If you are having difficulties starting your car, it could be from a drained or weak battery. Thankfully, batteries are rechargeable, but you must understand how a battery can become drained in order to avoid it happening again.
Common Reasons For A Drained Battery
Many reasons why a person's battery drains are because of human error. A car has multiple functions that require battery usage, and accidentally leaving them on will quickly cause the battery to be depleted. This includes leaving interior lights manually turned on, leaving a door open that causes the dome lights to stay on, using the radio, or running an electronic device that uses the cigarette lighter for power without the car running.
Less Common Reasons For A Drained Battery
There could be a much more complicated reason as to why your car's battery is draining quickly. One could be a short in the car's wiring harness. If you look underneath your car's hood, you can check the connections to the battery to make sure it is connected properly. Give the cables a light tug to ensure that they are securely connected, as a light tug should not be able to pull them off the contacts. If they do come off, it's a simple fix that just involves tightening the connection.
It's also possible that the car's battery has a dirty or rusted connection. You can clean the battery contacts using a water and baking soda solution and scrubbing it with a toothbrush.
The weather will also have an impact in how quickly your battery drains. Using the heat and air conditioner can put a strain on the battery to quickly cool down or heat up your car. Starting up a car in very cold weather can use much more power, which will make it difficult for a weakened battery to do its job.
Troubleshooting A Broken Alternator
If everything checks out so far, and the battery still drains quickly, the alternator could actually be the problem. Test your alternator by starting your car and turning the headlights on, then give the car a little bit of gas by revving the engine while in park. If your headlights start to get brighter, flicker, or dim when accelerating, you have a bad alternator. Take your car to a local repair shop to have the alternator tested to confirm it is causing the problem, and then have it repaired by a professional company that specializes in your type of car, such as a mini cooper service.
By understanding what causes your battery to drain, you should have no problem starting up your car.