Why Does My Battery Keep Dying - Capitol Toyota Service

A dead car battery can make the day's errands impossible, or worse, leave you stranded somewhere far from home! Without a battery that's working, you can't start the car, run the accessories or really do much of anything. We'll tell you what can cause a car battery to die on you below. These are the four most common explanations.

At Capitol Toyota in Salem, we can quickly and easily perform a battery health test. It's the best way to learn about the condition of your battery, so you can replace it if it's on its way out, or take a closer look at the charging system if the battery itself is still okay. To get a battery health test on your vehicle, just swing by the Capitol Toyota service center.

The greyish-white substance seen here on this battery is corrosion, which can degrade your vehicle's electrical connection

4. Poor Battery Connection

Over time, battery cables can come loose, degrade and even rust, interrupting the electrical connection between the battery and the rest of the vehicle. If your battery is dying repeatedly, check to make sure you have a solid connection.

Perhaps the most common thing that can interrupt the battery connection is a build-up of corrosion on the battery terminals. A byproduct of the chemical process that goes on inside a car battery, sulfates can form on either the positive or negative battery terminal. These sulfates are chalky, blue-ish, green-ish or white in color and don't conduct electricity. Both over-charging and under-charging can reduce the longevity of your car's battery. If the battery is being under-charged, check the negative battery terminal for a white or grey build-up. If it's over-charging, look for the blue or green stuff at the positive battery terminal. Typically, this corrosion can be removed with an ordinary wire brush or similar tool. However, it's possible that the corrosion can get so bad that the battery wires or the battery itself will need to be replaced.

A driver attempts to jumpstart a dead battery in a snow storm. Cold temps can reduce the life of a car battery

3. Battery Age

If the electrical connection to the battery is solid, but the battery just won't hold a consistent charge, the battery may simply be too old. Modern car batteries are built to withstand thousands and thousands of charging cycles, but they all wear out eventually. A car battery that's used infrequently may die sooner, and using accessories while the engine is off (like the stereo, lights and climate controls) can also cause a battery to drain faster.

On average, car batteries will last about 4-5 years in a typical daily driver. But you might get a whole lot more or a little bit less depending on your vehicle, your daily driving conditions and even your local climate.

2. Extreme Temperatures Finished Off Your Battery

Extreme heat and cold can reduce the life of your car's battery. We're lucky to enjoy a rather mild climate here in Salem, but we're not immune to the odd winter cold snap or summer heatwave. If your battery is getting old, a particularly cold night or a few sweltering days can sometimes be enough to do your battery in.

A technician performs a battery health test to determine if this battery can be recharged or should be replaced entirely

If your car battery keeps dying, and there have been some extreme temperatures of late, you can head to our service center for a battery health test. We can check for other problems, or confirm that your battery has finally given up the ghost (and replace it with a quality Toyota TrueStart OEM battery, too! We always use OEM parts whenever possible at the Capitol Toyota service center for the longest possible life and best possible fit).

1. Alternator Has Gone Bad

If a battery health test indicates that your battery is in good shape, there is one more possible reason that your car battery continues to die over and over: a bad alternator.

The battery stores a charge that runs the starter when you turn the key, as well as various electronic accessories while the engine is off. Then, when the engine is running, the alternator diverts a bit of engine power and converts it to usable electricity to recharge the battery. As you're driving, the battery is constantly discharging and recharging! If the alternator stops working, even a good battery will run out of juice. You'll be good to go with a jumpstart or letting a battery tender charge your battery, but the battery will continue to die until you get the alternator repaired or replaced.


Capitol Toyota

783 Auto Group Avenue Ne
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-399-1011
  • Service: 503-399-1011
  • Parts: 503-399-1011