Potential Fall Battery Drains

AAA Mid States

As the days grow shorter and autumn leaves begin to fall, it’s a great time to make sure your car is ready for the chilly weather that lies ahead. The long, hot summer takes a toll on your car battery, shortening its lifespan. By the time sweater weather has arrived, your battery may be starting to lose its charge.

Modern vehicles offer drivers a wide array of onboard accessories and technology, from multimedia players and Bluetooth connectivity to backup cameras, GPS navigation and heated seats. While these bells and whistles elevate the driving experience, they also draw power from the battery, even when the engine isn’t running, creating a parasitic drain. If your battery is already declining after enduring scorching summer heat, one parasitic drain may be all it takes to finish it off.


Lights Left On

While many modern vehicles automatically turn the headlights off after turning off the ignition, some cars still don’t have this helpful feature. When an interior light is left on after the engine is turned off, the battery is slowly drained of power. This frequently happens when a door is not fully closed, the glove box or vanity mirror is left open or the trunk is not completely shut.

Accessory Socket Plug-Ins

The accessory socket (i.e., cigarette lighter) is a handy spot to plug in phone chargers, radar detectors, air fresheners, dash cams and other gadgets. The 12-volt outlet is powered by the car battery, even when the ignition is off. If an accessory remains plugged in with the engine off, it continues to draw current from the battery, gradually depleting its ability to start your car.

Key Fob

Modern vehicles are opened with the click of a button using a key fob. Some cars even detect when the fob is near, allowing the driver to simply touch the handle to open the door. When the key fob is close by, a receiver inside the vehicle wakes up to wait for instructions. If you leave the fob within 15 feet of your vehicle, the receiver remains engaged as it waits for your command, slowly discharging the battery.


Have you ever seen a powdery white, blue or green substance on your battery terminals? Batteries contain a combination of chemicals that work to power your battery. When the gas or liquid from these chemicals comes in contact with the metal battery posts, a reaction creates powdery corrosion. This build-up of chemical waste can drain the power out of your battery and shorten its life, so it’s important to remove it as soon as you see it.


When driven under normal circumstances, car batteries have a 3- to 5-year lifespan. However, if your battery is reaching the end of its lifespan or has died unexpectedly, AAA is here to help 24/7. Visit AAA.com/carbatteryquote or call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357). A trained AAA Battery Service Technician will come to your home, office or location of your choice and run a free Battery and Charging System test. They also can jumpstart your vehicle or replace your battery on the spot if needed to get you back on your way.