How Long Can A Car Battery Last Without The Engine On?

Updated October, 2020
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Car batteries can retain their charge for up to 2 months with the engine idle. However, your battery may last less depending on its potency. Luckily, there are various steps you can take, such as disconnecting the battery, which helps extend its longevity if you don't plan on using your car for an extended period of time.

What's the function of a car battery?

A car battery is responsible for supplying electrical currents throughout the vehicle. It feeds the starter, which in turn supplies power to the engine.

Once the engine is operational, the car's electrical systems are powered via an alternator. It charges as demands decrease and increase while the car is in motion.

How does a car battery work?

A standard car battery has 6 cells. Each cell contains two grids, one made from lead dioxide and one made from lead. Each individual cells creates roughly 2 volts of energy. This is why most batteries are 12-volt.

Sulphuric acid submerges the plates, triggering a reaction. This allows the plates to create both lead sulfate and ions.

The ions react to an adjacent plate to manufacture lead sulfate and hydrogen. The subsequent chemical reaction results in electrons, which race around the plates, producing electricity.

Will my car battery die if I don't drive my car?

If you don't drive your car often enough, the battery dies. Driving your car actually juices up the battery, providing it life and extending its longevity.

Newer batteries can remain idle longer than older ones. But generally, even new batteries can only survive two months in a non-moving car.

The reason batteries die is due to a process known as "battery drain." Various components of your vehicle, like the radio, continue to drain electricity from the battery even when the car isn't turned on.

This is why you should disconnect the battery to keep it alive. If you plan on putting your car in storage for a long time, then disconnect the battery before putting it away.

How often do I need to replace my car battery?

Most batteries require replacement once every 3 to 5 years. Your vehicle may end up on the lower end of that scale if you don't drive if often.

Even if you work from home or use your bike often, you still want to take your car out for a spin regularly. This ensures you don't have to replace the battery every other year.

How to tell when it's my battery or another car issue?

You never want to ignore anything amiss about your vehicle. But it can be tough to diagnose an issue on your own.

One of these problems may be a result of something else in your car. However, noticing several of the below symptoms typically indicates a problem with the battery.

  • Needing to hold down the gas pedal to get the car to start
  • Clicking sound when you turn your key
  • Dimmed dashboard lights and headlights
  • Slow-cranking
  • Chronic backfiring

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156