Batteries play essential roles in the starting of cars. It also helps maintain electricity flow by reducing the voltage from the alternator so it won’t cause damages to electrical systems. Another function of the vehicle is to convert chemical energy into electrical energy when you start the car.
It helps ensure electrical components such as headlights, power door buttons, radios, inner lights, and even air conditioning systems are functioning properly. So, you may be wondering, ‘How long can a car sit before the battery dies?’ you will find out as we progress.
For one reason or the other, we leave our car sitting without making use of the battery. The next time we want to start using the vehicle, we find out that the battery’s life is reduced or dead.
Why does this happen? Our vehicle uses a battery even when we switch it off. Car accessories like radios, engine control modules, clocks, alarms, and security systems drain the battery power – over a couple of weeks; the battery will be dead.
How long your battery lasts when not in use depends on several factors, such as the age of the battery, how long you have the battery connected to the vehicle, and the number of electrical components draining the battery.
And if the battery is disconnected, where and how you store it counts. So, in this article, we’ll discuss how long a car can sit before the battery runs out and how to prevent the battery from dying. Sit back and have a 5 minutes read.
How long Can a Car Sit before the Battery dies?
If you fail to disconnect your car battery, it will die within two weeks. The battery can even go out within a week or last more than two weeks. Why and how does it happen?
As technology evolves in the automotive space, new modern cars come with new features, and the old parts are improved to be better and more reliable. All these come with a price.
Due to the evolving technology, newer features and computers in modern cars are always on, continually monitoring the systems round the clock. Now, ask yourself, ‘why do some modern cars start sounding an alarm when I get close to them?’ The second thing I want you to do is this; wonder why your keyless remote control opens your car doors without touching the doors.
Yes, your keyless remote control or door remotes have batteries, but they won’t lock or unlock the doors without the car’s battery. This shows your car battery is working round the clock. So when the vehicle is in the park for a while without running the engine, the system components in your car keep draining the battery without a means of recharging it, which leads to a dead battery.
So, how can you prevent your car battery from dying? You’ll find the answers in the following paragraphs.
How can you Prevent your Car Battery from Dying?
There are two easy ways of preventing car battery death. One is by not removing it, and the other is by removing the battery from the car. Let’s look at the first option.
How to keep the Battery Alive without Removal
As explained earlier, the system components in your car drain the battery when parked. How do you prevent the battery from dying while electrical components are draining it? The answer is straightforward but requires a repetitive approach.
It requires starting the car every 5-7 days and running at least 10 minutes in ‘Park’ or ‘Neutral.’ Ensure the engine idles at 1000 RPM or drive it around your home. By doing so, you will recover the discharged power.
This method is not only about repetition. It’ll cost you some bucks because when you idle the engine or drive the car around, it consumes gas. So going with this method requires refilling your gas. This method is okay if you are not on vacation but want to use your second car or public transport as the case may be.
How to keep the Battery Alive with Removal
If you’re going on vacation for a long period of time, the best way of keeping the battery alive is by disconnecting it from the car. It requires removing the negative and positive terminals. Always remove the negative battery terminal first whenever you want to disconnect your battery cables.
Disconnected car batteries die faster during winter months or freezing weather and under direct sunlight. Disconnecting a car battery isn’t enough for long-term storage. Hence, you need to store it well, so you don’t end up buying another battery when you return. Follow the detailed car battery guidelines on how to prevent your battery from dying.
Disconnect and remove the battery from the engine bay.
- Keep it in a safe place and ensure it is out of reach of children and pets. This is because car batteries have acid that is harmful to both humans and animals.
- Do not drop the battery on a cement floor, and make sure the place is not too cold. Storing the battery in an extreme cold-weather environment has adverse effects. Neither should you place it directly under sunlight.
- Ensure you do not turn the battery upside down. Doing so might cause your lead-acid battery to leak. Keep it the way you would have mounted it on your vehicle.
- Protect the battery from moisture by placing a moisture resistance on a plastic piece or carton and drop the battery on it. Clean the battery terminals with baking soda and rub grease on them to prevent corrosion and leakage.
If you want to keep the battery running for an extended period of about 6-12 months, consider keeping the battery juicy. Plug the battery on a battery maintainer or battery tender.
Both battery chargers and battery maintainers charge car batteries. The primary difference between them is that the battery charger keeps charging until it’s fully charged. Even when the battery is fully charged, it keeps sending electricity flow until you unplug it.
In contrast, battery maintainers detect how much voltage the battery needs, so it sends trickle charger to the battery. Trickle charge simply means charging the battery slowly until it gets charged. It also detects when the battery is fully charged and stops sending an electrical current to it, and once the battery voltage drops, it will start charging it.
You can leave the battery maintainer on a battery for above six months. Maintaining or charging a battery with a battery maintainer is considered a smart charge.
Yes and No! You can charge a dead battery with a battery maintainer, but the battery must have retaining volts. If not, it’ll not charge it. Battery maintainers have a polarity that needs some voltage to detect polarity to protect the battery from reversed polarity shorting/charging.
However, there’s a trick to charge a completely dead battery with a battery maintainer. You’ll need a good battery and jumper cables. Connect both batteries with the jumper cables. Then connect the battery maintainer to the dead battery; once it detects electric current from the recharged battery, it will start charging the dead battery.
Yes. A car battery can last as long as one month or as short as two weeks from sitting. Though several factors determine how long the battery will last.
Old model vehicles can stay up to one month before killing the battery from sitting. At the same time, new modern cars with new modern technologies with hungry computers and system components will drain the battery within two weeks. However, some new modem cars will not last up to two weeks.
While the car alternator is designed to keep the battery charged, it doesn’t have the capacity of reviving a completely dead battery.
The best option is to recharge a completely dead battery with a battery charger. In this case, I recommend using a commercial charger instead of your charger because commercial chargers are bigger and have more power than personal chargers.
If your car doesn’t start unless you jump start it and it refuses to start again when you turn it off, you have a bad battery that needs replacement. In this case, your alternator is functioning properly by sending an electrical current to the battery, but it won’t hold a charge.
At this juncture, you have been provided with sufficient information on the question ‘how long can a car battery last before it dies?’ how to keep it safe and prevent it from dying. If you are fond of parking your vehicle during the winter months, ensure you follow the guidelines and detailed steps on how to prevent your car battery from dying.
Regardless of why you want to leave your battery sitting and how long you tend to do so, there’s an option for you to choose. Consider going through the methods again to know which suits you best.