How Long Will A Car Battery Last With Ignition On?

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this...Read more

There could be many reasons to keep turning on your car’s ignition but do you know how it’ll affect the battery? Plus, do you know how long will a car battery last with ignition on?

First of all, when the ignition is on, it will affect the battery’s lifespan and can significantly impact performance. And when it comes to how long a car battery can be used when the ignition is on, the answer will vary.

Unfortunately, the answer will vary for a number of reasons, including:

  • Battery capacity (a more powerful or less powerful battery)
  • Condition of the battery (new or old battery)
  • Type of the car (there are many sizes and models)
  • What components are activated when the ignition is turned on

These factors explain why it can be difficult to know how long the battery will last if the ignition is left on. However, if you want an exact explanation with accurate information, follow this article for full details.

Why Will The Ignition On Position Cause Battery Drain?

Basically, a car’s ignition system is directly connected to the battery, as it uses energy from the battery to start the engine. The current required to start the car engine starter comes from the battery.

In short, the ignition on a car is the starter mechanism that helps the car start after turning the key. And the actual battery power will only be used while starting the car; once the engine is started, the alternator will do the rest.

Why Will The Ignition On Position Cause Battery Drain

The battery will automatically begin to recharge when the engine is turned on. Therefore, when the engine is not running, and the ignition is on, it’ll fully use the battery to power up your preferred components.

Since all batteries come with limited battery life, after a certain time, the battery will run out of juice, causing the battery to completely drain.

Different Types Of A Car’s Ignition Positions

Before I go any further, it’s crucial to know that a car has multiple ignition positions. Furthermore, different positions consume varying amounts of power, resulting in varying battery life. Here are all of them:

Different Types Of A Car's Ignition Positions

“OFF” or “LOCK”:

Well, the first one, the “off” or “lock” position, means the car will have no electric flow from the battery to any of its components.

“ACC” or “Accessory”:

It means the car won’t be operational, but it will receive some electric flow from the battery. The electric flow or battery power allows you to listen to the radio or charge your phone.

The third is “ON”:

The third ignition position is the “ON” position, which will turn on all the electric components of your car.

The Final One Engages Your Starter And Cranks Your Engine:

Here you have to turn the car key beyond the “ON” position and hold it until the engine starts. After starting, the engine will run, and the car will start running.

How Long Will A Car Battery Last With Ignition On?

Today, I’m going to specifically talk about the ignition “ON” position and explain how long the battery will last in that position. And like I’ve already said, it’s super tough to answer the question in a sentence as a bunch of aspects are related to it.

How Long Will A Car Battery Last With Ignition On

However, here I’m going to explain all the aspects related to the car battery and ignition system. Check out the section below:

1. Battery Capacity

The battery’s capacity is the first factor that affects how long the battery will last with the ignition turned on. And it’s obvious that if you have a larger battery, then it’ll last longer than a small power battery.

Battery Capacity

For example, you cannot expect the same level of output from a 50 Ah and an 80 Ah battery. A 50-AH battery with the ignition in the ON position will last an estimated 5 hours (no accessories are used).

On the other hand, an 80Ah or more powerful battery will definitely last longer, but it depends on using or not using any components.

2. Condition Of The Battery

The second thing that helps to cause differences in battery life after switching the ignition to the “ON” position is the battery condition. You can’t expect an old or fresh battery to produce the same level of energy or power.

Condition Of The Battery

Plus, a low-charged and fully-charged battery will also provide different levels of battery life while the ignition is in the ON position. Moreover, the usability of several components can impact the battery life.

3. Type Of The Car

Depending on your car’s type and size, you’ll get different levels of power output. When you switch ON your car’s ignition mode, it’ll draw power from the battery.

As a result, the larger car will consume more battery power than the smaller one. Plus, what type of car you have will also play a role in the battery’s charging life.

4. What Functions Are Used

Last but certainly not least, what type of components or functions you’re using will affect the battery’s charging life. In other words, the effect of car accessories or all the electric components will determine how long a battery will last.

What Functions Are Used

And it’s obvious that using more electric components will cause faster battery drain. For example:

  • If you only play the radio while the ignition is in the “ON” position and the battery is new, then the battery will last for six hours.
  • When you play the radio with upgraded systems like subwoofers, amplifiers, and speakers, the battery will last for one to two hours.
  • Additionally, the battery will run out entirely after a while if you use an external GPS system, charge your phone, and play the radio at the same time.

Now you know how long a car battery will last with the ignition on. Always be mindful when going into ignition mode and when using other components in that mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions regarding battery life and car ignition? If so, check out this FAQ to find some questions and their answers that you might think of after reading this article. Have a look:

When The Ignition Is Left On, Does The Battery Die?

Well, when you let the ignition stay in the ON position, there is a possibility that this mode can discharge completely. Turning on the ignition will drain power from the battery, so leaving your car in that position will easily cause significant battery issues. Along with other issues, the ignition in the on position can cause the car battery to die.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Car Battery?

Car batteries have no fixed life, as almost all of them are built differently with distinct facilities. However, if you want to know the average lifespan, then it’ll be 3 to 4 years. And the fact is, the battery life will increase or decrease depending on your maintenance habits.

What Causes Shortened Car Battery Life?

If you want to make a list, you will find several factors contribute to the short life of automobile batteries. But, if you want to separate the main factors that directly contribute to the abnormal life of a battery, then you will find many key factors. Here are a few:

  • Extreme temperature
  • Using several electric components when the engine is off
  • Frequent short trips
  • Regular deep draining of the battery

These are some of the main causes that contribute to the shortening of the life of a car battery.

What Are Signs Of Poor Battery Life?

Fortunately, you will get a variety of signs or symptoms when your car’s battery is about to die or is in poor condition. Some of the signs are:

  • Dashboard symbol or warning light
  • Difficult to start the car
  • The engine starts but immediately shuts down
  • Headlights are dark, dim, flickering, and so on.

These are some of the signs that indicate that there is a problem with the battery life that requires troubleshooting.

Closing Thoughts

Since you’re here, you pretty much have a good idea about how long will a car battery last with ignition on. Plus, you also know how the battery will be affected when you keep the ignition turned on.

As a result, keep the ignition off when the engine is turned off to keep the battery at optimal levels. And when it’s necessary to turn on the ignition, always try to keep the electric components’ usability as minimal as possible.

It’s always a smart move to switch off all unnecessary accessories when your car’s ignition is on. So that you can keep the battery at its best level without harming its lifespan or power supply.

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this site Batteryquery to help people purchase the right battery for their vehicles. The reason behind creating this site is to help my customers purchase the right car battery who often purchase the wrong one due to their lack of knowledge.

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