Planning a vacation or working away from home? However, a long parked car can lead to a dead battery in no time!
The only way you can save your battery from being dead is to recharge it before it’s too late. The time till the battery can survive depends on various factors such as the type of vehicle, battery age, weather, etc.
Therefore, this post will discuss all the factors in detail. Stay with us till the end to know how long your battery can go without driving the car!
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How Long My Car Battery Will Survive Without Charging?
The battery operations include cycles of recharging and depletion. Therefore, the exact time it can safely sit in your car without starting the engine varies.
Typically, the time differs depending if your car battery is connected or disconnected. Let’s look at both scenarios.
A Connected Battery
A connected battery keeps drawing energy even when you are not using the car. It is because technologically advanced cars always have running gadgets in the background (in a parked car too). This phenomenon is termed a “parasitic drain” and is inevitable!
The systems, such as alarms, headlights, radio, and dashboards, take up the charging of the vehicle battery. Ultimately, the battery is thoroughly drained and stops working.
It is impossible to prevent these gadgets from using the battery’s chemical energy. Therefore, there is only some time before we can declare it dead.
However, if your car battery is new, you might get some extra time on your hands. Here is how:
- A New Connected Battery: If left connected, a new battery can last slightly longer than an old one. Generally, a new battery can last two to eight weeks without charging. Also, you will have a warranty of three to five years on a new battery. However, the battery may work just fine even after the expiry date.
- An Old Connected Battery: The older batteries can discharge more quickly than the new ones—the battery’s capacity to hold charge decreases with age. Therefore, an old battery will only last from one to four weeks, depending on its condition.
A Disconnected Battery
You can store a disconnected car battery for a little longer. Just keep it stored outside of the car in an appropriate place. However, you need to take care of the conditions in which it is stored.
A detached battery can last for up to 6 months without charging. The battery will still need charging but not as often. You can expect to charge the battery once after almost 12 weeks.
Once you remove the battery from the car, you need to store it in ideal conditions. The car battery typically leaks 10mAh of voltage.
For instance, a harsh climate, like extremely low temperatures, can decrease the electrolyte density of the battery. It causes crystallization, leading to the destruction of the battery. Whereas the battery kept at room temperature will last longer.
How to Prevent A Complete Battery Drain?
While on vacation, you must ensure your battery does not take off. Otherwise, you’ll be coming home to a flat battery. A dead battery is annoying and can result in costly maintenance work. In the worst case, you might even need to replace the alternator!
Therefore, it is better to prevent your car battery from dying. Here is how you can do that:
1. Disconnect Your Battery Terminals
Disconnecting the battery prevents it from losing charge. It is wise to disconnect the battery if you don’t have to use the car for an extended period.
You can also do it yourself. Just go through the following steps:
- Turn off the engine of your car. Never try to disconnect the battery when the vehicle is powered on. For precaution, use goggles and gloves.
- Open the hood of your car using the release mechanism. Locate the battery close to the engine bay’s surface (in some cases, you might find it in the trunk).
- Find the negative terminal of your car battery. It will be located on top of the battery with an attached cable. It is marked “-” and colored black so you can quickly find it.
- Now open the cap (if it’s present) and use a wrench to lose the terminal. Remember to turn the nut in a counter-clockwise direction.
- Remove the negative battery cable and keep it far away from the battery.
- Repeat the same process with the positive terminal and put the cable away.
- Your battery is now disconnected. However, if you want to replace it, you must remove the battery entirely from the car.
2. Use a Trickle Charger
Lead-acid batteries work by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Trickle charging provides the car battery with a consistent minimal charge, preventing it from dying.
These low-voltage chargers are designed to improve battery health for the long term. They also reduce the risk of overcharging. You can use a trickle charger if you are not going to drive your car for some time.
3. Start Your Car After a Few Days
It is better to put your car in the ignition after every few days and keep it running for almost 15 minutes. Better yet, take the car out for a drive around the block. This will recharge your battery and prevent it from dying out.
4. Take Help From Friends and Family
If you are not going to be in town for more than a couple of weeks, try to take help from your social circle. Ask someone to check on your car and start it once in a while. If you manage to keep the car running, it can save you the trouble of going to a mechanic.
How to Make Your Car Battery Last Longer?
There are some ways to enhance the lifespan of your car battery. These tips will protect your battery and keep it running in good condition.
- Give your battery time to recharge completely. Shorter trips might prevent a full recharge. Take a more extended trip every once in a while.
- Keep an eye on the water level of your battery. You must monitor it regularly and use distilled water when needed.
- Don’t let your battery level discharge below 20%
- Check the clamps and cable for any signs of damage. Take it to a mechanic if you suspect something is off.
- Clean the terminals and avoid corrosion
- Try not to park your car long in a humid place
- Do not store your battery for long when it is discharged completely
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will my car battery die if I don’t charge it?
Yes, the battery will eventually die if you don’t charge it. When it is kept without charging for a long period of time, the sulphuric acid destroys the battery and won’t hold a charge.
2. How long will the battery last without driving?
A new battery can last up to two weeks without driving, while an older one might only last for a week. However, it will take some time before the battery completely discharges. If you disconnect the battery, it can survive for up to six months.
3. Why does a car battery discharge when it is not in use?
Several car accessories take up the volts of the battery when you are not driving. The devices such as the security system, computer connection, alarm system, dashboard lights, and radio take up the battery’s charge.
4. What Can I do to charge my car if I am not driving?
If you do not drive your car frequently, you can use a battery charger to maintain its charge.
5. Should I remove the car battery if I am not driving for a while?
It is recommended that you disconnect your battery if you do not use it. Turn your engine off and remove the cables from the battery terminals. Once disconnected, store the battery in a cool, well-ventilated area.
6. My car battery is already dead- what do I do?
If your battery is already dead, you will need to recharge it. You can use a battery charger or jumper cables, depending on the situation.
7. What are the costs of replacing a car battery?
The exact cost of battery replacement varies depending on your car type. Approximately a new battery can cost you $100. A mechanic can take extra charges for his services.
A car battery dies if it’s not used for a while. A new battery can last almost two to four weeks, whereas an older one might discharge in a week or two. A parked car keeps using the battery for the electrical components in it.
If you want to prevent your car battery from dying, disconnect and store it adequately. You can also ask a friend to help you out by starting your car once a week.
Just take some precautions, and you can save yourself from the trouble of a dying battery!