Why My Car Battery Won’t Hold Charge ?

It is a daily ritual for folks to turn on the ignition every morning as they set out for the day. With a good battery, there is no such delay as you expect it to start. Nevertheless, if the car battery won’t hold a charge, it may seem like a daunting task getting the engine started.

Have you been in such a situation in the past? The battery provides the energy needed for the car’s running, and as such, it’s a crucial component of vehicles. It helps run electrical components, including the key starter, radio, and Car Lighting System.

If the battery seems damaged, then you can expect the engine not to come on when you “turn the key.” There exist some reasons why your car battery is not holding charge overnight. I would be revealing a handful of these reasons to help you fix such a problem with greater ease.

What Causes Car Battery Won’t Hold Charge?

The only way you can get your car to move for that long-awaited ride only if you have a charged battery. I am sure you wouldn’t want to be left stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a dead battery.

Nevertheless, this ugly incident happens, and there are many reasons why the vehicle’s battery won’t hold a charge. Knowing the underlying causes of an uncharged battery is pretty imperative to solve the problem.

Still, it seems essential to know how the system works. First of all, the battery provides the power needed by the starter and the car’s main relay. Then, the vehicle’s computer and fuel pump receive power from the main relay.

Kindly note that the spark plugs can only get their initial electric spark from the car battery. With these, the engine gets cranked, after which the alternator turns and starts generating energy that keeps the battery charged.

If the alternator cannot provide this energy for charging the battery for a while, there is a significant chance of the battery going dead. Aside from the possible factors that prevent the battery from charging, other factors may drain the charge from the battery.

how to fix a car battery that doesnt hold charge

How long should a car battery hold a charge?

Newer batteries are in good shape to hold a charge better, and as such, they can last for two weeks without car owners starting their vehicles to charge them.

 Some of the common causes of a battery not holding charge include.

Aged Battery

The primary electricity source is the vehicle’s battery, and it can last for a while. Still, it seems crucial to learn about the longevity of batteries and when you need to replace the battery. If the car battery starts getting old, you may start noticing that the car battery won’t charge when jumped.

Hence, for a suitable replacement, much more if you notice the battery corroding. Before you start thinking of “how to revive a car battery that won’t charge,” you should first ascertain if you would be getting a new car battery. If you find it tasking to tell if the battery is too old or seems dead, you can seek the assistance of an auto care expert.

Faulty Alternator

When the car’s alternator goes bad, there is every tendency for the battery not to get charged as the engine operates. With this, the battery may end up dead, which would incur some cost for a replacement.

Thus, it is crucial to solve this issue before it results in further damage. Kindly inspect the headlights while the car runs to see if the light diminishes gradually. If it does, you should look at the alternator and fix any faults.

car battery won't hold charge

Defective Fuse

Another reason why the vehicle’s battery won’t hold a charge is due to a defective fuse or “blown a fuse.” With such fuse damage, the battery current drains, and it would be best to identify such a problem quickly. Once you can pinpoint this problem, then you can replace the blown fuse.

Stretched Alternator Belt

As the vehicle’s alternator belt starts getting old, it may start appearing loose or stretched. With such a problem, the alternator would not work effectively. As such, it would not produce the required charge for the car battery. Thus, this may be why you have a car battery that tests good but won’t hold a charge.

Parasitic Battery Drain

Your car won’t start because of a drained battery, but what could be the reason for the car’s sudden battery discharge? There is a handful of reasons, and one such is keeping an electrical device on for too long.

Perhaps you forgot to turn off the car trunk light, radio, clock, or even the alarm system. In such a case, you should conduct a battery test using the ammeter. Connecting the ammeter leads to the battery and its cable; try to check the current drain.

Twenty-five milliamps or less seems like the standard drain in many cars, but it is a huge electrical problem if the drain exceeds 100 milliamps. There would be a need for further diagnosis, and you might want to take the vehicle to the mechanic.

Excessive Corrosion

Do you find corrosion on the battery or around it? Then this may be the cause of the battery’s inability to hold a charge. The corrosion seems like a barrier that stops the battery from receiving a full charge.

Although the corrosion on the battery may mean that the battery is getting old, that is not always the case. Kindly note that poor battery maintenance can cause such corrosion. Thus, you should take care of your car’s battery and take off such car battery corrosion when present.

Low Water

Some car batteries have to fill holes that allow easy maintenance, where you add some water. If you have such, you may need to check the water level if the vehicle won’t start. You can top the water if it appears low to make the battery function well. Nevertheless, some modern car batteries do not have such features.


How do you fix a battery that won’t hold a charge?

Try to prepare the battery by cleaning its post and ensuring you get rid of possible contaminants. Then, start performing a load test to determine if the battery is in good shape. You can do that by connecting the load tester to the positive and negative terminals and see if the volts drop below 12. If the volt is below 12, you would need a battery replacement.

Then, get out the cell covers with the aid of a screwdriver and conduct a hygrometer test. After these tests and the battery appears fine, you should try reconditioning the battery with treatment chemicals.

So, before you get started withhow to fix a car battery that doesn’t hold a charge,” it would be better to determine the problem first. If it is an issue with the current draining, it will help fix the cause of the battery drain.

How do you tell if the battery or alternator is faulty?

When the car’s engine starts and goes dead immediately, it is most likely due to a bad alternator. In most cases, the alternator is not supplying the battery charge, and as such, you can’t start the vehicle.

Nevertheless, if the car died while driving and you later find it hard to start it again, there is a chance that the battery is dead. There always exists the debate of a faulty alternator vs. battery causing the car not to start.

So, you can look at some signs to tell which component has gone bad. You may need to jump-start the car to see if it would come on using jumper cables in such a situation. If the car can start with the jump-start, then the battery is faulty.

What does it mean when your car battery keeps dying?

In most cases, the vehicle’s battery keeps dying due to some corrosion on or around it, as it prevents sufficient charge. Again, the issue may occur due to bad battery cables, loose connections, or stretched alternator belts.

With such, the battery does not also receive an appropriate charge to keep it functional. Aside from these issues, other charging problems and various forms of electrical drains can be responsible. Thus, it seems wise not to leave the dome lights or headlights on for a very long time.

Again, it would help if you plan a suitable battery maintenance schedule to care for your car’s primary electricity source. Do not also forget that extreme weather conditions may also cause the battery to keep dying. Such weather conditions may intensify the underlying problems of the car’s battery.

Can you recharge a completely dead battery?

Depending on the situation, it is pretty possible to charge dead car batteries, and such a task is quite easy. How do you know that the battery is dead? Well, in most cases, the vehicle would not start when you turn on the starter.

You can also hear a “labored sound” when you turn the key starter, as it cranks slowly. Aside from that, you wouldn’t notice the dome car lights when you open the vehicle’s door; the radio and headlights won’t also turn on.

However, it would be best to know that it is not the alternator’s job to conduct the task of recharging a completely discharged battery even though it maintains the battery’s health. Thus, there would be a need to get the dead battery connected to a jump starter or any dedicated battery charger.

Can you jump a car with a bad alternator?

It seems technically impossible to jump-start many cars with bad alternators; it can work for some vehicles. When the car stops suddenly and won’t start, you can use a jump starter to supply some power and start the engine.

With that supply of power, you can easily move the vehicle from the road and take it down to the service station for repairs. Thus, it would help if you get one and connect the red clamp to the positive battery terminals (one the dead and good battery).

Then do the same with the black clamp for the battery negative terminal. Kindly note that it is not recommendable to connect the jumper cables for too long. Doing so may result in some damages to the sensitive electronics of your car.

Final Words

The car battery supplies electricity and powers various other components of the vehicle. Thus, the battery must remain efficient at all times. Nevertheless, the car battery won’t hold a charge due to some reasons. Still, it is important to find the underlying cause and fix the problem.

Ignoring such issues may result in a dead battery, and as such, the engine won’t start. Hence, it would help if you look through how the battery system works and why the battery won’t receive or retain its charge.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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