How Often Do I Need to Start My Car To Keep The Battery Charged?

How often do I need to start my car to keep the battery charged
DateDecember 10, 2020
How often do I need to start my car to keep my battery charged? Let's stop right there. Your car's charging system is designed to maintain a battery near a full state of charge, not recharge a deeply-discharged battery. We often hear people claim, "As long as I start my car every five or six days, the battery won't die." If what we said about your car's charging system is true (and it is), then what really happens when you start your car to keep your battery charged?

You accelerate the demise of your battery and potentially other even more expensive parts on your car. If you are only starting your car to keep your battery charged, there's a better way to do it, it's called a battery charger. Connect a battery charger to your battery and it will keep your battery charged for you.

Anyone who tells you to start your car once a week to keep your battery charged is giving you terrible advice. Every car and every battery is different. How does someone offering that advice know how much electricity your car uses when it isn't being driven? How do they know what the state of charge is of your battery when your car is parked? How do they know simply starting the car will put any energy back into the battery...or letting it idle for a certain amount of time...or driving it around the block, etc... The answer to all of those questions is that the person DOESN'T know.

Here's what we do know. Most batteries are not fully-charged when vehicles are parked. In fact, we recommend connecting your car battery to a quality battery charger once a month, just to make sure your battery does get fully-charged. If you take a lot short trips when you drive and/or your vehicle has a high key-off load (it uses a lot of electricity when it is parked), there's a good chance your battery is always in a state of being partially-discharged and that can have a negative impact on other parts in your car. In fact, the battery energy consumed during storage and starting may be greater than the energy put back into the battery by simply starting it, so you could be doing the opposite of what you intend when you start a car to charge a battery.

Watch this video below and listen to how slowly the engine turns as a dying battery tries to start it. When your battery isn't fully-charged, your starter has to work harder to start your engine and you are shortening the life of your starter as a result. When your battery isn't fully-charged, your vehicle's charging system has to work harder to try and charge the battery, once you do get the car started.

High temperatures are no friend to electrical components and alternators get very hot when they are trying to recharge deeply-discharged batteries. Relying on an alternator to recharge a deeply-discharged battery can significantly shorten the lifespan of your alternator. Did you hear how quickly the same car started up, when it had a new, fully-charged battery? Right away!

So how do you keep your battery properly-charged, if starting it just for the sake of charging the battery is the wrong answer? By using a quality battery charger or maintainer.