Can a Car Battery Die While Driving?

You are driving your car, and without warning, your battery indicator light comes on in your car’s dashboard. Now, to handle this situation in the safest manner possible, you have to know the answer to this question: is it possible for my car’s battery to die while I’m driving? 

Yes, your car’s battery can die while driving. If your battery is dead while your engine is still running, it generally means that there is a significant problem within the electrical system of your automobile. When the warning of your battery indicator light comes on and stays on while you are driving, make sure that you pull off to the road and stop at a safe location. After your car’s battery dies, your car’s engine will soon stop running.

It seems strange that a car’s battery would die while your engine is running, but as I said before, it is totally possible. Car batteries usually last around three years on average. So, every three years, I highly recommend that you replace your car’s battery with a new one. The average price range for a new battery costs between $75 to $120, depending on the battery type and which one is best for your vehicle.

I know it can be incredibly frustrating when your car can give out on you without warning. Still, the best way to prevent your car’s battery from dying in the middle of driving is to replace it every three years.

This article will show you the causes and signs of a dead battery. If you learn how to maintain your car’s battery, then you will never have to deal with the issue of being stranded again.

If Your Battery Dies While Driving, Will Your Car Break Down?

Yes, your car will break down once your battery dies. Even while you are driving, your vehicle can suddenly stop working. Usually, the cause of a dead battery is a broken alternator, but we’ll get to that later.

Meanwhile, I’ll tell you what can cause an alternator to break down. It usually has to do with its drive belt. If you check your alternator and see that its drive belt is loose, cracked, or broken, then you can easily replace it with a new one.

If the drive belt does not appear to have any damage whatsoever, then it may have to do with an internal component of your alternator malfunctioning. The internal issue could be a broken voltage regulator, dirty electrical connectors, or the diode assembly has crashed.

How Could a Car’s Battery Break Down While Driving?

Sometimes, your car’s battery could be telling you that your alternator is defective. For those who don’t know, an alternator in a vehicle is equivalent to the iPhone charger cord that you use to charge your iPhone’s battery. Basically, the alternator continuously charges your battery. In some cases, the battery might die due to the alternator not working. Since the alternator can no longer charge the battery, the battery will run until it runs out of juice. Then it will die.

Other times, your battery could also be defective only because of the battery malfunctioning by itself. Even though the alternator is working, the battery will not be able to charge if one of its cells died or if there is a faulty electrical connection. You could quickly fix the battery by yourself if it is only the battery malfunctioning. Otherwise, go seek and consult with a professional if you fear that there is a problem with your alternator.

Is It Possible for Your Battery to Give out Without Warning?

Even if you are not using your car, your battery will slowly drain due to the other multiple accessories of your vehicle. For example, your battery keeps your clock time accurate and enables your security system whenever your car’s engine is off. Cars only utilize a small amount of power whenever their engines are off, and that is usually not enough to kill a healthy battery. However, if there the battery is malfunctioning or if it is too old, it could suddenly die without warning, even when your car’s ignition is off.

There is a more convenient way for a battery to die without warning, though. That is due to whenever there’s a problem with the car’s alternator. If your battery gives out without any warning signs flashing on your dashboard whatsoever, then you need to go see a professional who can diagnose the problem.

What Are the Signs of a Defective Battery and Alternator?

Now, we will quickly go over the signs of a bad battery and the symptoms of a bad alternator.

What Are the Clues That My Car’s Battery Is Malfunctioning?

Everybody should know the obvious signs, including your car not starting or the check engine light flashing on your dashboard. However, there are many obscure signs that your car’s battery is malfunctioning. These include the following:

  • Your vehicle stalls all of a sudden while you’re driving.
  • When you try to start your car, you hear the engine turning over at least three times.
  • You keep jump-starting your car on a regular basis (at least three times per week).
  • During a cold climate, your engine fails to turn on.
  • Your exterior and/or interior lights are very dull or do not turn on.
  • Your radio always has a weak signal, or it keeps turning off by itself randomly.
  • Your battery gives out shortly after you shut off your car’s engine.
  • The components of your battery seem worn out, broken, or loose.
  • If you have an older battery, its heated water levels are low or non-existent.

What Are the Clues That My Car’s Alternator Is Breaking Down?

It is vital to figure out the signs that only your car’s alternator is having problems. Once you do, you will no longer have to keep replacing good batteries.

If your car’s engine just keeps turning over and over again when you try to start your vehicle, it actually might be a problem with your alternator.

Another sign is that all of your interior lights, radio lights, headlights, and taillights appear dim or blink while you press on the accelerator.

Finally, odd smells or sounds are major red flags when it comes down to a broken alternator. If you are starting to smell burnt rubber or hear grinding sounds all the time, then go to a professional and have them double-check your battery.

How Do I Know When I Need to Replace My Car’s Battery?

Do not wait to replace your car’s battery until after you got stranded due to your battery dying. You need to know how to check if you need to replace your car’s battery.

First of all, check the age of your battery. Like I mentioned earlier, most car batteries have an average life expectancy of three years. You can find the age of your car’s battery to looking at either a sticker or engraved code on your battery. That portion of the battery says the date that the manufacturer shipped it, and it goes by letters (A to L) for months and numbers for years. For example, the code C17 refers to March 2017. If the battery of your car is three years or older, then you absolutely need to replace it.

Also, go visit your local auto parts dealer, mechanic shop, or AAA so they can test your battery’s voltage. Battery voltage testing is almost always free and it only takes a few moments to test it. If they find that your car battery’s voltage is low, then you need to replace your battery.

Once your car battery has died, now you can go shopping and look for the best replacement battery that works right for you. To make things easier, I have included a list of my three favorite replacement battery brands down below.

What Are the Top Replacement Battery Brands?

Based on my research, I found the three most popular car battery brands. They are the Odyssey PC680 Battery, XS Power D6500 Battery, and the Optima 34/78 RedTop. I will now tell you the pros and cons of each battery, so it will be easier for you to figure which battery you want to buy so you can replace your old one.

Odyssey PC680 Battery


Not only does the Odyssey PC680 have twice the power of the average car battery, but it can live up to nine years instead of three. It can also survive in extremely hot or cold weather for long periods of time. Finally, this battery has an incredibly high tolerance for many harsh conditions, whether you are driving on land, in the sea, or in the snow.


The only drawbacks of this battery are that it as a high risk of overcharging, and there are no terminals included in this one.


XS Power D6500 Battery


The XS Power D6500 is a leak-proof battery without any external vents. That means that this battery will fit in almost any location without having any chances of leaking. This battery has enough power for the highest performing vehicles. It can also resist vibration and extremely hot weather. Finally, car owners can utilize this battery as an additional back up battery in case their main one dies.


The only drawback of this battery is that it is a little too pricey for a good majority of vehicle owners.

Optima 34/78 RedTop


The Optima 34/78 RedTop will cause your engine to fire up within 5 seconds after you turn your ignition key. Its lifespan is also an average of around six years. This battery is also fully sealed (no chance of leakage no matter what), and it is 100% maintenance-free. You even get a 36-month warranty. Finally, what makes the Optimza 34/78 RedTop so unique is that it is filled with 100% pure lead.


The only drawback of this battery is that you can never leave it hooked up in your car. You have to remove it from the car whenever you are not driving it, or else it will die faster than the cheapest battery you can buy.


It is crucial to know what to do in the unfortunate event that your car battery dies while you are driving. Also, it is critical to know the warning signs that your battery is about to give out. Otherwise, you can become stranded, and if there is no cell reception, you might have to walk for miles before you get help. If you do not want that to ever happen to you, then make sure to keep replacing your battery every so often.