What Happens When Your Car Battery Dies?

Written by jereka hunt
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What Happens When Your Car Battery Dies?
Use safety gloves and goggles and exercise caution when handling car batteries. (dead battery image by Katrina Miller from Fotolia.com)

If you've left your car headlights on overnight, you'll probably wake up to a dead battery. A loose or corroded connector can also cause a battery to stop working. The age of the battery can also play a role.


A car battery has three main parts: the anode and cathode (the two connectors) and the battery solution, which is sulphuric acid. A chemical reaction occurs between the anode and the solution, which forms electrons. The electrons flow through the circuit to the cathode, where they re-enter the battery and are incorporated into another chemical reaction between the cathode and the solution. When the battery is chemically dead, one (or more) of these reactants has been used up.


Check for power to tell if your battery has died. When you turn the key to the number two position, you should hear a bell or buzzer, and signals and lights will brighten on the dashboard panel. If these indicators are dimly lit, or if there is only a "click" sound when the ignition is engaged, the battery is only drained. If nothing happens when the ignition is turned, the battery is either dead or disconnected.


If your battery isn't working, make sure all the connections are tight. If the battery is drained, a boost from another car or a jump box will get your car started. If the battery is three years old (or older), it may be chemically dead and will need to be replaced.

What Happens When Your Car Battery Dies?
A jump box is a portable battery booster. (battery charger image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

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