Can a Bad Ignition Switch Drain a Battery?

It is never a good time to find out that your car battery has been drained. Although unpleasant, everyone who owns a vehicle will one day encounter a situation similar to this. In most cases, having a dead battery can cause you to be delayed or to be stranded for hours.

You may start to notice this happening more often and wonder if your battery is bad. Using a simple voltmeter to test for voltage, you can check to see if your battery is producing the desired power required. In many cases, you may deem it necessary to recondition your battery. This should be part of your maintenance routine.

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If you notice that your battery is charging properly but not lasting as long as usual, you may have a parasitic load. A parasitic load is another name for a wire short. This can be a fusing of two wires or a wire that is grounding against the metal chassis of your car. A wire short causes a loop in the circuit that drains your battery.

A parasitic load can drain your battery, even when your vehicle has been turned off. Locating a wire short can be very expensive and time-consuming. You should check a few places first. A bad ignition switch can drain a battery if it is shorted out.

To understand why a battery can only produce so much power, you should understand how the average car battery works.

Your car uses a traditional lead acid battery. Lead acid batteries rely on a chemical reaction to create electricity. This chemical reaction is occurring in your car battery right now, inside each of the battery cells. The majority of car batteries use the standard six-cell layout.

The inside of each cell consists of two plates. One is made of sponged lead and the other lead dioxide. These plates are submerged in sulphuric acid. The acid causes a chemical reaction to occur. This reaction produces electricity as a byproduct.

Each cell must produce two volts in order for your starter to get the 12-volts necessary to start your car. If a cell goes bad, your battery may test well but may not have the power to engage your starter. Cells can go bad for many reasons.

Overheating can cause your battery to swell and rupture the cell walls of your battery. Using the wrong charger can be another easy way to ruin a car battery. Overcharging or undercharging can cause your battery to be damaged. A parasitic load such as a bad ignition switch drain can cause your battery to be drained completely.

An ignition switch activates the main electrical system in your car. When you start your car, power from your ignition coil is sent to your spark plugs. If your ignition switch fails, your car will not start. This can mimic symptoms that resemble starter motor problems.

Your ignition switch has three positions to select from: off, on, and start. If your instrument panel does not light up, but your battery is showing power, you may have a bad ignition switch.

It is very common for someone to drain his or her battery by turning the ignition too many times. This is the most common way a bad ignition switch can drain a battery. Natural wear and tear is the leading cause of ignition switch failure.

Over time and with repeated use, your ignition switch will slowly begin to fail. If your turn your key to the on position and you do not see any lights or hear any relays engaging, you probably have a bad ignition or a bad battery.

Another way your ignition system is capable of draining your battery is through the way of a short. If your ignition systems wires become shorted out, this will create a parasitic load on your battery. This short can slowly drain your battery of its power, even while your vehicle is off. This can be very difficult to locate.

Many different things can drain your car battery. It is important to do the proper maintenance on your vehicle’s components to avoid any unnecessary breakdowns. This maintenance should eventually include a battery reconditioning, to keep your battery’s electrolyte levels full.

If you notice your vehicle is showing symptoms similar to that of a bad ignition switch, you should try to avoid draining your battery by over cranking your starter.

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Learn how to recondition batteries and save money!

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