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Can Frequent Restarts Kill Battery?

My daily commute to work is only 1.5 miles. Due to one-way streets along the way, I take different routes going from and to home in my 1993 Honda Civic EX. So only when coming home, I frequently encounter 2-3 red lights with long wait times. To save gas, I would turn off the engine, restarting a few seconds before the lights turned green. I recently had my battery die that was only a little over a year old. Could this could be the result of the frequent restarts over a short distance?

Frequent restarts only bother the battery if there’s insufficient recharge between.
The UPS and FedX drivers don’t seem to have much problem. But how much time was the engine allowed to run between restarts ? How old is the battery ? 1993 original equipment ? An older battery is a senior citizen and needs more recharge time to get to full power ( just like me ). If it is an old battery then replace it if you intend to continue frequent restarts and short drives.

I’m no expert, but it does seem possible to me that 1.5 miles is not enough to make up for three starts.

Are you sure that you’re saving enough on gas to make up for possibly replacing your starter much sooner than it otherwise would have needed to be replaced?

The fuel you will save may contribute all of $10 toward the $300+ starter repair due to overuse. Yes battery is not getting charged properly by short drives and then compounded by a heavy load of starting.

1.5 miles is not a lot of time to recharge a battery.

Yes…and it can kill the starter also. Let the vehicle idle and charge the battery as much as it can.

You are not only killing your battery, you are prematurely wearing out your starter. For the sake of your car, please stop doing this.

And the more often you drag a good battery all the way down, the sooner it will be completely bad.
We’ve gone through four batteries in our dealer’s 05 Ford GT show car simply because we don’t allow enough run time to recharge fully.

For the minimum, you should get a trickle charger (small charger) that will let you plug it in and to charge your battery between drives.  If you park outside and don't have access to a plug you can get a solar powered battery just for this kind of problem.  

I don’t think I would turn the engine off for stops. I believe there will be more damage (overall cost) than just letting it run (and it will change the battery when at idle.)

However, I wonder why you are driving? You would certainly come out ahead if you leave the car in the drive and take a bike or just walk. Nor only will it reduce your commute, but the exercise will make your doctor happy.

As the others have aluded to, the OP is essentially shooting himself in the foot in several ways.

Even if the engine was not shut down at traffic lights, the reality is that the car is not being driven long enough/far enough to keep the battery charged. Even if the OP stops the silly practice of shutting down the engine at traffic lights, the battery in the car is not going to have a long life anyway, due to insufficient charging during its daily driving. A trickle charger is a good solution to this situation.

A starter is a fairly expensive item. What the OP is doing is DEFINITELY shortening the life of that starter.

The oil in this car needs to be changed on the basis of elapsed time, rather than odometer mileage, as a result of those short trips. If the oil is being changed on the basis of odometer mileage, the engine will develop sludging problems and a greatly shortened life span. I would suggest that the OP change the oil of this abused engine at least every 4 months–regardless of odometer mileage.

If the signals don’t make you wait longer, it is always better to leave the engine running; especially, when the distance is just 1.5 miles. Switching the ignition rapidly without much idle time will definitely cause the battery to die out early.