Learn 4 culprits that can slowly draw power from your battery
Planning a road trip? Before you hit the road, learn 4 little known culprits that could be draining your car battery.
Modern vehicles offer drivers a smorgasbord of onboard accessories and entertainment, from multimedia players and Bluetooth connectivity to backup cameras, GPS navigation, and seats that can be heated or cooled. These items draw power from the car battery, slowly depleting its strength and ability to do its most important job: start your vehicle.
1. Accessory socket plug-ins
The accessory socket (i.e., cigarette lighter) is a handy spot to plug in phone chargers, radar detectors, air fresheners, dash cams, and other gadgets. The 12-volt outlet is powered by the car battery, even when the ignition is off. If an accessory remains plugged in with the engine off, it continues to draw current from the battery, gradually depleting its ability to start your car. Check to make sure accessories aren’t slowly draining your car battery.
2. Key fob
Modern vehicles are opened with the click of a button using a key fob. Some vehicles even detect when the fob is near, allowing the driver to simply touch the handle to open the door. When the key fob is close by, a receiver inside the vehicle wakes up to wait for instructions (e.g., lock or unlock the car, start the engine, open the trunk, etc.). If you leave the fob within 15 feet of your car, the receiver remains engaged as it waits for your command, slowly discharging the battery.
3. Aftermarket car stereos
Car stereos installed by the automaker typically will not drain your battery. However, if you have an aftermarket stereo system, the larger and more powerful the system, the greater the potential for battery drain. Sometimes aftermarket stereos are installed in a way that the wiring causes the system to continue to draw power, even when the car is not in use. This causes the battery to become overworked and drained and can result in a completely dead battery.
4. Car alarms
Like stereos, car alarms installed by the automakers generally don’t cause trouble, but aftermarket car alarms are a different story. If installed incorrectly, they can cause a significant drain on your battery.
Get AAA Washington battery service
Car batteries have a three-to-five-year lifespan when driven under normal circumstances. If your battery is reaching the end of its lifespan, or worse, has died unexpectedly, AAA Washington is here to help 24/7. We’ll send a trained Technician to solve your problem and get you back on your way.
Visit AAA Washington Mobile Battery Services to schedule service online or call (800) AAA-HELP. Mobile battery service includes:
- Battery testing with state-of-the-art technology (no emergency needed)
- Diagnosis of common battery related problems
- On-the-spot battery replacement at a special AAA Washington member price
- Service where you are: at home, the office, the grocery store or on the road
- Safe disposal and recycling of your old battery
To learn more about how to maximize the life of your car battery, click here.
Road Trip Tips
Before you go: Get ready for your road trip with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus travel and insurance services and much more.
Save on car insurance: AAA members save up to 8% on car insurance.
Get battery service: AAA Mobile Battery Service uses state-of-the-art technology to accurately diagnose battery-related problems. We’ll even replace your battery with a brand-new one if necessary, at a special member price.
Save with AAA member discounts: AAA membership gives you access to exclusive entertainment discounts nationwide.