No one likes it when their car won't start or can't maintain a charge. The good news is, battery charging issues are only caused by a few parts of your car. If you work your way through them, you'll be able to arrive at a solution.
Your Alternator Is Going Bad
Your alternator is the device that keeps your battery charged. If your alternator is going bad, your battery may not be able to last as long as it used to. In fact, a broken alternator can shorten the overall life of your battery.
Signs your alternator may be going bad include dim headlights while you're driving or the battery light lighting up on your dash. A more surefire way to tell if your alternator is going bad is to perform a battery test. To perform a battery test first start your car. While your car is on, remove the negative cable from your battery. If your car dies, it shows that your battery can't draw power from the alternator. In most cases, this means it's time to replace your alternator.
If the wiring connecting your battery is corroded or damaged, it can affect how your car's battery system charges. Bad wiring can cause your car to actively drain your battery or make it so that the alternator is incapable of recharging your battery. If you think this may be the problem, check for corroded or damaged wires. If any are found, replace them.
Your Drives Are Too Short
One of the easiest to overlook issues with a battery charge issue is taking too short of drives. Your alternator should be on around twenty minutes to fully replace the charge to the battery. If you're frequently just driving to the corner to pick something up, you may just be depleting your battery faster than your alternator can charge it. To see if this is the case, take a slightly longer drive and see if this corrects the issue.
Time For A New Battery
A major sign you may need a new battery is if your car engine is slow to crank. Look for visible signs of decay. Corrosion or bloating of the battery case are definite signs it's time for replacement. Age should also be a factor in replacing your car battery, most batteries only last between two to five years.
If you're having trouble diagnosing why your car battery can't maintain a charge, you should bring it to a mechanic. They will be able to diagnose your vehicle and help get you back on the road. In the meantime, if you need to go somewhere, invest in a good jump starter.