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What Causes a Dead Car Battery

What Causes a Dead Car Battery

Defunct car battery is a very common automobile problem, but you don't have to be a seasoned mechanic to fix it. Just go through the following article that explores what cause a dead car battery and ways to fix it.
Pankaj Chobharkar
Your car needs electrical power for many of its functions, like the headlights, taillights, the music system, starter, power windows, internal lights, windshield wipers, etc. The car battery is the sole source of power for all of these applications. Ideally, the battery should function properly for five full years, as that is the average life of it. But, it's next to impossible to maintain the ideal conditions, as there are many aspects that decide how long the battery will last.

  • The car does not start after you turn the key into the ignition.
  • The electrically operated components, like the car windows or the headlights, don't work.
  • While starting the car, it makes a clicking sound instead of the usual sound.
  • The headlights have become dim and shine brightly only when you accelerate.
  • When you open the bonnet, there is a bad smell like rotten eggs.
  • The car does not start normally, but starts with a jump.

The causes of a dead car battery can be numerous, and only proper testing can reveal the actual problem. The most obvious cause is that the lifespan for which the battery was designed is about to get over. There are other situations too that contribute to this situation. For instance, if you forget to turn off your headlights when you parked your car, you will find the battery drained when you come back. Other causes may be:
  • Incorrect ways of charging the battery.
  • The interior lights being left on for a long time.
  • Using the battery to jump start another battery when your own car battery is weak.
  • Leaving the radio or audio system on for the entire night.
  • Using a substandard battery.
  • A short circuit somewhere in the wiring.
  • If the alternator is not functioning properly, it will not charge the battery.
  • Using the car for short distances while using the accessories amply.
  • Sometimes, the electrolyte in the battery gets collected at the bottom, leaving the top half devoid of acid and making it non-functional.
  • Poor maintenance is another prominent cause of the battery getting drained. An example of poor maintenance would be not keeping proper amount of water in the car.
How to Fix

A quick and easy way to revive a dead battery is jumping it. For jump-starting, you need a set of jumper cables and another car with a well-charged battery. The following steps will explain how to jump start your car:
  • Park the car with the dead battery beside the car with a full battery (revive car). You can also park the two cars hood to hood, i.e., in front of each other.
  • Now, connect one terminal of the positive cable (mostly red) to the positive terminal of the reviving car and the other end to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  • Connect one terminal of the negative cable to the negative of the reviving battery. The other end of this cable should be connected to an unpainted metal surface in the engine block.
  • Now, turn the reviving car on and run it for a few minutes. This will charge the dead battery.
  • Try starting the car now. If it does not start, run the reviving car for some more time.
Another way of starting a car with dead battery is to push start it, but you need someone to push your car while you try to start it for this method and it will take several attempts to get the car running. Also, this method is not recommended and should be used only if no other option is available.

The best way to deal with a dead car battery is to charge it as soon as possible, but make sure that you first read about how long to charge it in the car user manual. Take all the safety precautions mentioned in it. If the battery is damaged, its replacement is the only option. Do not try to jump start a frozen battery, as there is danger of explosion. Also, if you find an acid leak, take your car to the mechanic immediately.
Electric Vehicle Being Charged
Tesla Roadster Sport Car