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Can Car Battery Die While Driving? Learn About Automobile Risks & Threats

can-car-battery-die-while-driving

Every car has a battery indicator on its dashboard so you can take the necessary steps before the battery dies. If you haven’t been paying attention to it, this post is a must-read. The question is: can car battery die while driving? Let’s find out.

Of course, it’s possible that your car’s battery can go dead even while you are driving. It might sound like something impossible, but that’s what it is. Since the battery is responsible for major in-car electric systems, a minor fault can disrupt the whole driving experience

We’ll go through the reasons why your car’s battery goes dead while driving and how to fix that issue.

Why Does Car Battery Go Dead While Driving?

First of all, let’s understand the basic functionality of a battery installed inside your car.

man-checking-car-battery-on-road-while-driving

A battery helps the ignition by giving enough electrical energy to start the engine. Once the engine wakes up, it doesn’t need the electrical charge anymore.

But that doesn’t mean the battery’s job is finished.

Instead, it’s the battery that gives juice to other electrical accessories of your car, including:

  • Lights
  • Wipers
  • GPS
  • Stereo

Now, assume you are driving, and the car’s dashboard suddenly displays the battery indicator. What does that mean?

Either the battery is not providing sufficient voltage to the car, or there is any other issue with the battery itself.

Therefore, let’s talk about the first reason why the battery icon is there while driving.

Alternator Malfunction

The alternator in a car is the only component that recharges your car’s battery. Basically, an alternator converts chemical energy into electrical energy. A battery has chemicals inside it.

So, the alternator makes sure that the battery has enough charge to distribute current to the whole car. It does so by taking the chemical from the battery and converting that chemical into electrical energy with the help of the engine’s mechanics.

How Does an Alternator Work?

Moreover, an alternator works mechanically with the help of a pulley. It’s connected to the engine’s rotating belts. These belts force the pulley to move the rotor (typically known as the rotor shaft) inside the alternator. When the rotor gets movement from a pulley, it spins the magnets around the coil.

car-alternator

That’s how it generates electricity to recharge the battery.

What if the Alternator Inside Your Car is Not Working Properly?

When the alternator stops giving electrical charge to the battery, the battery will gradually get weaker. Once it reaches a certain threshold, you will instantly see the battery indicator on your car’s dashboard.

Now, it’s possible that the alternator is malfunctioning, due to which it’s no longer recharging the battery.

Moreover, there isn’t any indication about the performance of the alternator because it’s one of the mechanical processes and can only be checked manually.

Since you don’t know that your car’s battery is not being recharged, you take no notice and keep the lights and stereo turned on while driving.

On the other hand, the battery has limited storage and will end anytime soon. That’s when you get an indication of the battery on the car’s dashboard.

Besides, a lead-acid battery of your car should maintain at least a 75% charge percentage for the best performance. If you don’t recharge your car’s battery, that might permanently damage it.

So, an alternator will keep recharging the battery while you are driving your car. Once you stop the car, you can manually recharge it using a car battery charger.

Check out the BLACK+DECKER car battery charger.

Battery Malfunction

The second reason why the car battery dies while driving is that the battery is malfunctioning. Although it’s rare, the battery might start misbehaving while driving due to several reasons.

Why Car Battery Malfunctions?

First, the battery dies if it has passed the average life expectancy. Moreover, the average life of a battery is 5 years in cool and 3 years in hot regions. But is that possible while driving?

Yes. It’s possible that the battery which was performing well until yesterday can die the next day while driving.

We’ll discuss the signs of a dying battery later in this post.

The second reason for the battery malfunction is that there’s a leakage which is worsening the battery connection. In that case, you might also smell a foul odor, typically of rotten eggs, which indicates that there is something seriously wrong with your car’s battery.

The third reason might be a damaged electrical connection. That fault prevents the battery from receiving the necessary current for recharge. Therefore, the alternator keeps giving charge to the battery, but the battery is not able to receive that charge.

The third reason can also overheat the battery’s electrical connection, which can produce spark and fire if not taken seriously.

You can check the broken connection by lifting up the hood and looking at the terminals of the battery. However, it’s better to consult an automobile battery expert in such situations.

Signs of a Dying Car Battery

There are several signs of a dying battery that are obvious. For example, you are giving ignition that’s of no good. You will get the “Check Engine” indication on the dashboard. That shows your car’s battery is not performing well.

oxidized and dirty car battery terminal

You can identify these signs easily.

However, your car’s dashboard is not always going to help you identify whether the battery is performing badly. You have to note down what’s different in your car. These changes occur while the engine is running. That means the battery is not getting sufficient charge to distribute current properly.

Therefore, it’s important to take action before it’s too late.

The following signs are common of a dying car battery:

  • Engine struggles more in the winter season.
  • Engine repeats 3 or more times the starting process.
  • You need to jump-start your car more.
  • Some or all the car’s exterior lights will appear dim or dark.
  • The car’s interior lights will also appear dim.
  • Your car’s radio will momentarily stop working.
  • The distilled water’s level will reduce or even go dry.
  • Your car will stall.
  • The battery’s juice ends once you kill the engine. Then, you have to manually recharge it.

Now you can easily identify when your battery is about to die. You can avoid being helpless on the road by replacing the car’s battery.

Have a look at the XS Power 12V car battery.

The problem you might face with a dead battery is once the engine stops, you can’t start your car again using a dead battery. The ignition will not work because there is no juice left in the battery. You have to recharge or replace it.

However, if you have replaced the battery and still have these symptoms, it’s better to consult your car’s specialist.

When to Replace Your Car Battery?

In a survey, more than 50% of the people said they replaced their car batteries after getting stranded on the road. You don’t wanna be one of them, do you?

male-mechanic-changing-car-battery

Therefore, you have to frequently check the battery status of your car.

How?

First, check the life expectancy of your battery. There is an alphanumeric code engraved on the battery. That code represents the date of when the battery was delivered here from the industry.

The codes are easy to understand. The letter represents the month, and the number represents the year. For instance, the code B18 means February 2018.

Moreover, if your car has spent three or more years on the same battery, it’s time to replace that. Don’t wait for the signs because sometimes the dying batteries might show subtle symptoms that aren’t easy to detect.

Other than that, check the voltage status of your battery. You can DIY using an automobile voltmeter. Just open up the bonnet and make sure that the voltage is more than 12V.

You can also stop at an automobile service center. Usually, the station crew doesn’t charge for the battery voltage check.

If the battery’s voltage is between 11.8 – 12V, it’s to buy a new one.

What to Look for While Buying a New Car Battery?

Battery Size

First of all, check the dimensions of your car’s batteries. Most battery manufacturers engrave or stick a label having all the details of the battery. So if you are planning on buying a new battery for your car, make sure you know the exact size.

The size issue usually occurs when you connect the cables to the battery terminals.

Reserve Capacity

The reserve capacity refers to the amount of charge a battery can store without receiving any external current. Batteries having more reserve capacity are better as they can help you get rid of situations like engine or alternator failure and accidents.

Power Requirement

The power requirement for a battery depends on:

  • Cranking Amps (CA)
  • Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)

Cranking Amps is the power requirement required to start a car at 32° Fahrenheit. In contrast, the Cold Cranking Amps asks you to have sufficient power to start the engine at 0° Fahrenheit.

Besides, it’s recommended to buy a battery having high CCA for higher resilience against cold weather.

Terminals

Also, check out the configuration of the battery’s terminals. That affects the polarity and might be risky if you don’t get the required terminal configuration of your car’s battery. Moreover, you can check where the positive and negative terminals are and the distance between each terminal.

Once you reach a satisfactory point, only then buy a new battery for your car.

Final Thoughts

No doubt, your car’s battery can go dead while driving. You might get a signal from the car’s dashboard that the battery can no longer distribute charge to the car’s accessories. However, there’s no major threat driving the car with a dead battery until it’s dark and the headlights are not turning on.

Therefore, once you realize that your car’s battery is having problems, quickly take action and avoid getting trapped in a helpless situation.

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