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Can a Car Battery Die While Driving?

Can a Car Battery Die While Driving?

There are multiple ways that a car battery can die, and it can sometimes happen when you least expect it. In some cases, a battery might even cause life-threatening problems to you and your car if it happens at the wrong time. This has led people to wonder: can a battery die while you’re driving?

A car battery is like any other battery in the sense that its power can run out. This also means it can die at any time when it’s not taken care of properly. So a car battery can certainly die while someone is driving, which will result in a series of dangerous problems.

A dead car battery can hurt you and your car, so it’s important to understand how to maintain and care for these items. This will help you avoid being stranded and help you save money on expensive repairs later on.

Dead Battery

A “dead battery” in a car is referring to a battery that is out of charge. When that comes up, it means that the voltage of the standard battery level is below a functional amount. This can cause electrical problems in the car’s system if the engine is running but the battery is dead.

The voltage for a fully charged automotive battery should be measured up to 12.6 volts or above. The battery should be measured up to 12.6 volts or higher because it takes 12 volts to start a car.

Even though the minimum to start a car is 12 volts, when measured reading is done and it comes out below 12.2 volts, the resting voltage of the battery is weak. The other alternative is that if the battery has too much voltage, which is also harmful to the car. During the time of exploitation, the battery should be in the range of 13.7V to 14.2V.

When a battery loses its charge while you are driving, it leaves you stranded. This can happen more frequently if the car battery is going bad and has a repeated history of jumping, dying, or stalling out.

Signs of a Dead/Dying Car Battery:

  • A sudden slower start
  • Headlights and power, but not starting
  • No radio
  • Odd smells from your battery
  • Battery is old
  • Vehicle starts and then dies immediately
  • Battery size is swollen


An alternator is responsible for charging the car while it is running and driving. It works by turning mechanical energy into electrical energy to give the car direct currents to power.

When the alternator is no longer working, the car is running off of the energy stored in the battery. Alternator failure comes from it being worn down over time through extreme temperatures and dirt.

Car Battery Light

Car battery warning lights are found on the dashboard of the vehicle. These are known to come up when there is something wrong with your battery recharging system.

This signal can mean that the battery is no longer being charged by the alternator and is running on its own charge. When the car is running on only battery power, it will drain and come to a halt.

The car battery light will always illuminate when starting the engine of the car. This is normal for the light to show when you first turn on the car. There are times where the battery light will stay on while you are driving, and this can be from other causes than just the battery.

The most common cause is a broken alternator belt. The car can still drive and operate normally for a certain amount of time. This is because it is running off of the energy stored inside of the battery, but you will need to do something to fix this problem before it gets worse.

There are times where the car battery will not come on to give a warning that the battery is running low. This can cause your car to break down and come to a halt without any warning whatsoever.

Other Symptoms That Your Car Battery Is Bad:

  • Engine cranks slowly when starting
  • The vehicle needs frequent jump starts
  • Lights are dim
  • Clicking when you turn the engine

Jump Starts

The most common way to deal with a dead battery is to jump-start the car. Jump-starting the car gives it enough energy and power to turn the car on and start to recharge the batteries.

There are different requirements and steps for the jump boost to work correctly.

Willing Person and Car

Before you jump-start your car, you must find someone who is willing to help you and has a good battery. Once that person is found, have them park their car so that the car hoods are facing each other and are practically touching.

Once the vehicles are in the correct position, engage the parking brakes in both cars and turn off the engines. Pop the hood of each car and locate the battery. The battery is sometimes covered by a plastic hood.


The next step is to identify the two terminals on each car. There will be a positive terminal (red) and a negative terminal (black). The colors correspond with the correct cords that are needed to be used for the jump to work. Before proceeding, make sure that the terminals are free of corrosion and are clean.

Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Uncoil the battery cord and hook the other red clamp onto the positive terminal of the live vehicle.

Facing towards the live vehicle, hook on a black clamp to the negative terminal of the battery. Then, uncoil the cord and connect the other black clamp onto a flat, unpainted metal surface of the car’s frame.


Once the cords and cables are in the proper positions, turn the working vehicle on. Once the working car is on, let it run for a few minutes to pass energy and a charge to the once dead battery. After a few minutes, you can try to start the car with the dead battery.

If the car does not turn on, please contact roadside assistance. If the car starts right away, then carefully remove the cables in the reverse order that you put them on the car. While this happening, make sure that the ends do not touch until all parts have been removed.

The working car can shut off right away when it is finished. For the newly recharged car, let the car run for 10 minutes and drive around for about 30 minutes to try and recharge the battery with the alternator.

After that amount of time, go to any automotive shop to have the battery checked out.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!