fuel pressure and manifold pressure sensors, fall under this category.
The engine’s performance will be severely affected if any of these sensors fail, which could result in it cutting out or dying. Sometimes, if the engine stops running because of a bad sensor, the check engine light does flash on the dashboard.
Excessive Short Driving Distances
When you drive too often for too short a period of time, your battery could wear out before its time. Battery output is highest when the car is started; shutting off the engine before the alternator recharges may explain why the battery keeps dying. Simple!
Damaged or Loose Battery Cables
A corroded battery connection will not allow a charging system to top off a battery while driving. You should check them for dirt and corrosion and clean them using a cloth or brush.
A loose battery cable also hinders engine starts because it is unable to efficiently transfer electrical current.
Steps to Take When your Car Battery Died While Driving
When your car battery dies, what will you do? The following are some things you can do if your car battery dies while you are driving:
1. Restart your Car
A restart of your vehicle is the most effective thing to do in these situations. Turn off your car, give it a few seconds to rest, then turn it back on. If your car starts, that’s great, but if it doesn’t, it’s time to take it to a repair shop. The important thing to remember is that we don’t recommend you to try out too many things for fun or just out of curiosity. Consequently, you can seriously damage your dream car if you make any significant mistakes.
How to jumpstart a car
Here is what you will need:
- The jump leads
- A donor car
- A power pack (in the absence of a second car)
- Need some jumper cables- You should keep some jumper cables in the boot of your car in case of emergency
- Then park all two vehicles safely – Put them in the park or neutral and turn them off.
- Attach red clips to the battery – To make sure your battery is connected to the other car’s battery, attach a red clip to your positive terminal, then to the other car’s positive terminal.
- Attach black clips to the battery – A black clip should be attached to the negative terminal of the other vehicle’s battery.
- Start your vehicle – If it still doesn’t start, make sure the clips are properly attached, then let the other car’s engine run for at least 5 minutes before trying again. However, if your battery won’t start, you may need to replace it totally.
- If your vehicle starts – Keep your engine running. If you want to recharge your battery, you should drive for at least 20 minutes.
It is important to note that if you cannot start your vehicle after jumping it, your battery may not hold its charge and so will need to be replaced.
2. Try to Call for Help
In most cases, you won’t be prepared for this situation, but always remember to ask yourself: Can a car battery die while driving?
Thereafter, you will be able to come up with a specific solution to this problem. First, do not panic. As soon as possible, try to find a tow truck company who can help you.
In addition, car experts can give you maintenance tips for dealing with that situation comfortably.
3. Make Your Emergency Flashers On
Always make sure your emergency flashers are on because your safety is paramount. Putting on your emergency flashers will allow other drivers to give you some space.
So many different factors contributed to the death of your car battery while driving. If you don’t have time to do it yourself or you don’t feel confident doing it, it is important to take it to a quality shop to get checked.
What Issues Can Die a New Car battery?
A car battery normally lasts for around three to four years. By the end, it may not function well enough and should be replaced with another. Suppose the new one begins to malfunction soon after you purchase it? Keep an eye on it! Let’s look at the reasons –
- The driving distance can have a significant impact on a battery’s performance. Short-distance driving regularly may end your battery sooner than you expect. Short-distance driving means the alternator of the car doesn’t have enough time to recharge the battery. Driving this way can cause your battery to die sooner.
- A car battery is negatively affected by extremely hot or cold weather. As we have discussed above, due to the pressure created by this, lead sulfate crystals build up inside the battery and shorten the battery’s life.
- Car batteries are recharged by the alternator system. If one of its parts is defective, the battery will go bad soon.
Is It Possible For Your Battery To Fail Without Warning?
Due to the multiple accessories of your car, your battery will slowly drain even if you are not driving. Your car’s battery, for example, keeps the time accurately and functions as a security system when it’s not in use. When the engines are off, cars use very little power, and that usually isn’t enough to drain an intact battery. However, even when your car’s ignition is off, a malfunctioning battery or a deteriorating battery might explode suddenly without any warning.
And the bad news is, a battery can die without warning in a more convenient way. This happens when the alternator of the car fails. If your battery abruptly fails with no warning light flashing on your dashboard, you should seek professional help to determine the problem.
Cars can die while driving for many different reasons. The type of car you drive will have an effect on some of these issues. Nevertheless, the above guidelines provide tips that are applicable to nearly all vehicles. If you want to reduce the chance of getting into these situations, you must take precautionary measures. And most importantly, if you have an issue with your vehicle, always alert the drivers behind you and move into the low-speed lane until you receive the help you need.