Three reasons your battery loses energy

Have you ever noticed that when you turn over your vehicle’s key, the radio momentarily powers down or your dash lights dim? It might not be a “design feature” and could point to something more serious under the hood.

The most likely cause could be that your battery has reached the end of its life cycle, and you need to replace it. But you might wonder how it happened so suddenly. Typically, one of three things needs to happen before it gets to that point.

1. Losing power to parasitic draw

The alternator in the engine recharges the battery as your drive. It ensures that you always have the maximum capacity to operate things like the radio, air conditioner and any USB ports for mobile devices.

But parasitic draw comes from faulty components that don’t switch off with the vehicle. As a result, aftermarket and third-party installations such as trackers or complex sound systems can continue to draw power. If left overnight, energy loss could be so significant that nothing is available to start your car.

2. Your alternator isn’t charging the battery

Another common cause of battery power loss is a faulty alternator. If that is the case, your battery won’t recharge as you drive. And if you then use additional components like your radio, headlights or air conditioning, the energy depletion is much faster.

Often there are no signs or symptoms of a faulty alternator, and you’ll only realise that something is wrong when your vehicle won’t start. A qualified battery specialist will do a professional assessment, and some even do it for free. Its quick and a report is generated in minutes. Signs of a faulty alternator can include dimming lights, a strange smell, or trouble turning over the engine the first time.

3. Corrosion on the battery

Motorists know that they regularly need to check the engine oil and water, but very few will take a cautionary glance at the battery terminals. A white or blue flaky build-up on the terminals can indicate corrosion.

Any foreign particles on the battery will impact its efficiency, leading to improper charging, impeding the electrical circuit and excessive discharging. It’s easy to spot corrosion on terminals, but you should also go over the electrical cables while taking a look.

Here’s an industry secret

A lesser-known reason for battery energy loss is that some unethical second-hand dealers remove high-quality batteries. They are then replaced with low-quality batteries to sell in cheap vehicles or motorcycles.

As a result, while the default batteries initially perform as expected, they tend to age faster than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) batteries.

The first thing you should do when buying any new car is look under the hood. If you see a Raylite battery, you can be sure that it comes from South Africa’s trusted battery specialists.

To provide you with the perfect battery for your vehicle or motorcycle, trust Battery Centre to help you eliminate all three causes of energy loss by getting your battery checked for free. The check includes a battery, starter and alternator test.

While it will never replace your battery unless absolutely necessary, there is a huge selection of passenger vehicle and motorcycle batteries. A qualified team member will expertly install the new battery and check it charges correctly.