Can A Car Battery Die While Driving? (What Happens Then?)

Having a car die on the road is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have. Knowing how to safely handle the situation and avoid it in the future can ensure a safe driving experience. The battery of your vehicle dying while driving can cause some serious issues.

Yes, a car battery can die while driving. A dead battery while driving can be caused by a defective battery, a bad alternator, or excessive corrosion buildup. It can also be caused by an older battery at the end of its lifespan, extreme temperatures, or a bad serpentine belt. You should replace your battery as soon as possible if it dies while driving to avoid the problem in the future.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to do when your battery dies while driving and how to avoid this issue in the future. This includes the common causes and resolutions for battery issues.

4 Signs Your Battery Is The Problem

Lights Won’t Work

If the lights inside your vehicle will not work, it is likely that your battery is the problem. The lights inside your vehicle depend on power from the battery to operate. When the battery is drained, the lights inside your vehicle will not work properly. This is a sign that the battery is the cause of your problem. If you notice that the lights are dim or flickering, this can also indicate that the battery is dying.

Wipers Won’t Work

The wipers in your car are another electrical component that will not work if the battery is not charged properly. Your wipers pull power from the battery to operate and will not work if they are unable to get the proper voltage from the battery. If the wipers are working slower than usual or barely moving, then this indicates a dying battery as well.

Stereo And GPS Won’t Work

The stereo and GPS will not work properly if your battery is not charged properly. Both of these components of your vehicle use large amounts of power to operate. If they are unable to get the proper voltage from the battery they will not operate properly.

Nothing On Dashboard Works

The electronic components of the dashboard will not work properly if the battery is not properly charged. This includes functions like the radio, GPS, backlighting, and other electrical features. This can potentially make driving much more difficult depending on how your vehicle is set up.

7 Reasons A Car Battery Dies While Driving

Defective Battery

A defective battery is a common cause of a battery dying while driving. Batteries typically have a lifespan of three to five years, depending on how much you drive. Over time, your battery will not be able to hold a charge efficiently. This will raise the chances of the battery dying while driving.

Your battery could become defective prematurely due to leakage or a loose connection. There is also the possibility of your battery overheating, causing it to not transfer the charge properly to other parts of your vehicle. A defective battery can also make your car overheat and not start.

If you begin to notice battery issues, the first thing that you should do is replace the battery with a new one.

Bad Alternator

A bad alternator is one of the main causes of a battery dying while driving. The alternator is responsible for recharging the vehicle’s battery. It does this by essentially converting chemical energy into electrical energy that can be used to recharge the battery.

If the alternator is bad, it will not be able to efficiently produce enough charge for the battery to operate properly. This will cause your battery to no longer produce enough power for the electrical components of your vehicle to work efficiently.

The alternator failing while the battery is not charged can cause your vehicle to stop working while you are driving. This will cause a very dangerous situation and should be addressed as soon as you notice alternator issues.

Bad Connection/Wiring

A bad connection or bad battery wiring will also cause it to not function properly. The battery must be wired properly and connected securely for it to provide charge to the rest of your vehicle. This includes making sure that the battery is connected to the proper terminals and tightened securely in place.

If your battery is not properly connected, it will not be able to charge properly nor will it be able to properly power the electrical components of your vehicle. A bad connection or wiring job can also cause the alternator to not be able to properly charge the battery while driving.

This can lead to your vehicle’s battery dying while you are driving and needing to be recharged once you turn off your vehicle. To resolve this, you will need to make sure that the battery is connected properly and replace any faulty wiring if necessary.


Corrosion is another common issue that car batteries encounter that can cause them to die while driving. Battery corrosion can present itself as white, green, or blue substances covering the battery terminals or cables.

The battery acid contained in your vehicle’s battery releases hydrogen gas that when exposed to air can form corrosion. This can lead to damage to the battery that may lead to it needing to be replaced. You can clean the corrosion off of your battery but unless you address the underlying issue causing the corrosion, it will appear again.

Corrosion is caused by overcharging the battery, age, or damage to the battery. If the battery has not been damaged, then cleaning the corrosion off will remedy your issue as long as you avoid the issues causing the corrosion.

If the battery is damaged, then you will need to replace it to avoid corrosion damaging other components under the hood of your vehicle.

Old Battery

An older battery can commonly die while driving due to the estimated lifespan of a vehicle battery. A car battery has a lifespan between three to five years, depending on your driving style and frequency. Older batteries will no longer be able to hold a charge or transfer energy to the components of your vehicle properly.

Because of this, it is advised that you keep up with how long you have had your battery. This can help you estimate your battery’s lifespan and when you can expect it to begin working less efficiently. You should replace your old battery at least every three or four years to avoid it dying while you are driving.

Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures can also cause your battery to die while driving and lead to other mechanical issues in your transmission or engine. Temperatures over a hundred degrees or less than ten degrees can lead to an accumulation of sulfate crystals. When these crystals build up to significant levels, they can begin to damage the battery and reduce its overall lifespan.

You can avoid this by being aware of the temperatures in your area before driving and storing your vehicle inside to avoid exposure to the elements directly. Of course, you cannot control the weather but you can help mitigate the effects of the temperatures in your area.

Bad Serpentine Belt

A bad serpentine belt can also cause your vehicle’s battery to die while driving. The serpentine belt works with your vehicle’s alternator to charge the battery while you are driving. As mentioned above, if the alternator is not working properly, your battery will not stay charged, even while driving.

A bad serpentine belt will cause your alternator to no longer be able to provide charge to your battery. Even a loose serpentine belt can cause these issues. You should inspect your serpentine belt any time you begin to notice issues with your battery or alternator.

If you notice that your serpentine belt is damaged or loose, you will need to either tighten the serpentine belt or replace it with a new one.

Is It Dangerous To Have Your Battery Die While Driving?

If your battery dies while driving, it can be a very dangerous situation. That being said, for you to lose full operation of your vehicle, both the battery and the alternator will have to fail simultaneously. If you find that your battery has died while driving, the first thing you should do is pull over safely to the side of the road.

Next, you should try restarting your car. If your vehicle starts up again, let it run for a few minutes to charge the battery up before pulling back onto the road. You will then need to take it either home or to be serviced as soon as possible.

While driving with a dead battery, you should use the emergency lights on your vehicle to signify to other drivers that you are currently experiencing an issue. This will help them avoid you on the road and give you the space you need to safely make it back home.

If your alternator goes out while driving, this can cause a much more serious issue. Your car will not be safe to drive while experiencing alternator issues that cause the battery to not work properly. You will need to call a tow truck and have your car towed to be serviced.


Your car’s battery can die while driving due to several different issues including a defective battery, a bad alternator, or your battery simply reaching the end of its lifespan. You will still be able to drive your vehicle as long as the alternator is working properly to get it somewhere to be serviced.

It is important to get your battery issue resolved as soon as possible to avoid being stranded or risking further damage to other electrical components of your vehicle.