Can a Car Battery Die While Driving

Can a Car Battery Die While Driving?

It is not uncommon to walk into your garage or out of a store and meet with the unwelcome news of a dead car battery.

Once it happens to you, it’s understandable you might be anxious about he next time you drive the car… because, what if it’s possible for a car battery to die while driving?

Your car’s battery can die while you are driving. When the battery in your car dies while driving, your car’s electrical system becomes compromised. Although the engine continues to run after the battery dies, your vehicle may stall if the alternator responsible for recharging the battery is faulty.

In this article, I will delve deeper into the reasons your car battery dies when driving and point out common signs of a bad car battery. I will also provide answers to some related questions.

This will mean you are much better prepared in case your car battery ever dies while driving, and how you can prevent it happening in the first place.

Can your car’s battery die while driving?

Though it rarely happens, your car’s battery can die while you are driving. A dead battery with a running engine indicates a problem with your car’s electrical system.

Unfortunately, you may not get any warning signs of a faulty battery until you are on the road. The warning sign is usually your low battery indicator light blinking on the dashboard.

A dead battery will not interrupt your driving if your alternator is still in good condition. However, if the alternator dies alongside the battery, you will lose power to almost everything, including your engine, lighting, HVAC, radio, and power steering.

It is best to heed the warning of the battery indicator light, move your car off the road to a safe spot, and then address the issue.

Handy Hint: Here’s what to do in the event your car appears to be losing oil but you can’t see a leak anywhere.

Reasons why your car’s battery dies while driving 

Several reasons can cause your car battery to die while you are driving. While some of these causes are easy to identify, others require professional help. 

Reasons why your car battery dies as you drive include:

1. Faulty Alternator

The alternator in your car charges the battery while you are driving. It supplies power to your vehicle through direct current by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

When your alternator is faulty and cannot generate power, the battery, whether new or old, is directly affected. 

With a bad alternator, your car’s electrical system is forced to rely on a battery that is no longer being charged by the alternator.

Your vehicle also begins to run on the energy stored in the battery, which may be limited and will eventually bring the car to a halt.

Your car’s battery and alternator must work collectively to ensure the smooth running of your vehicle.

When there is a fault, the alternator transmits an S.O.S to the system, which turns on the battery lights on the dash. Once this happens, find a secure location to park your vehicle, then seek professional help.

An alternator may fail because it is worn out, has dirt build-ups or is affected by extreme weather conditions.

2. Bad car battery

It is not news that with a dead car battery, your vehicle won’t start. However, if your car’s battery dies while driving, the alternator keeps the engine running, but your car may eventually stall.

A bad battery in your vehicle forces the alternator to work twice as hard to keep the engine running.

When the alternator overworks, it strains the engine, and if the problem is not resolved soon enough, your car will stall.

3. Faulty fuel pump

Your fuel pump can malfunction and stop supplying fuel to the engine, which would make it difficult for your car to start.

Your fuel pump can also fail while the car is running, causing it to stall. The fuel in the car’s tank is often to blame when the battery shuts down as a result of a malfunctioning fuel pump.

Feeding your fuel tank with the wrong fuel type is one of the reasons your fuel pump fails.

Another reason for fuel pump failure is a blockage in the fuel filter or fuel pump. It is always advisable to consult an expert when experiencing fuel pump issues.

4. Bad ASD relay

In modern vehicles, the Automatic Shutdown Relay (ASD) is a vital component of the whole engine management system. The ASD relay is in charge of transmitting power from the battery to the injectors and ignition coils, which creates the spark that ignites the engine.

A defective ASD relay can prevent your engine from starting. It can also cause your car’s battery to drain or die while you’re driving.

Signs of a bad or weak car battery

Not every car issue is easily detectable before it worsens or leaves you stranded on the road. Luckily, your car’s battery usually gives a few warning signs before it fails.

Here are some common signs of a dying battery in your vehicle:

  • The engine cranks slowly when starting the car
  • Your car starts and then dies off almost immediately
  • A bulging battery case
  • Dim or no headlights
  • Blinking battery light on the dashboard
  • Radio is inoperative
  • Difficulty using electrical components
  • Moist areas on or around the battery
  • Rusts on and around the battery post
  • Strange smell from your battery
  • Old battery

What to do when your car battery dies while driving

When you detect that your car’s battery has failed while you are driving, you should pull over immediately. Once you’ve pulled over in a safe spot, try any of these methods:

Please note, once a battery is dead, attempting to rev the engine to charge it will not work.

Method 1: Restart your car

  • Step 1: Turn on your hazard lights
  • Step 2: Mount your emergency roadside kits on the rear and in front of your vehicle
  • Step 3: Turn off the engine and set the parking brake.
  • Step 4: Allow the engine to idle for a few minutes so it can cool off.
  • Step 5: Release the parking brake then restart your car.
  • Step 6: Bravo!

Method 2: Jump start your car

car battery dead when driving
If the car battery dies when driving, stop and attempt a jump start. (
  • Step 1: Park a car with a working battery 18 inches apart from your vehicle for easy connection of the jumper cables.
  • Step 2: Turn off the engines of both cars and set the parking brake
  • Step 3: Pop the car hood of both cars and take out the jumper cables
  • Step 4: Clamp the red jumper cable on your battery’s positive (+) terminal.
  • Step 5: Clamp the other end of the red jumper to the positive terminal of the other car.
  • Step 6: Clamp the black jumper cable on your battery’s negative (-) terminal.
  • Step 7: Clamp the other end of the red jumper to the positive terminal of the other car.
  • Step 8: Clamp the last negative cable on an unpainted metal surface of your car, far from the battery.
  • Step 9: Start the car with a working battery and leave the engine to run for a few minutes then go ahead to restart your car.
  • Step 10: Leave both cars to run for a few minutes, then disconnect the cables.

Method 3: Call a towing company

If methods one and two do not work, call for toll service.

FAQs on battery dying in cars

How to preserve your car’s battery life 

There are several things you can do to preserve your vehicle’s battery life. Some include:

  • 1. Avoiding frequent short trips.
  • 2. Keeping your battery terminals clean.
  • 3. Ensuring your battery is secure and fastened tightly.
  • 4. Turning off your car’s electronics while idling.
  • 5. Performing regular battery tests.

How often should you replace your car battery?

With proper care, you will only have to replace your car’s battery every three to five years. Your car battery’s lifespan depends on several factors including driving style, charging system, and weather conditions.


Your car battery is an important component of your car that serves as the central power hub for its electronic systems. It stores electricity and then distributes jolts to every electrical part in your vehicle.

The battery maintains a consistent flow of energy throughout the car, but like other car components, your battery can develop faults or die.

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