4 reasons why your car battery may be dying quickly

Are you wondering why your newly purchased car battery is dying a few days, weeks or months long before the expiry of its warranty, here is 4 reasons why your car battery may be dying quickly.

1. Car’s cigarette lighter socket remains hot when ignition is off

Whereas most modern cars’ cigarette lighter socket is turned off with the ignition, in some car models, the cigarette lighter socket remains hot even when the ignition is turned off.

Do you have devices plugged into your cigarette lighter – a charger, inverter? If your vehicle wiring design is such that the cigarette lighter socket remains powered when the ignition is turned off, there is a risk that the plugged in device can drain the battery over an extended period – if your car is left is parked for several days.

An example, some FORD model car’s cigarette lighter sockets remain hot 24/7.

To check this, switch off your cars’ ignition and plug a charger connected to a phone into the cigarette lighter socket. If the phone charges, then your car’s socket remains hot with the ignition turned off. 

In this case, always unplug any device from the cigarette lighter when your car engine is not running.

2. Electronic devices that remain on even when the car’s electrical system is switched off

There are usually some devices that remain connected to the car’s electrical system even when the ignition is turn off such as the car alarm and some car diagnostic systems. For example, some car owners have reported cases of their batteries being drained by FIXD diagnostic system.

The devices are designed to draw small currents from the battery but over several days, this adds up and can drain the battery flat.

Are you planning to leave your car parked for several days? Then consider connecting a trickle charger or maintenance charger to keep your battery topped up. Alternatively, you may completely disconnecting the battery from the car’s electrical system.

3. Prolonged exposure to extremely weather

Extreme hot or cold weather strains the battery. If your battery is exposed to freezing temperatures, it loses charge and can fail to start the car. Consider wrapping your battery in a battery insulation kit to reduce the battery’s exposure to the extreme cold.

Similarly, the extreme heat from a car engine can affect battery life.

Normally, the car battery is installed in a location away from the direct heat from the engine or the manufacture may provide a heat shield. If you suspect that the heat from the car’s engine is affecting your battery performance then consider using a heat shield or thermal wrap (available off Amazon) that wraps the battery sides and reduces the direct impact of the engine heat from the battery.

4. Repeatedly failure to fully charge car battery

Your car’s battery may fail to charge fully for several reasons:

a. Faulty alternator A properly functioning alternator with the car engine running produces 13.7 -14.7V. A problem with the winding or diodes of a car alternator can result in a lower output voltage which is not sufficient to fully charge the battery.

To check if the alternator is producing sufficient voltage to fully charge the battery, with the engine running and the alternator connected to the battery, measure the output voltage of the alternator by connecting the multi-meter or alternator tester (Available off Amazon.com) across the battery terminals.

Is the voltage from the alternator is between 13.7 -14.7V? If so, this is a a sign that the alternator is working well. Otherwise, consider replacing it.

b. Wrong charging settings on maintenance charger Are you using an external maintenance charger? If so, make sure the charger settings are set to charge the correct battery type. For example, if charging an AGM battery, make sure that the charge setting is set to AGM for example. A GEL setting will not fully charge a battery and may damage it over time.

In summary, your car’s battery may die quickly if it continuously discharged by devices left plugged into the car cigarette lighter or exposed to extreme cold or hot weather, faulty alternator or if using an external charger, the wrong charger setting is used.

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