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Why do car batteries die?

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Quick Answer

Car batteries die for a variety of reasons, from general age or cold temperatures freezing battery fluid to corrosion and overuse. In most cases, factors contributing to a dying battery are easily remedied. However, batteries tend to have a life of no more than 10 years, and there comes a time when the best measure is to replace an old battery.

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According to Farm and Dairy magazine, cold temperatures slow a battery's internal chemical reaction, preventing it from holding a charge. Battery blankets, which are made to fit snugly around a battery, come with an electrical cord that, once plugged in, keeps batteries warm overnight.

Corrosion, which tends to occur more regularly in damp climates, is another common contributor to dead batteries. Farm and Dairy magazine recommends removing the battery and checking it thoroughly for corrosive residue before cleaning it and ensuring the battery is properly seated under a vehicle's hood. Regular inspections are likely to keep corrosion at bay.

Many drivers leave multiple accessories on when they shut off their engine at night. While a factory radio is unlikely to drain a battery, a dome light, after-market stereo and car alarm are all capable of siphoning power even when the engine is off, according to Popular Mechanics.

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