UniEnergy Technologies » What Happens When The Car Battery Dies? (Easy Fixes)

What Happens When The Car Battery Dies? (Easy Fixes)

If you’ve been driving cars for a while, you’ve probably faced the issue of your vehicle failing to start because of a dead battery. What a tragedy, huh? You need to be at work, a meeting, or a party, but your car suddenly stops.

A battery dying while driving can be scary. It entails losing power to almost all components in the car, and you’ll end up stranded on the roadside. Since you want to know what occurs when the car battery dies as you drive, read on to learn more.

If the alternator is in good condition, the dead car battery won’t affect anything as you drive. However, if the alternator dies with the battery, there will be a discontinuation of current flow to the dash lights, engine, radio, HVAC, power steering, and dashcam. When this happens, safely pull over and get a solution.

Functions of a Car Battery

The battery generates all the energy in a car. All components that need current depend on the car battery. They’re hooked up to the battery and will take power, provided the parts are running.

Even when the vehicle isn’t running, and the stereo is on, it will consume power from the battery until it dies or the radio goes off.

One of the roles of a car battery is to start the car whenever you put in the ignition key. This requires a lot of energy, and the battery must do it independently because the alternative is not firing yet.

What Happens When a Car Battery Dies When Driving

If the battery is out of charge, but the car alternator is in good condition, your car won’t stop. Bear in mind that the car alternator is recharging the battery. The alternator will do the heavy work if the car’s engine is functioning and the power needed is low. So, that is to say, your car battery can be faulty, but the car continues moving.

The catch is to switch off your high-power-consuming parts, such as the radio and HVAC unit. This will reduce the amount of energy the alternator requires to create on its own.

If the vehicle struggles, have it on neutral and rev a bit to boost the battery. The alternator works perfectly when the vehicle is in motion and not idle. You may get into trouble when you get to a complete stop.

The upshot is that a dead car battery won’t have any impact provided the alternative is healthy.

Things To Do When Your Car Battery Dies When Driving

Things To Do When Your Car Battery Dies When Driving

One of the biggest concerns many worry about is the range of anxiety involved when the car stops in the middle of the road. You might not know what to do when the battery dies. Here is what to do whenever you find yourself in such a situation:

Step 1: Pull Over for Your Safety

The first thing is to park your car on the other safe part of the road. The car will not have a working acceleration pedal, you can’t switch on the hazards, and the steering wheel power will be off. You won’t have headlights as well. Concentrate on safely pulling over the car and start looking for a solution once you are out of the traffic.

Step2: Put Roadside Flares

Because the car won’t have lights, the passing car won’t see you if it’s nighttime. So, it is crucial to set up roadside flares.

Step3: Restart the Car

On most occasions, you can restart the car whenever the battery dies and proceed with your journey. While this is rare, you won’t lose anything by trying. If you successfully restart the car, switch off the AC, stereo, and other electrical devices. You want to minimize the power your vehicle consumes until you reach your destination.

Step4: Jump-start the Car

If it fails to restart, you may need to jump-start it. If you carry your portable jumper, connect it and begin trickle charging the battery.

Because the alternator isn’t working, the charge won’t last long. The goal is to get enough charge to help you get to your home or office as you get a permanent solution.

Step5: Tow and Repair the Car

At this moment, you either get enough power to get home or are stuck on the road. Either way, you must tow the car to the nearby repair store. Replacing the alternator isn’t easy, so let the mechanic do the work. Let the expert know that you believe the alternator is dead. They’ll check and replace it and even swap your battery based on the damage caused when it was on discharge.

What Is an Alternator?

What Is an Alternator

You can’t plug in your gas-powered vehicle after a tedious day. So, how does the battery charge? That’s where the alternator comes in handy.

This motor-like component receives power from the engine and its connection to the car battery. While the car engine runs, the alternative generates power and channels it into the car battery. This is reverse charging. In many cases, a healthy alternator will continue powering the car even when the battery is dead. That happens when the alternator can generate sufficient energy to power all the electrical systems that require a charge.

The Things that Happen When the Alternator Dies While Driving

The outcome of the car alternator dying as you drive is somewhat dangerous. Here is what happens:

1. Engine Stops

First, your vehicle’s engine will die immediately. You may notice it sputtering out as the alternator dies. After the alternator stops and the battery depletes, the engine goes off.

2. Lights Go Off

All the lights, including dome lights, headlights, and dashboard lights, will go off. If the alternator fails at night, you will have terrifying moments trying to navigate the roads in complete darkness. Because the car does not have power, the lights won’t turn on.

3. Power Steering Will Disappear

Power steering is another system that runs electrically. The pump requires some power to pump the fluid around. When the alternator dies, you will have to tug the steering wheel the old way. However, if you haven’t driven an old vehicle before, this might be shocking and can flutter you. Use the hand-over-hand technique on your steering.

4. HVAC, Radio, and Dashcam Will Stop Functioning

All the electrical components will stop functioning once your battery or alternator goes on vacation. Parts like stereo, dash camera, AC, cabin lights, phone charger, and heated seats will be cut out. Everything that runs on electricity won’t work.

Dead Car Battery Tricks

Dead Car Battery Tricks

Jump-starting the battery is the first thing that comes to people’s minds whenever the battery dies. During this process, safety must be ensured, so check out for any physical damage to the car battery.

Don’t jumpstart if you notice any leak or crack. Take some precautions and wear glasses and gloves to protect your skin and eyes from battery fluid.

Clean the corroded jump-starting cables using a toothbrush and a mix of water and baking soda. Ask another driver to allow you to jump-start using another car with a fully charged battery.

Park the two vehicles (one with a charged battery and another with a dead battery) nose to nose such that the batteries from both cars can be connected together.

Switch on the ignition of the car with a charged battery and open the hood of the two cars. Link the positive terminal of the jumper cable to the dead battery and the other positive end to the cable that is connected to the charged battery. The positive end of the cable is red, while the negative is black. Connect one of the negative ends to the negative terminal of the charged battery. Connect the other negative end to the car’s metallic part with a lifeless battery.

Start the vehicle with a good battery, and the dead battery will start charging. Do that for a couple of minutes, and then start the vehicle with the dead battery. If it doesn’t start, continue charging for another few minutes.

Once the charging is complete, safely remove the jumper cables. Also, remove the grounding cable and the one connected to the negative terminal. Then, remove the cable connected to the positive terminal of the charged battery. Lastly, remove the cable connected to the positive terminal of the battery that was dead. Don’t switch off the vehicle where the battery was previously dead since it can die again.

Conclusion

It’s a scary experience when a car battery and alternator die in the middle of the road. Your car will stop, and you will lose functionality in important systems. That’s why you need to know what to do when that happens. Here’s what to do:

  • Pullover
  • Set up the roadside flares
  • Try to restart the car
  • Get a jump starter
  • Tow the car to a nearby repair shop

We hope this guide will help you handle this scary situation and get home safely. However, feel free to comment if you have any questions or concerns about dead car batteries.

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