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Why do car batteries die?

Charlotte Phillips, 1 year ago

3 min read

  • Advice
  • why

WhoCanFixMyCar troubleshoots some of the most common reasons your car battery can die and how these issues can come about

Have you ever found yourself in the extremely frustrating position that your car battery has suddenly died on you? You’re not alone, and there are a number of reasons why your car battery can die, both with and without warning.

As inconvenient as this can be, it always pays to be aware of some of the main causes of your car battery dying so you can avoid the inconvenience of ever getting stuck in this problematic position.

Luckily, you can easily find local car battery replacement garages near you and compare quotes for any of your car battery problems.


Why can a car battery die?

Leaving your headlights on

Corroded battery connections

Leaving your stereo on

Charging problems

Weather conditions


Why can a car battery die?

There are many possible reasons why your car battery can die suddenly, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Leaving your headlights on

  • Corroded or loose battery connections

  • Leaving your car stereo on

  • Battery in poor condition

  • Extreme weather conditions 

Leaving your headlights on

Unknowingly leaving your headlights on is one of the most common reasons why your car battery can die. Leaving your headlights on without your car running can drain the power from the battery until it is no longer strong enough to power your car.

This human error can of course be very easily done, particularly with older cars which do not have any warning signal to indicate that your lights are still on when you exit the vehicle.

Corroded or loose battery connections

A visual inspection is the best way to notice that your car battery terminal has become eroded, and you may notice a blue, green or white powdery substance leaking from your battery as a result of this.

Corroded batteries can prevent the starter motor from drawing a current, ultimately causing your car battery to die.

Leaving your car stereo on

Similarly to headlights, leaving your stereo on could also be the reason why your car battery dies. Leaving your stereo playing without your engine running slowly drains the battery. Though on average it will take two to three hours for your battery to die with your car radio left on, cars with a weak battery terminal may be drained a lot quicker.

Charging problems

Charging system problems in your car can cause your battery to die, though fortunately, you are likely to notice some warning signs of this whilst driving the car over time before it dies suddenly.

Weather conditions

Whether it’s extremely cold conditions or extremely hot conditions that your car battery is subjected to, the climate can certainly be a reason why your car battery can die.

However, this is more likely to affect already weakened car batteries, so rest assured that as long as your battery is in good condition, extreme weather conditions should not cause much damage to a healthy battery!

Frequently asked questions

Why do car batteries die in the cold?

Unfortunately, it is common for car batteries to die in cold conditions. Car batteries produce less electrical current when it’s cold, and this can result in your battery struggling, or dying completely.

Why do car batteries die when not used?

The longer that your car is not used, the longer the battery is not charging. Car batteries store their charge when not in use and begin to charge themselves as the car is driven. However over time, batteries will naturally discharge themselves and ultimately die.

The best way to avoid this happening is to make sure that your engine is running at least once a week.

Can you drive a car with a corroded battery?

It is not safe to drive a car with a corroded or leaking battery. The sulphuric acid that can be found when your car battery leaks can be dangerous for both you and your vehicle.

Can a car battery die while idling?

Yes, car batteries can die while idling. When your car is idling, the engine and alternator run together slowly. However if the alternator fails, the electrical load needed to power your car will eventually drain the battery.

Can a car battery die while driving?

Damaged or faulty car batteries can die while you drive. If your battery is weak and unable to retain enough charge to run, it will continue to die on you.

If your car battery has died, it's highly likely that it has been caused by one of the reasons highlighted above.

Fortunately, there is a huge selection of garages and mechanics in our network here at WhoCanFixMyCar who can offer you a competitive quote for battery replacement and repairs.

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