After less than 6 months my battery is dead

I have an old Ford Explorer 2000 and the battery keeps dying. I only drive it about once a week about a little over 4 miles. I’m disabled and only use it to go grocery shopping. My roommate tells me that starting the car everyday and sometimes revving the engine only drains the battery, that I need to drive it and get the RPM’s up to charge the battery. another friend tells me that is not true, that starting the car will help to charge the battery even if you don’t drive it. Well starting the car everyday may have given me some psychological satisfaction but the battery went dead. Anyone have any remedies or know what may be going on?

Your alternator likely doesn’t have enough time to recharge your battery before you’re done driving.

He is correct, and in addition you shouldn’t use your alternator to charge up a battery that is almost depleted. You’ll damage the alternator and shorten its life

You’ll need to idle it for quite awhile to charge it up. That will waste gas, create extra pollution, and make your car much easier to steal if you’re not in it.

Yes, your battery is likely not good anymore (you didn’t say how old it is). Take it to an autoparts store, they can test it for free and let you know if you need a new battery. If the battery tests ok, then you may want to take your car to a mechanics and have them check your charging system

For the sake of your battery, the exhaust system, and the condition of the motor oil, you need to take the car out on the highway once each week for at least 20 minutes. 30 minutes would be even better.


Suggested remedy: if your Explorer is parked indoors and there’s an electrical outlet, get a battery maintainer (I recently saw one for about $15) and use it.

As for what’s going on, and unless the alternator is the cause or there’s a parasitic drain on the battery somewhere, whatever you’ve been doing isn’t enough to keep the battery charged enough to prevent low charge / early death


I think he said the battery was 6 months old but I agree just starting it up and driving four miles probably does not charge the battery enough. I did it with mine though for years just letting it idle, but I’d put a charger on it from time to time. It could be your battery is not taking a full charge (mine went in a year just sitting), or it could be your alternator is not putting out as much as it should, or it could be there is a parasitic drain. Really need to check the charging voltage, the battery condition, and drive it more and see what happens.

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battery tender/maintainer is gonna work great if car is close to the household power source

if not, “solar battery charger” can be hooked up if car sits outdoor all the time - I use one from HarborFreight ($15) and although it produces a meager 0.08-0.1A of juice, it is enough to keep battery “topped” for me to start the car reliably 3-4 times a month

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Does it maintain that even after the sun goes down?
I’m also wondering if yours is a relatively new car (with significant current draw even when parked) or an older car.
And could it be powering everything while the car is parked to prevent car battery drain rather than actually charging the battery?

it is 2006 Nissan Pathfinder, but I do have the aftermarket keyless entry and remote starter installed and it draws something like 25 mA

I did not use this car much over last 2 months and noticed that car did not start as eagerly as before, so I measured voltage and indeed found that my energy debit/credit ratio is not exactly good

obviously, solar charger will not work at night, but at my draw rate, it pretty much compensates what aftermarket system draws 24x7

shopping for the solar charger, it is important to confirm that it is not draining your battery when sun is down… surprisingly some manufacturers managed to put some “power indicator LED” there which would draw energy 24x7, and which is very stupid

I specifically tested the one from HarborFreight not to do that :slight_smile:

Letting a vehicle sit for extended periods of time or that isn’t driven often is where battery reserve capacity plays an important role.


The very first thing to do is to have your charging system checked including cables. If that checks out good, then you can look into tenders or weekly drives.

The battery tender idea posted above should fix this problem. It won’t hurt in any event. You may need to replace the battery with a new one though. Have it tested, that will tell you if it will hold a charge or not.

If you know how to use a battery charger there is no need to replace a discharged 6 month old battery.

From now on use a battery tender or occasionally a battery charger to keep the battery charged, it is normal for a battery to become discharged after a period of inactivity.