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Why Does My Car Battery Keep Dying?

Jan 11, 2022

A close-up of a man jump-starting a car battery

A car battery works by creating a short burst of electricity that starts the starter motor, which then starts the engine. The amount of electricity that your car's battery can generate is called voltage and plays a huge role in how many different electronic components can be powered in your car. However, if your battery is overused, the voltage can become depleted which means that the battery isn't being charged and will no longer be able to power anything. When this happens, you won't be able to turn the engine over and start your car.

4 Reasons Your Battery Might Be Dying

1. Lights Left On

When you leave your car lights on, it can drain your battery pretty quickly. Your headlights aren't super bright when they're off but they're still using just a little bit of power every time you turn them on. If you forget to turn them off before turning your key to the off position, then they will just be draining even more power from your battery.

2. Battery is Old or Poorly Maintained

If your battery is old, it might not be able to generate as much voltage as a newer battery. Additionally, if you're not keeping your battery properly maintained by regularly cleaning the terminals and checking the fluid levels, then it won't be as effective at holding a charge.

3. Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures are draining on car batteries. When it's really hot or cold, the battery will work a lot harder to generate the same amount of power and can eventually die. So if you are located in a really cold or hot environment, you can expect to have to replace your battery more frequently.

4. Poor Battery Terminal Connections

If your battery terminals are loose or corroded, you might experience issues with where the electricity is being generated within your car's battery. If one side of the battery has a different connection than the other, it can affect how much voltage is created in each cell. When this happens, you'll need to clean the connections to ensure that power continues to flow smoothly.

How Can I Tell If My Battery is Dying?

Car is Difficult to Start

If you have a hard time starting your car, it might be because your battery isn't holding a charge any longer. In order for the engine to get enough energy from the battery, you can expect that you'll need to turn your key faster and hold it in place for several seconds so the starter has enough power to work.

Lights Are Dim

If your lights are dim when you're using them, it's likely that you need to replace the battery. If the battery is dying, then there won't be enough power created in each cell, which means that everything will start working on a lower voltage level. You can expect that even your headlights are going to have more trouble turning on.

Case Holding Battery is Warped

If you open the hood of your car and notice that the case holding your battery is warped or misshapen, then it might be an indication that your battery is dying. This is because a battery that isn't generating enough power will start swelling and eventually burst. So if you're noticing any physical changes to your battery case, it might be time for a replacement.

Your Battery Terminals Are Corroded

If you take a look at your battery terminals and they're covered in dirt, dust or corrosion, it's likely that you're having some voltage issues. When the terminals aren't clean, it becomes difficult for the electricity to flow smoothly which can eventually cause the battery to die. So if you're noticing any kind of buildup on the terminals, it might be time to take your car into an auto repair shop to have them checked.

How to Extend the Life of Your Battery

Drive Your Car Regularly

The best way to keep your battery healthy is to drive your car regularly. When you're driving, the battery is constantly being used and recharged, which keeps it working in top condition. If you're not using your car often, then the battery won't have a chance to fully recharge and will eventually die.

Clean Your Car Battery Terminals

You can also extend the life of your battery by taking care of it properly. One way to keep your battery in top condition is to regularly clean the terminals. This will ensure that the electricity generated throughout each cell has a smooth pathway and will prevent any kind of corrosion or other buildup from appearing on the metal posts.

Get Your Battery Tested

If you've been having any trouble with your car dying frequently, then it's a good idea to have the battery tested. When a battery dies, it won't hold a charge and can't power your vehicle, which is why it may need to be replaced. Most auto repair shops offer free testing for car batteries so that you can see what kind of condition it’s in before spending money on repairs or replacements.

Take Care of Your Car

You can also help your car battery last longer by taking care of your car. Keeping the engine oiled and the tires inflated to their proper PSI will ensure that everything is working properly. A car that is in good shape will put less strain on the battery, which is why it's important to take care of your car as best you can.

How Can Acima Help?

If you want to make improvements to your car, then an auto shop is the place to start. From wheels, tires or leveling kits, our retailers can help you get stuff you need for your car without using credit.* Find a complete list of Acima’s auto shop retailers to get started today.

Common Questions About Car Batteries:

How long do car batteries last?

The lifespan of your car battery depends on a few factors, such as the make and model of your vehicle, the climate you live in and how often you use your car. However, most batteries last between 3 – 5 years.

How many volts is a car battery?

Most car batteries use a 12-volt battery.

Can you drive if your car battery is low?

If your car battery is low, then you can still drive your vehicle. However, it's going to be difficult and the battery will eventually die if you don't have it replaced. So if you're constantly having issues with the battery dying, it would be a good idea to contact an auto repair shop about getting a replacement.