Car Battery Won't Hold a Charge - Capitol Chevrolet Service

There's never really a good time for a car's battery to die, but have you ever noticed that it seems to happen at the worst possible times? Though the result is the same, there are actually many potential causes of a dead car battery. In most cases, it's wise to schedule a service appointment at an authorized Chevy dealership so that skilled technicians can take a look at the problem and find a solution. After all, it could be any of the six problems listed below, or something else entirely.

Make sure to turn the headlights off when you're done driving!

6. You've Left the Lights On

Maybe it was pouring rain and you were in a rush to get inside, forgetting to switch off the headlights. Perhaps a child was playing with the dome light and you didn't realize it had been switched to the "on" position. Things like these happen to the best of us. Embarrassing though it might be, it's actually good news. If a dead battery is caused by simple human error like this, your Chevy might be fine with a simple jump start. But if the problem returns, there's likely something else at play.

 
Corrosion can build up on the battery terminals, keeping the battery from charging properly

5. Parasitic Drain

It sounds like something right out of a 1950s horror B-movie, but parasitic drain just means that something is draining the power of the battery when your car is switched off. A small amount of parasitic drain is normal and expected, since things like your clock and audio system need some power to avoid being reset every time you turn off the car. However, excessive parasitic drain can be a problem, leaving your battery empty by morning. This could be due to something that's hard to see, like a trunk light, or it could be caused by a problem with the wiring in your car.

4. The Alternator Is Bad

The alternator is a versatile, hardworking component. When your car is running, it provides power to the electrical systems in the vehicle. However, it has another important job: it recharges the battery. When you start your car, the battery uses a considerable amount of energy to start the engine. This means that the alternator's job is crucial. If it's not working as it should, the battery may soon be left without enough charge to start things up. And since a bad alternator will continue to provide insufficient charge, the battery will continue to die.

A battery that's at the end of its lifespan will need frequent jumps to start, so it's best to have it replaced

3. You Only Drive Short Distances

Even if the alternator is in good condition, it may not have time to fully recharge the battery if you only drive short distances. If this is the case, the battery may eventually lose enough power that it won't be able to start the engine again. If this is the case, you may simply have to adjust your route or take the Chevy out for a longer drive every once in a while.

2. The Battery Terminals Have Corrosion or Loose Connections

The cables that provide power to your battery are connected to terminals. When the alternator recharges the battery, the energy goes through these cables. However, battery acid is corrosive, and the hydrogen gas that it releases may cause a buildup of white, green, or bluish corrosion on the terminals. This corrosion can keep the cables from making a proper connection. Similarly, cables that are physically loose may not be able to recharge the battery, either.

1. The Battery Is Old

Of course, the reason that your battery keeps dying may simply be because the battery is at the end of its lifespan. As batteries age, they lose their ability to hold a charge as well--which means that they're also less able to provide the current that the engine needs to start. If it's been three or four years since you've changed your battery, it may be time to get a new one.

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