Can you Drive with a Dead Car Battery?

It is not unusual to find the car battery is dead or drained and yet you need to use the car. Perhaps there’s an emergency you need to attend to or you may be planning to drive to the store to get a replacement a few blocks away.

While you may be able to get the car jumpstarted, should you drive the car though if the battery is dead? It is worthwhile or there’s a risk involved?

For answers to these questions and more, read on.

Should you Drive a car if the Battery is Dead?

You can still drive the car if the car battery is dead or discharged once jumpstarted and the car engine running provided the alternator is able to meet the power requirements of the car or else the engine will stall.

To minimise the chances of the car engine stalling, switch off the non essential electrical accessories to keep the car’s electrical power draw to a minimum.

Is it Safe?

While you may be able to drive the car, this is not recommended if the battery is dead or drained.

Doing so, puts a strain on the alternator as it has to charge the car battery and supply the car electrical power which risks the engine stalling should the alternator not be able to keep up with the electrical power required.

How Far Can you Drive?

You should only drive over short distances, preferably to get a battery replacement and even then only if you need to.

Without a charged battery, the car has only the alternator to rely on. In the event that the alternator cannot keep up, the car engine will stall leaving you stuck.

It is also possible that the alternator may be damaged in the process as attempts to keep up with the demand for power to charge the battery and power the accessories and systems.

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No Battery – Should you Drive the Car?

This is not recommended as it can damage the car alternator and the car’s electrical systems too. Without a battery connected, voltage spikes from the car alternator can damage the ECU and other sensitive car electronics.

Do not disconnect the car battery terminals when the car engine is running too.

Can a Car Battery Suddenly Die while Driving?

Yes, a car battery can die as you drive too. When this happens, the battery warning light on the car’s dashboard will come on.

The car engine will continue running solely relying on the power from the alternator to supply the car’s power needs.

Closing Thoughts

While you may need to and in most cases can drive a car with a dead battery, do so for only short distances to avoid potential damage to the alternator and the risk of the car engine stalling and getting stuck.

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