Have you recently purchased a car and are wondering how long does a car battery last without driving? You’re not alone, many drivers face this dilemma when they find their vehicles rarely get used.
In this article, we’ll explore how long a car battery should last by discussing factors that contribute to its longevity and providing helpful tips on keeping your vehicle’s power source up and running no matter the season. Read on to discover everything there is to know about the life expectancy of car batteries!
How long can a car sit before the battery dies?
A vehicle’s battery plays a vital role in providing electrical energy to power the ignition and accessories of an automobile when it is turned on. However, if your car is not used regularly, you risk draining your battery until it dies completely. Even with regular use, newer batteries still require a recharge every two weeks or so.
Generally speaking, cars that are left without being driven for a month or longer will quickly lose their charge and be unable to start up again when the ignition key is turned. To keep your car running smoothly and avoid having to jumpstart it all the time, aim for at least half an hour of driving per week.
Factors affecting the lifespan of a car battery
If you live in a colder climate, then you’re likely to be able to enjoy your car battery for longer since batteries have less chemical activity and are less likely to be damaged by heat-induced evaporation of their liquid component.
On the other hand, those living in tropical climates may have to consider replacing their car batteries more often due to high temperatures potentially leading to damage within the battery’s internal structure.
2. Poor Charging System
One of the most concerning factors affecting the lifespan of a car battery is a poor charging system. When an alternator fails to give out enough voltage, it can cause significant drainage issues and lead to premature failure of the battery.
If you have your radio or lights on while running your car, it can also drain power and aggravate whatever poor charging system has already been put in place.
3. Faulty Alternator Diode
If you’re concerned about the lifespan of your car’s battery, one component to keep an eye on is the alternator diode. When functioning properly, this diode allows current to flow in only one direction.
If it becomes faulty or position, however, it can interrupt that single-directional flow with a reverse current, even when the engine has been switched off. This unfortunate interference can lead to rapid battery drainage and diminish its life expectancy.
4. Dirt, Grease and Corrosion
As a buyer, you should always take into account the impact of dirt, grease and corrosion on battery life. These ingredients can drain power away from batteries and reduce the current flowing through them which can lead to faulty batteries that won’t hold their charge very long. Keeping your car battery clean will help keep it running for a longer period of time.
5. Personal Habits
If you want to get the most out of your car battery, be mindful of your personal habits while driving. Frequent engine start and stop cycles as well as regularly using internal entertainment systems such as radios or stereos can cause a significant draining of the battery power.
To avoid unpleasant surprises down the line, it’s wise to have your mechanic examine the electrical system of your vehicle on a regular basis and replace any parts that are too old or worn out. Doing so will help ensure you don’t find yourself stranded due to battery issues in the future!
How to Tell When Your Car Battery Is Dying (or Already Dead)
After four to five years, even top-of-the line batteries will start showing signs of wear. To ensure reliability over time, have yours replaced every three years.
But if it starts exhibiting any warnings like sluggish engine performance or lights dimming when running audio components, that’s a sign that replacement may be necessary sooner rather than later.
Signs that the car’s battery is dying:
If you find that your engine is slow to crank when starting, or you hear a clicking noise, or even your headlights appear dimmer than normal, then it could be a sign that your car battery isn’t performing as intended.
Additionally, if any of the electrical features are not behaving as usual (such as windshield wipers, power windows, seat controls, or dashboard lights), it might mean that your car’s battery is dying.
Signs indicate that the car battery is already completely dead:
If your dashboard warning light is lit, or if you’re unable to use any of the electrical components in your car (like the radio, wipers, or lights), this could mean your battery is gone.
Visually inspecting it could also help, if the battery looks swollen or bloated, or if there’s a noticeable smell present, then it might be time to find a replacement.
Overall, should any of these signs be true, then it’s likely that your car battery has already run its course and needs replacing soon.
What should I do if my battery is flat?
If you’re in a pinch and your car battery is flat, fear not – a quick and easy solution is available to help get you back on the road!
A ‘boost’ will allow you to start your vehicle with jump leads from another car’s battery or even from an alternate power source. However, it is important to note that this process should only be attempted if necessary, as it can cause irreversible damage to your car’s systems if done incorrectly.
Related: How to fix a dead car battery?
How to jump-start your car battery
If you need to jump-start your car battery, the first thing you’ll need is a set of jumper cables. Once you have those, follow these steps:
1. First and foremost, make sure the cars are positioned close together; otherwise the jump leads won’t do their job!
Move any metal objects away from both vehicles, and remove any loose clothing and jewelery before connecting the jump leads as these can cause a short-circuit which can be very dangerous.
2. Be sure to turn off the engine of your working car. Then firmly attach the red jump lead’s crocodile clip to its positive (+) terminal before carefully connecting the other end of it to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery in another vehicle.
3. Connect the second lead by clipping one end of your black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal on the working car’s battery and attaching the other side onto a metal point on either the engine block or chassis, making sure this is apart from both any flat batteries and fuel systems.
4. After you have waited a few minutes, start the engine of the working car and let it run for approximately one minute.
5. After five minutes have elapsed, commence the engine of the automobile with a flat battery and allow both vehicles to run for an additional 10 minutes.
6. Turn off the engines of both cars and disconnect the jump leads in reverse order to how they were attached.
This means removing the black lead from the car with the flat battery first, and then removing the red lead from the working car. Make sure the leads don’t touch one another in the process.
7. Finally, it’s advised that you drive your car around for at least 30 minutes to recharge the battery before heading off on your journey.
If everything appears to be working as normal, then great! If not, it might be time to seek out a professional opinion and have your car looked at by someone who knows what they’re doing.
How to charge your car step-by-step
If jump-starting your car does not solve the issue and you’re unable to get your battery charged, it might be time to take things one step further by charging up your battery. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to charge your car battery:
1. Prepare the battery
Now it’s time to assess the situation: Many vehicles don’t necessitate battery removal, though some require their car batteries to be lifted from their trays. If this applies in your case, lift out the battery.
2. Turn off all electronics
Next, be sure to turn off all electronics in order to prevent any damage while charging your car’s battery. This includes lights, air conditioners, and stereos.
3. Clean the battery terminals
Keeping your battery terminals clean is an essential step to keeping your car running smoothly. Don’t let corrosion and dirt buildup impede the power of your car! Protective gear is always a must when cleaning battery terminals, so make sure to wear hand, face, and eye protection.
With the use of a terminal cleaning brush and either a commercial battery cleaning solution or DIY mix of baking soda and water
4. Remove the negative cable first, then positive
Before attempting to remove your battery cables, it’s important to first identify which is the negative cable and which is the positive cable.
Negative is typically a black cable with a “-” symbol on the terminal, where as positive will be a red cable with a “+” symbol.
To safely remove both cables, first loosen and pull away the negative one taking extra caution to place it far from where you will put the positive cable in order to prevent any charge transfer between sources.
Finally you can repeat this process with the positive cable and terminal
5. Connect the car battery charger
Remember to power off the charger before beginning, then connect the positive cable to the positive terminal on the battery and repeat with the negative cable.
After both cables are in place, turn on your charger and start at its lowest rate. If your charger has a timer feature, set it for the appropriate length of time to avoid overcharging and potentially damaging the cells.
NOTE: If the instructions for your charger differ from these guidelines, always follow those specific directives.
6. Remove the charger after charging is complete
When the charger has finished running, make sure to shut it off and then safely unplug it. Many chargers indicate when charging is complete which lets you know to go ahead with disconnecting it.
It is important that the charger is powered off first, as working or interfering with any other controls while the charger is still plugged in can be extremely dangerous.
After turning off your engine, begin by removing the positive cable first; then proceed to remove the negative. If you already took out your car battery during step 1, put it back in its tray and secure with clamps.
Finally, attach both cables on the terminals of your car battery starting with reconnecting positively before replacing negatively.
How to keep a car battery charged when not in use
Even if you’re not using your car, it is important to make sure that its battery is still sufficiently charged. Here are a few easy tips to keep in mind when trying to keep your battery operational during downtime:
1. Attach a car battery tender
A battery tender is a small device designed to maintain the charge of your car’s battery between uses. It monitors the current state of charge and will switch off when it detects the battery has reached full capacity. This ensures that overcharging or draining does not occur while keeping your car ready for use at all times.
2. Park your vehicle under the shade
Sunlight can be responsible for speeding up corrosion on the battery, so make sure to park your car under the shade as much as possible. This can help keep your battery from losing its charge.
3. Turn off the security system
If your car has an alarm system, make sure it is turned off when the vehicle is not in use. Alarm systems require power to stay on, which can drain the battery over time.
4. Remove the negative battery cable
To prevent battery drain, you should disconnect the negative terminal from your battery (it’s located on top). Carefully turn the connection counterclockwise to loosen and remove it by pulling off and setting aside.
5. Remove the battery completely
If you know that the car will be parked for an extended period of time, it is actually better to remove the battery altogether. Keep in mind that batteries must be kept in a dry, ventilated area and the temperature should remain at a constant between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note: If you plan to remove your car battery and use it again at some point, it’s important to charge it periodically. If left alone, the charge will naturally deplete over time but not as quickly if the battery was left in the car.
Generally speaking, a removed battery should last between six weeks and six months, so ideally you want to recharge it before the three-month mark just to be on the safe side.
6. Get a battery maintainer
Having a battery maintainer or charger is also a great way to keep your car battery in optimal condition. While not as powerful as a jump starter, these devices can help preserve the current charge within your car’s battery and even give it a boost if needed.
FAQs about How Long Does A Car Battery Last Without Driving?
What happens if you don’t drive your car for 3 months?
If you don’t drive your car for 3 months, the battery may start to discharge and lose its charge. It’s best to check on it periodically in this case or consider removing the battery if the car won’t be used for an extended period of time.
Are there any tips to prolong my car’s battery?
Yes! Park your car under the shade, turn off the alarm system when not in use, remove the negative battery cable and consider using a battery tender or maintainer to keep it charged. Additionally, try to drive your vehicle at least once a week to ensure optimal performance of its battery.
Can a car battery die if not used?
Yes, a car battery can die if not used for an extended period of time. To avoid this, it’s important to check on the battery periodically and make sure that it is recharged every few months.
In conclusion, understanding how long your car’s battery will last without
Can I leave my car battery charger on all the time?
No, you should only charge your car battery when needed and turn off the charger when finished. Leaving it on for too long can lead to overcharging or may cause damage to the battery cells.
What is the best way to store a car battery when not in use?
The best way to store a car battery when not in use is to keep it in a dry and ventilated area, at a constant temperature of 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, make sure to charge the battery periodically if it will be stored for an extended period of time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog post on how long does a car battery last without driving. Taking good care of your car battery can help prolong its life and keep it running smoothly for many years. To do this, it’s important to ensure that your battery is always charged and hasn’t been overcharged, as well as giving it regular check-ups from time to time.
Additionally, make sure you take your car for a spin on a weekly or fortnightly basis – doing this will help maintain the performance and functionality of your car’s battery. Lastly don’t forget to watch out for low power signs or corrosion. When detected early, these can be addressed before they damage the health of your battery too much.
I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.