Few cars often display a warning message stating “Battery Discharge Warning.”
Technically, a battery discharge warning does not translate into a bad battery, but it is the current state of your car battery.
The Battery Discharge warning indicates that your vehicle’s battery is draining quicker than it’s charging, indicating something wrong with your car. This notice will appear on the display, infotainment system, or dashboard.
You will get a ‘Battery Discharge Warning‘ if your car battery continuously loses charge, and it does not matter if your car is switched on and charging.
This occurs when the current into your battery is less than the current out of it.
You don’t need to worry about getting a ‘Battery Discharge Warning’ while your engine is switched off.
It will probably take 6-8 hours of radio usage before your battery fully drains. However, getting this message while driving indicates your battery is bad and will need replacement.
This blog will discuss all possible reasons for a ‘Batter Discharge Warning” and how to fix them.
You can fix the battery discharge warning by switching on your car or by turning off your radio, lights, climate control, etc., you are using at the moment. You may also need to replace your car battery or look for why you are getting this warning. You can also bypass the warning system in a few models.
What does a battery discharge warning mean?
You will get a battery discharge warning to inform you that your car battery is not charging and is being continuously discharged.
In short, a battery discharge warning is not an error or does not translate into the state of the battery being good or bad.
However, in some cases, this can be a sign of a BAD car battery if you get this message while your car engine is turned on or driving your car.
The 12 V battery system powers the electrical system of your car.
Following items in your car won’t need a key to be switched on.
- Car Lights
- Hazard Lights
So, if you turn on these items and your car battery is not fully charged, you will get an error of “Battery discharge Warning.” Of course, you won’t get this error all the time if your battery is fully charged.
The following Items will start withdrawing power before you start your car engine, but the rest of the system is turned on.
- Power Windows
- Seat Adjustments and Seat Heating
- Steering Adjustments
- Wind Wipers and Wiper Fluid Pump
- Radiator Fan
- Radio and Infotainment System
- Air Conditioning System (Only fans)
- Electronic Control Modul (ECM) with all sensors and system check
You are more likely to get a “Battery Discharge Warning” if you keep your car in this state; the car battery will continuously discharge. After receiving this warning, you should stop doing so or switch on your car engine to recharge your battery.
The following Items will withdraw current from your car battery when your car engine is turned on.
- Steering System
- Braking System
- Cooling System
- Alternator (Only once at the time of starting your car)
The alternator will keep your car battery charged when your car engine is switched on. But, if your car battery is terrible state and it’s still not charging correctly, you may get a “Battery Discharge Warning,” which means you should replace it ASAP.
However, you will more likely get this message when your car is standing still with your engine turned on. This is because the car alternator produces more power and can charge your car battery more quickly when your car is running.
Other factors that can discharge your car battery quickly!
So we discussed all the usual ways to keep draining your car battery, but there can be other factors that quickly discharge your car battery while everything else is turned off.
Bad Connections or Short Ground
Proper connections in an electrical system prevent energy loss in form of additional resistance. When electrical connections in your car are bad due to being rusty, loose, or broken, it can withdraw more current than your 12V electrical system is designed for.
Rusty connections add an additional resistance to the entire electrical system requiring more power for all components to work correctly.
Broken Connections or wires can also result in power leakage, quickly draining your car battery.
Faulty Alternator and Charging System
A healthy alternator and charging system must keep your car battery fully charged. It’s a complex system interconnected with multiple wires and fuses. There can be a few different reasons for a nonworking charging system.
Fuses: Do check your fuse box to make sure everything is ok. A blown-out fuse box can jeopardize your car battery charging system.
Although a faulty alternator will not help start your car in the first place, there can be a scenario where it’s properly working as a motor but not producing enough power as a generator to charge up your car battery and power up all electrical systems.
Make sure your car alternator is working correctly. You don’t need to worry about your car alternator if you get a battery discharge warning while your car is stationary.
Faulty Voltage Regulator:
The output from a car alternator is inconsistent and varies significantly with the RPM of the car engine.
A voltage regulator manages the output power and keeps it consistent. A faulty regulator will not properly charge the 12 V battery, and you will get a battery drainage warning.
Batteries are highly dependent on a suitable temperature to work correctly. Harsh temperatures affect the way a battery responds to loads.
A fully charged battery won’t be able to provide enough juice at cold temperatures. At lower temperatures, the battery capacity is reduced significantly. Your car computer system can report a discharged battery as the terminal voltages and max current output is highly affected at freezing temperatures.
So, getting a “battery discharge warning” at freezing temperatures is not a problem, and you should wait for your car to warm up for the warning to get away. To avoid the problem in the future, try to park your car inside a garage.
High Summer Temperatures:
The output current and voltage are not affected much at higher temperatures, but the battery’s overall life is significantly affected. This means you will have to change your car battery more frequently if you live somewhere it’s mostly hot.
Getting a battery discharge warning in case of a bad battery is quite evident.
Quick Discharge: Bad batteries will quickly discharge, and you are most likely to get the battery discharge warning if your car engine is switched off and you are using your car radio or other components.
Dry Battery: If you use a battery that needs regular maintenance by ensuring the electrolyte level remains consistent, you might get the batter discharge error due to a dry battery. Lower electrolyte level affects your battery’s charging, discharging, and overall life. If your car battery is completely dry, filling it up might not work, and you will have to replace it.
Old Battery: Batteries are consumables and can charge/discharge a specific number of times before they lose the total capacity of storing electrical power. So, if your car battery is old, it will eventually need a replacement.
If you are planning to get a battery for your car, make sure to get a maintainance free battery.
Other Faulty Components
Alternator Belt: A car engine is complex machinery consisting of multiple parts. One of them is the serpentine belt. If it is worn out, it can affect the charging capability of the alternator.
Parasitic Drain: We know there are multiple electronic components in a car. If a component is malfunctioning, it can withdraw continuous current from the battery, also known as “Parasitic Drain,” and discharge your car battery.
How to Fix Battery Discharge Warning?
Now let’s discuss how to fix this battery discharge issue in totality. The steps you need to take can vary according to everyone’s situation, but the problem is fixable.
Switch On your Car
The quickest remedy of all of them is to switch on your car. Unfortunately, you are most likely getting this error due to excessive radio usage, charging devices, or climate control on your car battery while your car engine is switched on.
So after turning on your car, the message will automatically disappear.
Diable the Warning
Different models of cars have different methods of disabling the battery discharge warning, which I will not recommend. If you are annoyed, check this tutorial on how to disable it.
Reset Battery Switch
Battery Drain Warning is a preventive measure in a few cars to avoid complete battery drainage. Newer models may have battery reset pushbuttons once their main computer disconnects the 12V battery system to avoid further drainage.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to do it.
Maintain your Battery
If you are still getting a “Battery Discharge Warning” after resetting or switching on your car, you may need a little maintenance on your current battery.
Start with checking all connections, water level, and other factors affecting battery performance.
The ultimate method of removing the battery discharge warning is replacing your battery if it is bad or too old to hold a charge for a reasonable time.
So different models of cars can face the problem of “Battery Discharge Warning.” It’s not a problem in totality, but a warning to avoid a problem shall be considered severe to avoid degrading your car battery’s overall life.