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Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am
All countries
Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am
All countries
Updated on September 27, 2023 4:01 am

Why Your Car Battery Won’t Hold Charge

If your vehicle is having difficulty starting, it could be that its battery is no longer holding a charge. Before beginning work on fixing this problem, it’s essential that you understand its source.

One of the main sources of battery issues is age or corrosion, both which should be considered factors.


Your battery is an integral component of your car that allows it to start when necessary, but like any component it will eventually need replacing and when that time comes it’s important that you understand its age so you can make the appropriate decision when replacing it.

Batteries typically last between two and five years with proper care and maintenance, although their life may decrease more rapidly if living or driving in regions with colder or hotter climates. Your driving habits, maintenance practices and other factors all play a factor in how long it lasts.

If you’re purchasing a used car, be sure to find out its battery age before signing any paperwork. One way of doing so is looking for a sticker containing a date code on top of the battery.

Dependent upon the manufacturer, date stickers may contain an alphanumeric code to indicate when the battery was made. If this label cannot be found, its age can still be ascertained by simply looking at its appearance.

Checking battery terminals and showing signs of corrosion could indicate when your battery may soon reach its expiration date and requires replacing.

One of the key components that will impact the lifespan of your battery is how often you charge it. You should strive to avoid overcharging, as overdoing it will only hasten its degradation faster.

As well, it’s wise to monitor your driving habits, since short trips and periods of inactivity will quickly deplete a battery’s life. Keep an eye out for signs of sulfation – this occurs when negative plates of the battery become coated with sulfate crystals that reduce power delivery necessary for starting up your car.

Check the cryptic date codes stamped onto your car battery to establish its age. These may take the form of either starting with month/year information or just numbering them instead.


Corrosion can be a serious threat to the longevity of your car battery, potentially leading to its failure and potentially leading to further damage and an eventual breakdown. If this problem arises for you, be sure to address it as quickly as possible to prevent further harm and an impending breakdown.

Keep your car batteries protected from extreme elements, particularly if you live near coastlines where salty sea water and excessive moisture accelerate corrosion. Also avoid leaving them exposed to extreme heat.

Batteries Plus offers several anti-corrosion products to protect your batteries from rusting and other issues that could shorten their life, including anti-corrosion spray, battery terminal protector washers and cable grease.

Corrosion can be best dealt with by regularly cleaning an affected area. While this task should be simple and quick, protective gloves will need to be worn for safety reasons and then all tools and supplies required will need to be collected before beginning this task.

Make use of a wire brush or stiff-bristled toothbrush to scrub the affected area with detergent, or try mixing baking soda and water together as an antidote for battery acid to neutralize and dissolve it away.

Once finished, thoroughly rinse and dry the area using paper towels or rags before returning your battery to its vehicle. Be sure that its entire surface is free of corrosive materials before installing it again.

Dependent upon the severity of your corrosion issue, you may need to repeat this process or consult a professional mechanic for help. This is particularly true if your battery has started leaking under its cover or into its tray.

Battery corrosion typically appears at its terminals. While this may be caused by undercharging, other causes could include frayed battery cables or an unreliable alternator.

Faulty Alternator

Your alternator performs many important tasks for your car, from charging its battery with power from your engine to powering electrical equipment and keeping everything moving efficiently. A failed alternator can cost money and leave your vehicle off the road for extended periods, so proper care must be taken with any potential malfunctions.

First indications that an alternator needs replacing are when your car battery fails to hold a charge; this often signals that either it has died or needs repair.

Signs that your alternator may be malfunctioning are when its voltage meter begins to decline or your interior lighting and headlights dim or fade – both indications that it may be overworking itself and overheating, as well as failing to meet demand demands on its capacity.

Some alternators can overcharge a battery and cause it to overheat and die prematurely, emitting an obnoxious smell of burning rubber or hot wire from your vehicle.

As soon as there’s an alternator issue, its warning light on your dashboard may flicker while trying to maintain a voltage range between 13-14.5 volts. This indicates that more work needs to be done by your alternator in order to provide power when more is demanded by devices like your heated seats or radio.

Signs that your alternator may be failing may include windows that take longer to roll up or down, seat warmers that seem “off”, and speedometers that suddenly switch from bright to dim or vice-versa – these symptoms should serve as a clear signal that it needs immediate inspection.

Jump starting your battery if it shows signs of failing is best avoided as this could damage both the alternator and cause additional electrical problems with your car. Unexperienced mechanics should refrain from performing such acts.

An alternator malfunction can result in your battery going dead and your car being inoperable, creating an enormous inconvenience. To properly identify what the problem is, it’s best to have an expert assess your vehicle.

Other Items

Your battery is a critical component of your vehicle that powers its electrical components. Without a functioning battery, your car might not start up! If the charge won’t hold out for long enough, however, your car could likely stop starting altogether.

Your car battery has a limited lifespan, making proper care essential. Regular inspections, oil changes and tire rotations are effective methods of prolonging its service.

However, there are other factors which may impair a car battery’s charge-holding abilities; including age, corrosion and an alternator that malfunctions.

Accessories such as 12-volt chargers or GPS systems plugged into your battery will quickly drain its energy reserves, so if your vehicle will remain stationary for an extended period of time it is wise to disconnect these devices from its cigarette lighter socket and leave them off.

Make sure that the battery cables are securely attached, without resting on any bare metal, to ensure optimal performance from your battery. If you don’t understand its inner workings, a professional mechanic may help identify whether or not it has become damaged from corrosion or other sources.

An additional battery issue involves parasitic drains that will steal power even when not being used; such as accessory devices such as glove boxes and trunk lights.

Fixing this problem involves identifying where and why drainage occurs and devising ways of stopping it.

To do this, carefully examine both ends of your battery terminals; check for signs of fraying cable connectors or any creases or creases and clean them using terminal cleaner.

Clean off any rust or corrosion from the battery’s terminals in order to restore its ability to hold a charge. This will remove any build-up of rust that might impede on its ability to take charge and store energy for later.

As well, other issues that could prevent your battery from holding its charge include an old or weak battery, corrosion, an unstable alternator and blown fuses. Being proactive about these issues and getting them taken care of as soon as they appear can save money in the future.

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