Do Hazard Lights Drain the Battery?

If you have ever had a car break down in low visibility weather or at night, you understand the importance of using your hazard lights. Your hazard lights let other drivers know you are there and that they may need to adjust their speed and direction to avoid crashing into your car.

It wouldn’t be a good situation if you needed to pull over to the side of the highway to wait for help and put on your hazard lights only to find out that while you are waiting, your car battery has been drained. This type of situation can be avoided by taking a little time to research how hazard lights drain battery power.

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You may have wondered if hazard lights can drain your battery. To answer this question properly, let us discuss how a battery works and why a drain can cause it to malfunction. Your car uses a standard lead acid battery.

A car battery is responsible for running the electronics when your ignition is engaged, but also when your motor is not running. This is why your radio and accessories all kick on prior to your engine being engaged. The battery is also responsible for supplying your starter motor with the power it needs to engage your engine.

If your starter does not get the proper 12-volt charge, it will not have enough power to start your vehicle.

Your car battery is composed of six separate cells that each produces two volts of power. This power is produced by creating a chemical reaction within the battery cells. A cell consists of a pair of lead plates. One of the plates is made from lead dioxide and the other is a sponged lead.

Alone, these two metals do not create electricity, but when placed in sulphuric acid, these lead plates interact and turn the acid into an electrolyte gel. The byproduct is electricity.

If you notice that your battery is holding a charge when tested, but continually fails to start your car after it has been sitting for a bit, you may have a parasitic load or a bad cell.

A parasitic load occurs when a wire short happens in your car’s electrical system. This short is equivalent to leaving your headlights on permanently. It doesn’t take very long for your car battery to drain completely when confronted with a parasitic load.

A cell can go bad when a wall is ruptured causing acid to leak out. If your battery is leaking acid, you should never handle it without using gloves and goggles. Acid is very corrosive and can be very dangerous if it encounters your skin. A battery cell can rupture for many reasons.

One of the most common reasons a battery cell ruptures is overheating. When a battery overheats, it begins to swell like a ball. This causes the cell walls to rupture. Overcharging or using the wrong charger is another common mistake people make that can cause their batteries to leak.

Any electrical device in your vehicle can become a parasitic load drain if it is left on. Headlights, radios, and even door pins can become problematic if they are left operating when your vehicle’s motor is off. When your car is running, your alternator powers your electronics.

Your alternator works like a tiny electrical motor that produces electricity by rotating a magnet inside of coils. An alternator is attached to your motor via a belt. This belt constantly turns your alternator, allowing it to produce enough electricity to operate your vehicle’s electronics.

Your alternator also recharges your battery, so it is ready for the next time it is needed to engage the starter.

This understanding of a car battery’s recharging system should help you to see why hazard lights drain battery. Your hazard lights are designed to use minimal power, to buffer the drain on your battery. However, eventually, your hazard lights can and will drain your battery completely.

Learning how to recondition batteries can help you to keep your battery operating smoothly longer. There are many great online reconditioning systems available today such as EZ Battery Reconditioning. These systems walk you through the process of restoring your battery.

The directions are easy to follow and no expensive tools are required. A little research can save you hundreds of dollars in replacement battery costs.

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Learn how to recondition batteries and save money!

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