While the weather in Tennessee is generally mild, cold nights are not uncommon here. But no matter what the weather, you rely on your battery and charging system to start your vehicle and keep it running. When you turn the key, you expect the engine to roar to life, and you certainly do not expect a dead battery to stop you in your tracks and leave you stranded in your driveway.
It is important to know that the battery in your car has a limited life span. When you buy a new battery, it will come with a rating, generally expressed in months. Just lift the hood and look for the sticker on the battery to see when you are due for a replacement. If that date is near, it is time to pick out a new battery.
Causes of a Dead Battery
If your battery is relatively new and it still keeps dying, you need to look a bit farther. There are a number of things that can cause a dead battery, so working through them one by one is the best way to proceed.
Are You Sure the Doors are Closed?
When you close your car doors and head in the house after a long day of work, it is easy to miss the fact that the doors are not fully closed. If the door is ajar, the interior lights may stay on, and over time they could drain the juice from your battery.
If your battery keeps dying, look first at how and where you park your car. Double check to make sure all the doors are closed, and then check again before you turn in for the night.
Are Your Automatic Headlights Turning Off the Way They Should?
Many newer vehicles are designed with automatic headlights – lights that come on when you start the key and automatically shut off when you turn off the ignition. Some vehicles even sense darkness and automatically illuminate the headlights.
Those technological innovations are designed to keep you safer on the road, but when they do not work as intended, they can quickly drain your battery. If the headlights do not turn off as they should, or if they take too long to go out, it could easily drain your battery and make starting the vehicle harder than it should be. If your battery is continuously being drained, ask your mechanic to check the operation of the automatic headlights.
Check Your Charging System
The battery is the most visible part of your charging system, but it is not the only one. Other components of the starting system, like the alternator and the starter, can impact the performance of your battery and leave you without the starting power you need.
If you have checked your lights and the battery is still draining, ask your mechanic to check each of the starting system components. Working through those components one by one is the best way to find the problem, so you can start your car with confidence every day.