What can drain a car battery besides the alternator?
What can drain a car battery besides the alternator?
Many people are often faced with the problem of a faulty battery that will not seem to bring their cars to life. A dead battery is a problem that is not always easy to fix, especially if you are in a rush. So, can a completely dead battery be recharged?
There are a few ways to recharge your battery, though the phrase “completely dead” is a bit more difficult to assess. If your car does not start because of a completely dead battery, your only option might be to get a jump start from another car and purchase a new battery in the near future.
In this article, we will discuss how you might be able to recharge a dead battery and how to spot signs that might mean your car battery is dead. We will also talk about how you can get help from Mach1 Service, a technologically savvy company that can provide the fastest service possible.
Can A Completely Dead Battery Be Recharged?
When someone says that their car battery is dead, this usually refers to the idea that it is discharged. This means that the voltage of the battery is below a functional amount. Car batteries tend to run 12 or more volts, and if the battery falls below that amount, you could have a dead battery.
There are 5 functions of a car battery, and if your car battery is giving you trouble, it might be a good idea to check its voltage. If the voltage is barely lower than it should be, this can be a simple fix. The alternator in your car is what charges your battery. The battery has the responsibility of providing the power to start your car. But when your car is running, your alternator is fueling the battery for the next start.
In order to fix a dead battery that is still carrying a good amount of voltage, driving around might be all you need to do. As we said before, the alternator will recharge the battery while your car is in motion. In order for this to work as well as possible, you should refrain from using any features in the car that require power from the battery: air conditioning, radio, TV, etc.
Driving around for just half an hour can bump up the voltage in your battery to a safely functional amount. However, if this does not seem to fix your problem and you face more trouble later on, there are other steps to take.
If you notice that the voltage in your battery is far lower than it should be, you should choose another method. You might not even have to check the voltage. If your car will not even start upon your turning of the key in the ignition, it is likely that you have a dead battery. Jump starting your car is an effective method to fix this problem.
Jump starting a car requires the help of jumper cables and another car. Following necessary safety precautions, the cables are connected to the battery of the second car along with your car battery and a clean piece of metal under your hood. With the second car running, the cables will transfer power from the second car’s alternator to your car’s battery, and after a few minutes, your battery should have enough power to start your car.
What Are Five Common Signs of A Dead Battery In A Car?
There are a number of ways to determine that you have a dead car battery, which we have listed below:
Car Will Not Start
You are in your car, and you insert your keys into the ignition. However, when you turn the keys, all you get is a ticking or whining sound, and your car will not start. This is a sure sign that your battery is likely dead.
If you face this problem, it is important to refrain from continuously trying to start your car. If it does not work the first or second time, it likely will not work after that, and you could further damage your car battery.
If your car will not start and you have concluded that it is because of a dead battery, the first thing we suggest doing is getting another car to help jump your battery. If anything, a jump start could get you to the store for a new battery or to a mechanic for professional help. Jump starts are not always effective for a long term problem.
If your car starts up and works perfectly fine after a jump, great. But, you might run into the same problem the next time you try to start your car. This might be a sign that you need a completely new battery.
Flashing Check Engine Light
We all deal with it. It is easy to ignore the flashing of a check engine light, but doing so might prove detrimental to both yourself and your car. If you have any suspicion that your car battery might be functioning unusually, the check engine light could be the confirmation you need to check out the battery.
It might not seem like a problem to you if you do not physically witness a defective aspect of your car, but checking just in case never hurts.
In this case, driving around to recharge your battery may or may not be an effective method. If it is not, and your check engine light remains on, you should look into taking your car to a shop to get it checked out.
If you know the light is on because of the battery and you do not want to have to deal with going to a mechanic, you can always purchase and install a new battery, which should fix the problem.
If you have a car that you rarely use, perhaps for special occasions or anything else, it might not be great to let it sit for months on end without being driven. Disuse of a car can drain the car battery because it has not been active for some time.
Of course, this might not be a clear sign of a dead battery, for if you continue not to use it, you might never know. But suppose you decide one day to take that car out for a spin, but, like sign #1, it does not start when you turn the ignition. Disuse is a common cause for battery drainage with idle cars.
If you run into this problem, since the car might have been active for a long period of time, it might not be as simple as jump starting your car. This may work in some cases, but in others, professional help might be required. An idle car can be easily damaged by corrosion, alternator trouble, or even severe weather.
Other Electrical Problems
Maybe your car starts and runs fine, but that does not rule out the possibility of a low-power or dead battery. If other electrical systems in your car – like the air conditioning, radio, or headlights – suddenly stop working, this could be a sign that there is a problem with your car battery.
You might be able to temporarily fix this problem with other methods discussed previously, but keep in mind that all of these methods, besides maybe buying a whole new battery, are not 100% fail proof. If you cannot seem to fix your dead car battery, professional help is the best option.
As you go out to your car, you might smell what seems to be rotten eggs. But you know for a fact that you ate all of your eggs this morning, and none of them were rotten. Well, you are not smelling leftovers from your breakfast. You are smelling sulfur from your car battery, and a leaky car battery can pose dangerous threats.
A leaky car battery is a sure sign of a dead battery, or, at least a battery in its final moments of functionality. This problem should be dealt with promptly. Replacing your battery is going to be your best bet.
Knowing how a car battery works can greatly benefit you from preventing trouble with a dead battery as well..
Can You Revive A Dead Car Battery?
We have briefly discussed a few ways to revive your dead car battery. Obviously, jump starting your car is probably the most well-known way of doing this. It is important to check out how much a jump start costs and who to call in case you don’t want to do it yourself.
A battery that simply will not start, no matter how much you try while punching the air and cursing the sky, can be brought back to full functionality with a jump start.
Also, driving your car around is a great way to fuel up your car battery, but this is not necessarily involved with reviving the battery, since the battery had at least enough voltage to start the engine.
If a battery is completely dead but has been revived by a jump start, there are ways to fully recharge your battery. The first is, as mentioned, by driving around. If that does not seem to work, however, car battery chargers can regenerate all of the charge into a battery. Keeping a car battery plugged in for twenty four hours can fully recharge your battery, and chargers are typically quite affordable.
How Can Mach1 Services Help When You Have A Dead Battery?
Mach1 Services provides a technologically advanced way to get roadside help fast. If you find yourself stranded with a dead battery, Mach1 Services will be there to help in an instant. By simply downloading the free Mach1 app, you can find the closest service provider to you by phone.
Mach1 will alert whichever worker is nearest to you, provide you with a run down of price of service dependent on region, and, through the use of an advanced GPS system, will allow the service member to find you quickly.
Mach1 does not require a membership, and the service can be paid for by credit card or debit card directly through the app. When you request help, the Mach1 app will immediately notify the closest service member to you. Plus, the app has a 24/7 phone service that will connect you directly with Mach1.
It is possible to recharge a dead battery, and depending upon the situation you are in, a dead battery is generally an easy fix, whether you are stuck in your garage and can handle it yourself or you are in the middle of nowhere and need professional, quick, and efficient service in the blink of an eye.
My Car Won’t Start: Is it the Starter, Alternator, or Battery?
Usually, when your car doesn’t start right up, you may immediately suspect that the battery has died. This isn’t necessarily true considering there are several different parts that are involved in starting your vehicle. To help you determine whether the starter, alternator or indeed the battery are at fault, let’s take a look at each of their roles and what could occur to indicate which element has failed.
The starter is exactly what it sounds like, in that it starts the car. It’s an electric motor with a Bendix gear mounted on the side of the engine. The Bendix gear is an engagement mechanism that allows the pinion gear to engage or disengage the flywheel of the engine, routinely when the starter is powered or when the engine fires. Electric motors and repeated engagement of the gears eventually wear out.
A vehicle’s battery turns over the starter to help engage the vehicle, converting chemical energy into the electrical energy necessary to power your car. However, it also acts as a surge protector in newer vehicles, stabilizing the energy supply in order to keep your engine running and protect the car’s computer from experiencing the harmful effects of a power surge. Your car’s battery is designed to be drained of amps only partially. It must then be refilled by the alternator. Batteries that contain leaded acid, such as marine batteries, are designed to be drained entirely and then refilled.
The alternator’s first task is to maintain the battery’s charge and will recharge the battery after the initial start. It also provides power that operates the car. Contrary to popular belief, nothing is run by the battery. The alternator generates the electricity for all electrical components, including the ignition, computer, power windows and locks, interior and exterior lights, as well as the radio.
Reasons Your Car May Not Start
To determine why your car isn’t starting, begin first by testing your battery. If the reading indicates the battery is:
- Fully Charged
- Test the starter utilizing an amp gauge. The starter will draw a charge from the battery. If it’s drawing too much, that’s a clear indicator that’s has failed. The vehicle may still start; however, it will continue to draw too much power and will drain the battery.
- The starter cannot be tested as it won’t have enough amps to run. If you crank the engine to test the starter and have no turnover, it could be one of three things including the battery, ignition switch, or starter.
- If the battery tester indicates there is little to no charge, allow the battery to charge and test again. A second reading will help determine if the battery is the cause of the no start.
Other Starting Issues
The battery may not have gone out entirely, but you may notice something is amiss because of a sound or a slow start. If you hear a clicking sound or other unidentifiable noises, it could be the starter solenoid indicating the battery is under duress. While you’re placing your key in the ignition or pressing the push-to-start button, your car’s computer is running a series of self-checks. If your car turns over hesitantly, the computer knows something is wrong with either the battery or the starter. However, if it doesn’t start up quickly enough, it could be the ignition.
Proceed With Caution
In the past, if your battery was dead it was easy to ask another motorist to assist by jumping your battery allowing you to get to a service station to purchase a new one. These days, it’s best to contact a professional such as a roadside assistance company or service center as opposed to jumping your battery yourself. Jump starting your vehicle, if not done correctly, can actually cause a surge in power which could damage electrical components, including the main computer.
The next time you notice your car is struggling to start up, you can be confident in knowing ahead of time if the battery, alternator, or starter are at fault. Batteries can die at any time but knowing the symptoms of what your car is exhibiting can help you prepare before you’re left stranded. Don’t wait until your battery, alternator, or starter goes out before taking your car to a professional to determine why your car won’t start.
At Sun Auto Service, we understand that you lead a busy life and having the start-up or battery issues never come at a convenient time. That’s why we offer battery testing at no charge for Nevada and Texas drivers—no appointment necessary! If you suspect your battery’s charge is low or believe your alternator or starter need further inspection, we can check that for you, too. If it’s determined that your vehicle does require a new battery, our technicians will replace it for you and have you back on the road in no time. Plus, you’ll be awed by our 5-year battery replacement warranty. With over 40 years in family-owned business, you can be confident in knowing your vehicle will be properly cared for by the professionals at Sun Auto Service.
- Fully Charged