Imagine being in a rush, getting into your car, and suddenly it won’t start because the battery is drained! Those who have experienced this situation know how frustrating and disappointing it can be. Instead of being quick, you end up being delayed. That’s why it’s essential to know how to properly care for your car battery.
The battery is one of the most crucial elements in a vehicle’s electrical system and is one component that needs to be replaced every two years, depending on how it’s maintained. For those who don’t know, the car battery functions to provide an electrical current to start the engine and store electric charges for use when the car is not in use.
You must be wondering how to know if your car battery is drained. In this article, we will share the types of batteries, the causes of a drained car battery, and the signs you need to know!
6 Causes of a Drained Car Battery
Are you facing car battery problems? Why does the car battery drain quickly? There are many factors that can cause a drained car battery. You may not have noticed them before, so take note of them!
1. Forgot to Turn Off Car Lights
Forgetting to turn off car lights is a common occurrence. Whether it’s the interior or exterior lights, if left on for an extended period, they can drain the car battery. Therefore, you should check that every car light switch is turned off before leaving the car. Sometimes, we may notice that our light bulb has burned out. If we don’t realize it and the light is not visible, it can cause us to forget to turn off the light switch, leading to a drained car battery and the inability to start the car.
2. Excessive Car Accessories
Those fancy car accessories like power amps with high wattage, woofers, impressive audio systems, advanced car alarms, and various others, you might want to reduce them. These excessive car accessories can be cause of a dead car battery. It is recommended to use a larger battery that can balance the amount of power used.
3. Short Circuit
For your information, a car requires an electrical system to start the engine before it can be driven. Remember, behind a powerful car, the electrical system is the catalyst for the overall operation of the vehicle, including the battery. The use of poor-quality wires can disrupt the flow of current, leading to a dead car battery. Furthermore, if a short circuit occurs, it can cause the car to catch fire.
4. Alternator Failure to Charge the Battery
Another cause of a dead car battery is a problem with the car’s alternator. The alternator functions as the battery charger when the car is running. If the car’s alternator is damaged, the battery won’t be charged. This leads to a dead car battery. When the alternator has issues, jump-starting the car won’t solve the problem.
5. Inactivity of an Old Car
When you rarely use a car or rarely start the engine, it can lead to a dead car battery. Every type of car needs to be started and driven regularly to allow the battery to charge. The car needs to be started for at least 10-15 minutes every day. This is especially important for those working from home and not using their cars. Take a little time to start and run the car. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending more money!
6. Car Battery Life Cycle
Usually, the lifespan of a dry car battery is around one and a half to two years only. You need to be alert about the purchase date so that you don’t forget to replace your car battery. One thing you can do is set a reminder on your mobile phone. This way, you won’t miss the opportunity to replace your car battery. Easy, right?
Signs of a Weak Car Battery
In this section, Qoala will share how to know if your car battery is weak. Here are 4 signs that indicate you need to replace your car battery.
1. Car Won’t Start or Has Difficulty Starting
Usually, when you start the car engine, it only takes 3-5 seconds to start. But it’s a different story when your car battery is almost dead. It will take more time, and you will need to try starting the car several times before the engine can start. When you experience such cases, don’t ignore them. This is actually one of the clearest signs that your car battery is getting weaker, and it’s time to replace it with a new one.
What happens if you ignore this sign? Well, you’ll end up with a car that won’t start. It becomes even worse when your car fails to start in urgent situations or when you’re already running late for something important.
2. Dashboard Warning Lights
Pay attention to the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. When your battery charge drops to a critical level due to insufficient charging or poor battery maintenance, the battery warning light will appear on the dashboard. If the battery symbol starts flashing on the dashboard, it means something is wrong with the battery, and you should check it immediately.
3. Foul Odor in the Car
Before blaming your friend, partner, or family for passing gas in the car, believe it or not, a damaged or dead battery can also produce a foul odour. How does a battery produce a foul odour? Actually, this foul odour occurs when a short circuit happens in the battery, and the sulfuric acid may have leaked, releasing the foul gas. If this happens, it’s very dangerous as it can damage other components in your car. Not only that but due to the foul odour, you’ll also need to find a way to eliminate the smell caused by the car battery.
4. Car Alarm Goes Off Randomly
Sometimes when the car alarm goes off randomly, it can leave us confused. Usually, this happens with TOYOTA or PROTON car models. When the alarm starts going off randomly, it’s a sign that you need to replace your car battery immediately.
3 Types of Car Batteries and Battery Lifespan
First, you need to know that there are three types of car batteries. Each battery type has its own lifespan, and you must replace your car battery when the time comes. Which car battery is best for you? Let’s take a look at the 3 types of car batteries below.
1. Dry Cell Battery
Dry cell batteries, also known as “Maintenance Free” (MF) batteries, are a type of car battery that does not require any maintenance and is easy to take care of. These dry cell batteries do not require battery water. This means you don’t have to worry about adding battery water. What you need to pay attention to is the lifespan of the dry cell battery. When the car battery reaches its lifespan, you must replace it! The lifespan of a dry cell car battery is a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. It also depends on the usage of the car. In terms of price, dry cell car batteries are more expensive than wet cell car batteries.
2. Wet Cell Battery
Wet cell car batteries, also known as flooded batteries, are a type of battery that requires battery water. Usually, the lifespan of wet cell batteries depends on how often you use your car. If you want to use this type of battery, you need to pay attention because it requires careful maintenance. If you frequently use your car for daily errands, you must check the battery water level at least once a week to prevent it from becoming dry. If you rarely use your car, you still need to check it, but you can do it every 2 or 3 weeks. Adding battery water should not be done arbitrarily. It should be done according to the recommended measurements. The battery water should not be less or more than the specified level.
3. Gel Battery
Gel car batteries are a relatively new type of car battery in the market. They can last for about two years or even less. These batteries are more expensive compared to dry cell and wet cell batteries. However, gel car batteries can last for five to ten years, depending on their usage. This type of battery is equipped with a thicker gel electrolyte, making it safer, environmentally friendly, and capable of enduring twice as many charge and discharge cycles (up to 400 cycles).
Tips for Reviving a Dead Car Battery
When your car battery is dead, don’t panic! There are several tips you can follow to revive your car battery before waiting for the car workshop to operate. If your car breakdown on the roadside, you can try these tips. The process of reviving a car is actually quite simple; just follow the tips below:
Check Car Battery Terminal Connections
Inspect the connections of your car battery terminal. Are they properly connected? You need to ensure that the battery terminals are securely connected. If you’re unsure, you can gently move or rotate the connections. But remember to be careful!
Clean Car Battery Terminals
If you notice any white-coloured dirt on the car battery, try cleaning it. Sometimes, dirt can hinder the flow of electricity, resulting in a less efficient battery.
Perform a Jump Start
If you have jumper cables in your car, this is the time to demonstrate your expertise in jump-starting! However, when performing a jump start, there are some things you need to pay attention to, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
- Check the car’s manual. Some cars are not suitable for jump-starting due to sensitive circuit systems.
- Inspect if your car battery is corroded, cracked, leaking, or damaged. If you notice any of these signs, do not attempt to jump-start it.
- Don’t forget to turn off the engine before performing a jump start. The radio, headlights, and other electrical components should be turned off as well.
- After turning off the engine, make sure to remove the car key.
To perform a jump start, you need another car with a good battery and a larger battery capacity than your car. If the donor car’s capacity is lower, it can be dangerous and may cause a short circuit if not done carefully. Use your interpersonal skills to ask for help from someone nearby.
Here’s how to properly jump-start a car:
- Connect the jumper cable clips with utmost care.
- Always start by connecting the positive terminal of the jumper cable to the positive terminal of the donor car’s battery. The positive terminal usually has a red plastic cover with a symbol (+).
- Once that step is completed, connect the jumper cable of the donor car to the positive terminal of the dead car’s battery.
- When the car starts, don’t immediately turn it off. Let it run for at least 15 minutes. This is important for battery charging.
- Once everything is okay, you can drive the car as usual. Don’t forget to express your gratitude to the person who helped you!
This is why having jumper cables in your car is important. You can get them at car accessory shops or even at nearby Mr. DIY stores.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If all else fails, you can call your insurance provider to come and assist you. Although many people are not aware of it, having car insurance is crucial. Some may assume that having valid road tax is sufficient. This is why having car insurance is important because road accidents can happen to anyone unexpectedly.
In conclusion, you should always monitor the condition of your car battery as it is an essential component that ensures you can use your car without any issues and avoids the problem of a dead car battery. We hope that Qoala’s sharing in this article will help you manage your car better.