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Why driving can’t bring back a dead battery

December 11th, 2015 by

Here's your alternator - no chargeThe battery starts the car. The alternator charges the battery. So if I have a weak battery, the alternator should recharge it fully if I drive around long enough.

It sounds perfectly logical, right? Too bad it’s totally wrong.

Mostly Dead vs. All Dead


True, the alternator can give a dose of electricity to a weak battery. But weak batteries are only slightly alive.

If heat or severe discharging has damaged the battery, it may have lost the capacity to start a car more than a few times, no matter how much power the alternator gives it.

That’s why you can jump-start a car, drive it, park for a few hours (or longer in warm temperatures) and start the engine from a weak battery – only to have to jump-start it again.

Alternator’s Too Busy

Auto shop technicians who have replaced an alternator might recognize this warning printed on the part’s box: “The alternator isn’t designed to charge a dead battery. Premature alternator failure can occur and may void your warranty.”

That’s because the alternator is running all the other onboard electronics.

To fully recharge a dead 12-volt battery, you’d have to drive about 2,000 miles faster than 70 mph without using the radio, AC or headlights.

And then you’d have to buy an alternator.

Your alternator isn't designed to charge a dead battery. Click To Tweet

The ED-18 to the Rescue

The Interstate Batteries ED-18 Battery Analyzer

The Interstate Batteries ED-18 Battery Analyzer tells your battery’s state of health within seconds.

Battery damage is hard to diagnose without the Interstate Batteries ED-18 Battery and Electrical System Analyzer. It’s even harder if the alternator is the actual problem.

Good thing the Interstate ED-18 can test the starting and charging system. Step-by-step prompts help auto techs provide you the right service the first time around.

Find an Interstate Batteries Dealer near you and ask for a battery test with the ED-18. You’ll be glad you did.

Have fun storming the castle.

By Youssef Sleiman (70 Posts)

Youssef Sleiman writes and reports the powerful news at Interstate Batteries.

Posted in Automotive, ED-18, Maintenance
Tags: , ,

Luke Zerbst
Luke Zerbst

Nathan Griffin, time to put 6 or so turbos on the taurus.

About The Outrageously Dependable Blog

Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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