A car stereo system is an expensive audio system that can be installed in a car. It includes speakers and an amplifier to produce quality sound. A typical car stereo system consists of two parts: a head unit and four speakers.
A car stereo can slowly drain a car battery during long extended use and even when the engine is off [parasitic draw]. In most cases, this drain is very small compared to headlights and a faulty alternator, but if you have a bad capacitor or a misbehaving stereo you may notice the battery draining overnight.
Whether you listen to the radio or you have a playlist of over a thousand songs, your car stereo can quickly drain the battery if not used correctly. If this happens once or twice, you may simply be able to charge the battery and get on your way. However, if this keeps happening, it might be time to change up some habits to prevent your car stereo from draining the battery.
If the diode is weak or if there is a problem with the alternator, some of the electricity from the alternator will be routed back into the battery instead of out to the electrical components. This will gradually drain the battery.
A diode that is failing or faulty will cause a vehicle’s battery to drain even when the car is turned off and not in use. The voltage regulator inside the alternator may also be causing this problem. The most direct way to check for this is to pull out the radio fuse and see if that stops the problem.
If it does stop, you know it was caused by your stereo system. If it doesn’t stop, then you know that your stereo system was not to blame.
How Much Power Does a Car Stereo Use?
Using a car stereo system can drain the car battery, so you should keep in mind how much power it will use. A typical car stereo draws between 5 and 15 amps [which is roughly below the energy used by a typical bathroom light bulb]. This number varies widely, as different companies use different amounts of power.
While amplifiers can draw between 20 and 50 amps. The actual amount of power used by a car stereo will depend on the size of the unit and its output power. The larger the stereo and its output power, the more electricity it will use. When an external amplifier is used, that can add to the current drain from the battery.
What Makes A Stereo To Drain Car Battery
The car battery doesn’t directly power the stereo unit in your car when you turn on the vehicle. Most of the current that powers the stereo comes from the alternator. Most times when your stereo set is responsible for draining your car battery, the fault is from a bad radio fuse, poorly connected stereo, overpowered stereo, or bad wiring.
An automotive stereo system is one of the most common things that drain a car battery. Bad radio fuses, loose or frayed wires, bad parasitic battery drains, as well as any other electrical issue with your vehicle, are all potential causes that can drain your car battery. Most stereos will not completely drain your car battery. Instead, they slowly drain it over time.
This is called a parasitic drain. Parasitic drains are generally caused by faulty components in the electrical system of the car. These faulty components will constantly draw power, even when it’s not needed, causing loss of power to the battery.
How to Prevent & Stop Your Car Stereo from Draining the Battery
The car stereo may not be the main reason for a car battery drain, but it is certainly one of them. Here are some of the best ways to prevent your stereo from draining your car battery life.
First, you should know how to use your car stereo system correctly. You should always start with the power of your car stereo at a low volume and then gradually increase it to avoid draining your battery. This is because the more power that goes through the speakers and into the amplifier, the more likely it will drain your battery.
Alternatively, you can modify your stereo system. Stereo systems usually have their own power source. If you want to be sure that your stereo won’t drain the battery, install a switch in its power line so that you can cut off the current supply to it when you are not using it.
You can also set up reserve power for the stereo system by installing a capacitor in parallel with your car’s stereo system. This will allow the stereo to shut down automatically if it doesn’t get enough power from the battery and prevent your stereo system from draining your battery life.
Turn off the stereo. This should be the first thing you do if you see your car stereo draining your battery. Disconnect the power and ground wires from the stereo; this will prevent the further current drain from occurring.
Disconnect the wire harness that connects your stereo to your vehicle’s electronics. This harness is normally located behind your stereo and is color-coded to match the wires leading from behind the dash of your car.
Remove old fuses and install new ones. Old fuses can burn out and cause a drain on the battery of your vehicle, so removing them and replacing them with new ones should solve this problem.
Install a voltage alarm on your stereo. A voltage alarm will sound when the voltage drops below a pre-determined level, allowing you to shut off the stereo before it drains your battery completely.
Install an automatic shutoff switch on your car subwoofer. Subwoofers are notorious for draining car batteries; if you have one installed in your vehicle, install an automatic shutoff switch to prevent this from happening.
If none of these solutions seems to stop your stereo set from draining your car battery, consider changing your stereo set.
The problem with car stereos is that they have an “always-on” feature. This means that when the key is turned off and the door is shut, your stereo will remain on until the battery dies. For most people who drive their cars daily, this isn’t a big deal. But for those who don’t drive daily or for extended periods of time, this can lead to a dead battery.