Low car battery: causes, symptoms

Low car battery: causes and symptoms. How to understand when the car battery is low, how to recharge it and what are the causes that lead to premature deterioration of the car battery.

New car battery flat

Before seeing what to do, how to recharge the battery and what are the symptoms that make us understand when the car battery is about to discharge … let’s see a more striking case, that of a  new car battery  that discharges even before entering full speed!

Generally a  new battery  should discharge after 4 – 5 years, in many cases it can be discharged even after 3 years, perhaps for more intensive use … but what if the  new battery discharges immediately? 

Here the causes are not related to the classic wear but we are talking about extraordinary causes such as an accident, a rear-end collision or, if you are really unlucky, a hole taken at high speeds.

The battery, in fact, is built with light and delicate materials, it doesn’t take much to alter its integrity. In addition, if the new battery runs out and you have decided to replace it because the previous one was giving you problems… maybe the real problem was never the  dead battery  but the alternator. The alternator is responsible for providing a continuous charge to the battery while the car is running. If the alternator fails, the battery (whether new or old) will tend to discharge much sooner than expected.

Other extraordinary factors may relate to the labor performed on the car: Is the new battery fitted correctly? Have new installations been made on the vehicle? Incorrect installation of the car radio or an LED headlight kit can also compromise the health of the new battery.

Generally, it is good practice when purchasing a battery to check its voltage. If you have not done so, the battery may have already been discharged, which indicates that it was stored incorrectly.

What to do? Check the warranty and, with the receipt in hand, contact the dealer or workshop that carried out the assembly. When you buy the battery from a workshop, it comes with a two year warranty, while if you buy it from a store or online, the warranty is one year.

Low car battery: symptoms

It may happen that the car battery discharges suddenly , without giving preliminary symptoms , in these circumstances it would be advisable to carry out periodic maintenance after the third year of the battery’s life, so as to understand the residual voltage of the accumulator. How to tell if the car battery is low  or about to drain?  In the absence of symptoms, just check the voltage.

When the  battery is low , the car simply  does not start , however, “ car does not start = low battery”  is not a perfect equation, indeed, there can be many exceptions and variations on the theme. If the car is standing still and struggling to start, the problem could be related to the fuel pump, the starter motor or it could simply be dirty spark plugs !

Among the symptoms that make you understand if the car battery is flat: the car battery warning light in the instrument panel when you turn it on, does not go out! The instrument cluster does not come on at all or the vehicle takes longer than usual to start up.

Low car battery: causes

If in the first paragraph I told you about  extraordinary causes , now we return to the causes that may be more common.

  • You forgot the headlights on
  • The car has been standing for more than 10 days in the garage
  • The car was exposed to particularly cold temperatures
  • The car battery is more than 4 – 5 years old, it is a classic wear
  • You have subjected the battery to overuse (air conditioning on with the car stationary, use of multiple USB sockets to charge portable devices, radio with engine off …)

It is important to understand the age of the discharged battery: the more time passes, the greater the chance that the battery will deteriorate.

Low car battery: how to recharge it

To start a stationary car with a flat battery, you can use the energy produced by a second car, you will need the classic cables.

Where to buy cables? In stores specializing in the sale of auto parts or taking advantage of online sales. At “ this Amazon page ” for example, you can find professional battery cables (1200 amp), very useful to keep in the car and use in an emergency.

How to recharge the dead car battery with cables?

First of all, park a car with a charged battery in front of your car. Stop the engines and follow the instructions below on how to use the battery cables .

Low car battery: what to do

1) The red cable
Connect the red cable to the positive poles of both batteries:
take one end of the red cable and connect it to the positive pole of the flat battery, take the other end of the same red cable and connect it to the positive pole of the car with charged battery.

2) The black cable
Then connect the end of the black cable to the negative pole of the working battery (of the healthy car). Warning! The black cable must not be connected to the dead battery! The other end of the black cable should be connected to an unpainted area of ​​the engine compartment of the car with a dead battery. The most modern cars have an ad hoc area to fix the negative clamp but you can choose any perimeter area of ​​the engine compartment away from electrical components and paintwork.

3) Recharge the discharged car battery
Start the car with the charged battery and wait a few seconds. Try to start the car’s engine with a flat battery which in the meantime has received some energy from the other vehicle’s accumulator.

4) Disconnect the cables
Disconnect the black cable first and then the red cables. The cables must be disconnected in the reverse order of connection.

That’s it: you managed to recharge your car’s dead battery !

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