Car Battery Wont Hold a Charge – Easy Ways To Fix It

Car battery wont hold a charge” is a situation that can be pretty frustrating, but it’s fixable. Ensure the terminals are clean and tight, then check if there are electrical components that drain the battery when you switch off the engine, fix a faulty alternator or replace a failing battery.

Car Battery Wont Hold a Charge

 

We will take you through the details below. Also, before the end of this guide, we will give you practical tips to keep your battery in pristine condition so you don’t find yourself in the same situation soon.

How To Repair a Car Battery That Won’t Retain a Charge?

To repair a car battery that won’t retain a charge, ensure the terminals are clean and tight. You may also need to fix a possible parasitic power drain or check if you have a faulty alternator. If that doesn’t work, you might have a failing battery, which needs replacement.

Many have asked, “How long should car battery hold charge?” Typically, if a battery is in good condition, its charge should last up to two weeks! However, the recommendation is to start the car for at least 15 minutes once a week to allow the battery to recharge.

So, why won’t the battery hold charge?

There are many reasons why a car battery won’t hold charge or charge at all. They include a dead battery, a bad alternator, corroded or loose terminals, and parasitic draw by various electrical components. Note that sometimes a defective device or poor wiring could be misinterpreted as a battery issue. How do you ascertain that it’s the battery?

Check out the tell-tale “signs of car battery not holding charge.” First, turn on the headlights and observe their performance. If they have their usual brightness, the issue is something else, not the battery. But if the lights come on dimly or won’t turn on at all, then the problem is with the battery. Let’s look at how to fix a car battery that doesn’t hold charge in detail.
  • Fix a Potential Parasitic Battery Drain

To learn how to revive a battery that won’t hold a charge, find and fix a potential parasitic energy draw. Sometimes it’s easy to notice when your car battery is drained, even when the engine is off.

You leave it fully charged at night but wake up to a significantly decreased voltage. That could result from different factors, such as defective components that fail to switch off properly and are left consuming the battery power when you switch off the engine.

Potential Parasitic Battery Drain

These components may be the cigarette lighter, stereo system, or trunk light. It can take time to pinpoint the exact one. Your best bet is to contact a professional to examine your car and find the culprit.

  • Take Care of a Loose or Corroded Terminal

As mentioned, your battery won’t hold a charge or charge (at all) if the terminal connection is loose or covered in too much corrosion. Corroded or loose battery connections interrupt electricity flow, leading to a no-charge situation. Therefore, check your terminals and ensure they are clean and tight. If not, clean and tighten them.

Using pliers or a wrench, loosen the nut holding the clump of the negative terminal and take it out first. Repeat the steps for the positive clamp and remove it also. Once the terminals are out, you’ll be set for the cleaning. Ensure you wear protective clothing as you carry out this task to keep yourself safe from potential contact with battery acid.

Pour one tablespoon of baking soda into one cup of water. Stir it thoroughly until it’s mixed thoroughly. You’ll now dip a clean cloth in the solution and use it to wipe the corroded battery terminals. Once you’ve wiped away all the corrosion, replace the battery clumps starting with the positive terminal and then the negative.

Ensure you’ve tightened the terminals properly before starting the car and allowing the battery to recharge. Your problem should be resolved. Schedule regular battery maintenance to prevent corrosion and lousy connection. If the issue persists, try the other solutions below.

  • Check if You Have a Faulty Alternator

The alternator recharges the car battery while the engine is running. If it malfunctions, your battery will discharge entirely and fail to power your vehicle. The alternator is to blame if the battery is relatively new but won’t charge.

Disconnecting the battery is one way to check whether the alternator is defective. That involves starting the engine (you can jump start if the battery is completely dead) and removing the battery’s negative terminal. If the engine continues running, then the alternator may be fine. Otherwise, the engine will turn off when you disconnect the power (or disconnect the jumper cables).

Car Faulty Alternator

Another way to identify a broken alternator is by watching for the tell-tale signs, including a dead car battery and a warning light on the dashboard. Other common symptoms are slow or malfunctioning accessories, such as speedometers, headlights, and interior lights.

You may also notice a foul smell of burning rubber or wires or some whining noises, mainly if the issue is caused by a worn-out alternator belt. A faulty alternator can be repaired or replaced.

  • Replace the Old Battery

Car Batteries have a lifespan, and when it nears, they stop functioning as they should, including losing the ability to charge or retain a charge for long. At that point, replacement is the only way out. If you’ve not replaced your battery for the past three to five years, it’s likely nearing an end, and that’s why you’re experiencing the charging issue.

There are many ways to determine if a battery needs to be replaced or not. One way is to load test using an adjustable carbon pile battery tester. The device will tell you whether the battery can receive and hold a charge. You can also use a voltmeter to check the condition of your battery – a good battery should read 12.0 volts or higher on the voltmeter.

If the reading is below 12.0 volts, you have a bad battery and need replacement, which you can do yourself. Just ensure you buy a good-quality battery from a reputable manufacturer. Find the installation instructions in the owner’s manual.

A dying battery may also have trouble charging on the charger. Thus, if a car battery won’t fully charge on charger, it may be time to find a new one. For those wondering why “car battery won’t charge past 75” or “12V battery won’t charge,” the reason could be old age and you need a replacement.

How To Keep Your Car Battery Pristine?

To keep your car battery pristine, inspect it regularly and fix minor issues like corrosion before they develop into costly repairs. Try to take occasional long trips to allow the battery to charge sufficiently. Also, avoid leaving accessories running, overcharging or undercharging, and exposure to too high temperatures.

The importance of a properly working battery in a car can’t be stressed enough. Following the above tips is essential to prevent your battery from failing prematurely.

See more in detail below.

  • Inspect Your Battery Regularly

A regular inspection will enable you to notice issues before they become costly repairs. Watch out for signs of corrosion, leaks, and other problems. If you see anything odd, deal with it immediately. Ensure that the terminals are always clean and tight.

Inspecting Battery Regularly

Also, if necessary, regularly check and add distilled water to ensure the electrolyte levels inside the battery are on point. The battery level should always be between the minimum and maximum values.

  • Take Occasional Long Trips

One of the common reasons why a car battery won’t last long enough is frequent short trips. Many experts will tell you that cars love to be driven. Thus, long periods of inactivity might end up in severe battery power drain. And if you only take short road trips, the vehicle may not get enough time to recharge the battery between uses.

Don’t allow your battery to gradually discharge to the point of death. Try to drive your car at least once a week, especially if you don’t use it often.

  • Remember To Turn off All Accessories

When the engine is off, accessories like headlights and radio can quickly drain your battery if left on. So, before you turn off the car, ensure all the electrical systems are off to prevent parasitic energy draw. Also, check that those components are correctly working so that they don’t drain the battery even when they aren’t on.

  • Allow the Battery To Charge Properly

Your battery must charge adequately to remain in good condition. Overcharging kills batteries. Avoid charging the battery too long or too frequently because that can lead to overheating and breaking down.

Charging Battery Properly

Similarly, undercharging the battery can cause the lead plates inside to sulfate. That reduces the surface area for a chemical reaction, decreasing the battery’s power

  • Avoid Exposing the Battery To Extreme Temperatures

Too hot or cold weather is bad for your battery. The former can cause the fluid in the battery to evaporate, which could lower its efficiency. On the other hand, too cold a temperature can make it difficult for the battery to produce a charge.

Avoid too high temperatures by parking under shade or in enclosed places, such as a garage. During the cold seasons, it would help if you bought an electric heater to keep the garage warm.

  • Don’t Allow the Battery to Discharge Fully

Allowing a battery to completely discharge before recharging can cause damage to the lead plates. Damaged plates are a common cause of battery charging problems. If you don’t use your vehicle often, replace the standard battery with a deep cycle battery. That’s a lead-acid battery that you can regularly discharge and then recharge without causing any harm to the internal components.

Such a battery is better for providing power over a long period. In other words, these batteries are long-lasting. They can last up to 2,000 cycles, while the traditional lead-acid batteries only last about 200 cycles and don’t tolerate deep discharges. A cycle represents a full discharge and recharge.

  • Consider Buying an External Battery Charger

You can also care for your battery using an external charger or maintainer. For example, you can buy the Viking 63350 Battery Charger or Noco Genius1 Battery Charger. These devices will allow you to keep your car batteries fully charged even when you don’t drive regularly. You can also use the charger in emergencies, such as when your car battery doesn’t charge generally due to a failing alternator.

What Are Some Easy Ways to Fix a Car Battery That Won’t Hold a Charge?

If you find your car battery dying while driving, there are a few easy ways to fix it. Firstly, check for corrosion on the battery terminals and clean them if necessary. Next, ensure that your alternator is functioning properly by inspecting the belts and connections. Consider replacing the battery if it’s old or damaged. Finally, limit electrical use and avoid short trips to preserve battery life.

Conclusion

After reading our guide above, you’re set to deal with your “car battery wont hold a charge” situation.

Here’s a summary:

  • There are multiple causes of a battery failing to hold a charge, including corroded or loose terminals, faulty alternator, failing battery, and parasitic drain.
  • You fix the problem by addressing these triggers.
  • You can keep your battery in perfect condition for a long time by ensuring regular maintenance, charging it properly, and not leaving accessories running while the engine is off.
  • Taking long occasional trips to allow the battery to charge appropriately and using a battery charger/maintainer when you don’t use the vehicle often will also help to prevent charging issues and premature failure.

We now leave you to diagnose and fix your battery charging problem. Please don’t hesitate to contact a specialist if you need further assistance.

References

https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Battery-Terminals

https://www.wikihow.com/Check-a-Car-Battery

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