Does your car battery keep draining? A drained battery, especially if it happens more than once, is often a sign of a problem. A jump start may get you driving for that day, but more often than not there is something that needs attention.
A vehicle with a battery that is frequently drained is likely:
1) A failed battery
2) Having a problem in the starting and charging system
3) Experiencing a parasitic draw
The easiest and most likely cause of your battery draining is that your battery’s internal chemical reaction is getting weaker. A result of the weak reaction is it can not store the energy needed to start your vehicle after it is sitting unused for a few hours. An un intrusive battery load test is the best way to determine the strength of your battery. We can measure the strength of your battery and compare it to what the battery should have.
Starting and Charging System Problem
Another potential cause of a vehicle battery that drains frequently could be a problem with the starting and charging system. If your starter is using too much amperage on startup it can place the battery under an unnecessary load every time you start the vehicle. This will cause the battery to prematurely fail or the vehicle to not start all together. Another source of failure in your starting and charging system is the alternator. Your alternator takes a small amount of electricity and makes it into a larger amount. A properly functioning alternator allows your vehicle to use the energy from the revolutions of your engine to make your electrical system maintain a state of charge. A failure in your charging system is often indicated by a battery light malfunction indicator on your instrument cluster. Some charging systems use the alternator to regulate the system and others use an on board control module so testing alternators can be a little more involved than starters. What we start with is a full module scan of the vehicle, then we will do a full charging system test, finally we will use system wiring diagrams and verify if the alternator is being commanded to function and if the alternator is capable of functioning.
A parasitic draw is another potential reason for a battery that keeps draining. A parasitic draw is something electrical staying on when it is not supposed to after your vehicle is shut off. A parasitic draw could range from something as simple as a light staying on or could be as complex as a module not shutting down and causing parts of your vehicle's electrical system to stay energized when it is not supposed to. Testing for a parasitic draw can sometimes feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. We start with the most simple and common sense potential draws and go from there. Every vehicle with a draw has a full system scan before we attempt to locate the draw. Parasitic draws are not fun and often take a large amount of time to locate, the good news is parasitic draws are in general not very common in modern vehicles.
If your battery keeps draining, let the expert mechanics at Tim’s help find the root cause of your problem and help make your vehicle reliable again! Diagnostics for a battery that keeps draining is one of the many ways we can help. Every vehicle that we service will get our full digital inspection and battery checks are part of our full digital inspection and we can often help you determine your battery is getting weak before it ever causes you a problem. We always do everything we can to keep you fully informed about your vehicle so that we can help you stay in safe and reliable transportation!
Let the mechanics at Tim’s figure out what is draining your battery. Make an appointment today!