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How Long Will Your Car Battery Last With the Radio On?

  • Cars Explained
  • Silas Smith
  • 4 minutes

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A car battery is an important component that helps in the start-up process and the functioning of the electricals in a car. However, it can easily run out of charge if you forget to turn off the headlights, radio systems, or air conditioner. Today we’ll examine how long a car battery lasts with the radio on. 

The car radio can easily drain your car battery if left running overnight. In most cases, it would take around four to six hours for the battery to run out of juice with the radio on. However, all radios do not take the same time to drain, as this depends upon the radio size, power consumption, speaker type installed, and the car battery’s condition (new or old). We’ve explained all these factors in detail below. 

how long does a car battery last with the radio on

Factors determining how long does a car battery last with the radio on 

Battery health 

Your car battery health is an important aspect that influences the time the radio takes to drain completely. Newer batteries tend to have more power than used ones. Thus, it will take less time to drain. However, older batteries are comparatively weaker and will run out of power much faster with the radio on.  

A car battery usually lasts around two to five years. Therefore, you can consider any battery in this age range as an old/ weaker battery.  

Radio type 

Cars with an Amplitude Modulation radio (AM) will take longer to drain than a Frequency Modulation radio (FM). This is because AM radios use lesser power than FMs. This explains that using an AM radio in your car is better if you’re not a frequent radio listener.  


Accessories also determine how long a car battery lasts with the radio on 

Radio accessories like speakers, amplifiers, speakers, etc., also determine the time taken to drain your car’s battery. This is because these accessories draw a lot of power from the battery. Ensure you don’t have any unnecessary accessories in your car to avoid such situations. 

In addition, other accessories like powerful aftermarket headlights, air-conditioners, heaters, etc., can also influence the time taken for a battery drain. 

Temperature and other factors 

Did you know that external factors like temperature influence how long a battery lasts before a car battery lasts? Battery power decreases when temperature decreases, accelerating the battery drain in colder temperatures and vice versa.  

Alternator issues 

The alternator is one component that charges the battery. Your car’s alternator is another part that influences how long a battery will last with the radio on. A faulty alternator will not be able to charge the battery well, following which it will die faster than normal.  

How to Listen to the Radio Without Discharging the Car Battery 

Follow these tips to avoid draining your car battery while listening to the radio. 

  • Setting a low volume level on your car radio can help it avoid a heavy load on the battery. Your car battery will last longer with the radio on with low volume levels. 
  • Using an audio amplifier on your car will help the battery last longer. This is a must if you have powerful speakers attached to the radio system. 
  • Putting an AC/DC converter on your car can also help with some DC power for your car whenever needed.  
  • Ensure to turn off other power-hungry accessories like the air-conditioner, headlights, heaters, etc., to ensure the battery does not run out easily.  
  •  Apart from all these, make sure that your car battery is healthy so that it doesn’t drain faster. 

How Do I Know If My Radio Is Depleting My Battery? 

Modern car radios have features that warn the driver the battery is low. Furthermore, some radio systems may also shut off when the battery reaches a certain voltage level. You may also use a multimeter to identify the battery drain if your car does not have this feature.  

Does the type of song on the radio influence how long a car battery will last? 

Yes. Powerful songs with a strong bass element will require more power from the battery than soft and mellow songs. Therefore, listening to songs with lesser bass is always better if you’re very concerned about a battery drain.  

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