Attending Mechanic School? 5 Things That Can Drain a Car's Battery

The booster cables and discharged battery,Charging battery car with electricity trough jumper cables.
A battery is responsible for providing a vehicle with power, sending energy from the starter motor and enabling spark plugs to ignite the fuel. The battery also provides power to the air conditioning, lights, radio, and other essential elements. If a driver finds that their battery is draining abnormally, there are several possible causes of this phenomenon. 
If you’re interested in a career as an auto mechanic, keep reading to discover five of the most common.

1. Students Attending Mechanic School Should Be Aware of Parasitic Drain 

Parasitic drain is a condition that occurs when a component in a vehicle keeps running after the vehicle has been turned off. While a certain level of battery power is always in use to maintain radio presets or a vehicle’s clock, occasionally an electrical problem can lead to excessive parasitic drain, causing the battery to drain in turn. 
Common causes of parasitic drain include bad fuses or faulty wiring in components such as light switches or stereo systems. If a driver notices that their battery is draining too often to blame human error, then a professional in an automotive mechanic career will want to examine a vehicle’s electrical parts to ensure that everything is connected properly. 

2. A Faulty Alternator Can Drain a Vehicle’s Battery

An alternator is the component responsible for recharging the battery while a vehicle is running. When the alternator isn’t working, a battery can become drained even if a vehicle has just been driven. Diodes are what enable the alternator to work, and if an alternator has a bad diode, this can cause the battery to keep charging despite the fact that the engine is turned off, resulting in a drained battery. 

Auto mechanic career pros may suspect a faulty alternator if a vehicle’s battery is drained
Auto mechanic career pros may suspect a faulty alternator if a vehicle’s battery is drained

3. Driving Short Distances Can Wear On the Battery

As mechanic school students probably know, a battery can only charge while a vehicle is running. If a driver is using their car to drive short distances too frequently, this can result in a battery that frequently drains. The shorter the driving time, the less time the alternator has to charge the battery, meaning that a vehicle’s battery doesn’t ever fully recharge. To prolong the life of their battery, drivers should be sure to take their car for longer drives every so often to give the battery an opportunity to charge sufficiently.

A drained battery can leave drivers stranded
A drained battery can leave drivers stranded

4. Extreme Temperatures Can Result in Battery Damage

Whether it’s the dead of winter or the height of summer, extreme temperatures can place additional strain on a vehicle’s battery. Hot or cold temperatures can lead to a build-up of lead sulfate crystals, which can have a negative effect on the longevity of the battery. The presence of lead sulfate crystals can make it difficult for a battery to fully charge when a vehicle is running, weakening the car component’s general performance.

5. With Time, Battery Cables Can Become Loose or Corroded

In order to charge, the positive and negative terminals connected to the battery need to be able transmit power. If these connections are loose or corroded, drivers may find it difficult to start their vehicle as the battery isn’t receiving the power it needs. Auto mechanics can ensure that a vehicle’s battery connections are sound by thoroughly cleaning the battery terminals and checking the tightness of the cable connections.
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