The long, hot summer takes a toll on your car battery, shortening its lifespan. Though we’re just moving into the summer season, soon sweater weather will arrive, and your battery may be start to lose its charge.

Modern vehicles offer drivers a wide array of onboard accessories and entertainment, 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, create a parasitic drain. If you’re battery is already declining after enduring scorching summer heat, one parasitic drain may be all it takes to finish it off.

7 Silent Battery Drains

1. Headlights 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. As a result, a fully charged battery can be completely drained of power in just one to two hours if the lights are left on when the engine is powered down.

2. Interior Lights Left On

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, the trunk is not completely shut, or the reading lights were not turned off just before exiting the vehicle.

3. 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.

4. 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 (e.g., lock or unlock the car, start the engine, open the trunk, etc.). 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.

5. Corrosion

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 come 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.

6. Aftermarket Car Stereos

Car stereos installed by the automaker typically will not drain your battery; however, if you have an aftermarket stereo system, the larger and more powerful the system, the greater the potential for battery drain. Sometimes, aftermarket stereos are installed in a way that the wiring causes the system to continue to draw power even when the car is not in use, resulting in a dead battery.

7. Car Alarms

Like stereos, car alarms installed by the automakers generally don’t cause trouble, but aftermarket car alarms are a different story. If installed incorrectly, they can cause a significant drain on your battery.

AAA Can Help!

When driven under normal circumstances, car batteries have a three-to-five-year lifespan. However, if your battery is reaching the end of its lifespan or has died unexpectedly, AAA Oregon/Idaho is here to help. Visit to schedule battery service and a trained Battery Service Technician will come to your home, office, or location of your choice and run a FREE Battery and Charging System test. They can also jumpstart your vehicle or replace your battery on the spot if needed to get you back on your way.