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Honda Civic Battery Not Charging/Keeps Dying/Draining

Honda Civics are reliable, but at the end of the day, they are complex machines with electrical and mechanical components with the chance of going wrong. Today, we will be focusing on the Honda Civic’s battery and what problems can arise with it, and how to troubleshoot those said problems. The most common problem is the battery unexpectedly dying on the user, but why does this happen?

One common reason a Honda Civic battery isn’t charging or consistently dies is a malfunctioning alternator. The alternator is responsible for generating electricity and charging the battery while the car is running. If it’s defective, the battery won’t charge adequately. To resolve, inspect the alternator for signs of wear or damage and consider replacing it.

Another potential reason for battery issues in a Honda Civic is parasitic drain. This occurs when devices or systems continue to consume battery power even when the car is off. To diagnose this, a multimeter can be used to check for unexpected electrical draws. Once identified, disconnect or repair the faulty component causing the drain.

Car battery test

Furthermore, the battery itself might be at the end of its lifecycle or defective. Batteries have a finite lifespan, and as they age, their capacity to hold a charge diminishes. If the battery is old or shows signs of damage like bulging or leakage, it may need replacement. Ensure you choose a compatible battery with the recommended specifications for the Honda Civic.

Honda Civic Alternator Not Charging Battery

Car battery jump start

As we mentioned above, the alternator is what charges the battery as you are driving around. It is the single most important component in relation to the battery for this reason, and many battery-related woes can be pointed back to it.

If the car battery isn’t charging while driving around, the alternator will work correctly, quickly leading to a dead battery. Alternators either fail due to wear and tear, or it could come down to fault/loose wiring. In the best-case scenario, the wires may be able to be locked in place, saving you an expensive replacement bill of $400 or more. 

Honda Civic Battery Not Charging: Alternator Problem, Wire Problem, Battery Problem?

Car battery test

While the alternator is directly responsible for charging the vehicle, there are other reasons why the battery is not charging. 

The alternator is essentially the “brain” of the whole charging system, but there are wirings that connect the battery to the alternator. Thus if these wires become compromised, you can imagine that the charging system won’t function properly. 

Loose or damaged are usually the causes for this, and the solution can be as easy as securing the connections. If you do need to replace wiring, however, it can cost at least $150.

Honda Civic Battery Keeps Dying: Alternator Problem, Wire Problem, Battery Problem?

Car battery

Car batteries are rated to be good for 3 – 5 years before problems start to arise. This isn’t gospel, but rather a warning of “hey, you may want to consider a new battery to keep things in check.” 

What happens as batteries age is they start holding less of a charge, not enough to become an issue at even the 5-year mark. Still, if the battery is 10, 15, or 20+ years old, then there is a decent chance that the battery simply has its battery capacity reduced to the point where the alternator can’t keep it topped off. 

Furthermore, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, that will impact your battery’s life. For example, take hot temperatures into account; extreme heat outside only magnifies the heat under the hood, which you can very much imagine is going to beat the battery up.

Then, when the extreme winter months roll around, the battery, along with the engine, has to work harder. Cold weather is a slightly better problem since the heat is worse than the cold to the battery, but regardless, being on top of battery swaps when living in brutal conditions is very important. 

But how much does a new battery for a Honda Civic cost? It depends on your model, but you can pay as little as $45, with a maximum price usually capping out at $250.

And as we’ve stated above, an alternator that isn’t working properly won’t charge the car much, if at all. 

Honda Civic Battery Keeps Draining: Alternator Problem, Wire Problem, Battery Problem?

Car battery test

A common problem for excessive battery drain in a car is a short circuit, but there are a number of other problems as well,

  • If there’s a power issue, a short circuit could cause your battery to rapidly drain from excessive use.
  • Worn alternator belts are known to prevent the battery from charging properly, causing it to never reach a max charge.
  • If the engine isn’t functioning as it should, the battery will be overwhelmed and drain too quickly for the alternator to keep up.
  • Always start by inspecting new upgrades and modifications since they’re the most probably cause of the issue.
  • Old batteries don’t withstand extreme temperature fluctuations, including freezing or scorching weather. Have it inspected or replaced if they occur.
  • Consider taking longer trips since anything less than a mile likely won’t provide enough time for the battery to recharge (especially if it’s old).

Honda Civic Battery Going Flat: Alternator Problem, Wire Problem, Battery Problem?

Car battery terminal

There are 6 reasons why your Honda Civic battery keeps going flat:

  • A common mistake is leaving the headlights or dome lights on. This is an easy thing to do and is one of the more frequent causes of people finding that their battery had died in the morning. 
  • A battery in poor condition will cause it to die much sooner than it is originally supposed to. A battery that has become weakened can be drained by functions that normally wouldn’t make much of a dent, such as the radio, and so you can imagine that more taxing functions will take it down. Car batteries are rated to be good for 3 – 5 years, and so if it has been longer than that for you, it’s probably time for a replacement.
  • Loose or damaged wires can prevent the battery from being topped up or receiving not much power from the alternator overall.
  • Parasitic drains can be difficult to troubleshoot, but a common reason is the lights coming on when they aren’t supposed to.
  • Extreme temperatures are a major contributor to the overall health of the battery. They won’t kill a healthy battery, but rather they take a toll on older/weaker batteries, magnifying the issues they already have. 
  • A faulty alternator or charging system, in general, will lead to significant battery drain because the battery isn’t getting power.

Honda Civic Hybrid Battery Keeps Dying

Car battery jump start

Hybrids, in general, are built to maximize MPG as much as possible, and as a result, they can go a while before needing to be refueled. The battery is responsible for this improved gas mileage and power the other functions of the vehicle.

A common reason for a hybrid battery dying overnight is similar to a regular car battery: the user may have forgotten to turn the headlights or dome lights off. Also, Some Civics turn their lights on when parked, which is something to pay close attention to. 

And like the above issues that we noted, if the alternator isn’t properly charging the battery or the wiring is loose/damaged, that can cause the battery to die quickly. 

Honda Civic Battery Won’t Stay Charged or Hold Charge

Car battery jump start

If the battery in your Honda Civic isn’t holding a charge, the problem can often be pointed to the alternator not charging the battery enough, if at all. But what causes an alternator to fail? Bad diodes are usually the cause of the issue.

Diodes are a part of the rectifier assembly that converts AC electricity to DC. There are 6 diodes in total, which the charging output flows through before it goes to the battery. With this in mind, you can imagine that the battery wouldn’t get enough power resulting in it not holding a charge. 

In this instance, the alternator itself will need to be replaced, which has an average cost of $400. 

Honda Civic Battery Temperature Danger Zones

Graphic of car battery and terminals with winter snow background

We have briefly mentioned temperatures and how they affect the battery overall. Still, we think it’s important to cover this in more detail so that you have a better understanding of how the battery reacts to extreme climates. 

It’s mostly well known that cars struggle to operate to their fullest ability in extreme cold and extreme heat. In most cases, you likely won’t have to worry about your battery becoming compromised due to outside temperature.

However, it’s at least worth knowing. Extremely hot weather can actually cause the battery fluid inside the battery to evaporate, hot, humid temperatures of 110°F (43.3°C) or more are enough to cause this sometimes, but usually, it’s the even hotter temperatures that do it.

Remember, in the especially hot areas in the US or any other country, cars don’t suddenly start to fail because it gets really toasty outside. 

As for cold temperatures, reports of battery failure skyrocket in extreme winter weather, part of this reason is that the hot temperatures of the summer weaken the battery. Then the extreme cold of brutal winter months “finishes’ it off. 

Some facts:

  • At temperatures of 32°F (0°C), the battery capacity in a car battery reduces by 20 percent.
  • Cold temperatures make engine oil thicker, which makes the battery work harder.
  • Cold temperatures make it harder for the battery to recharge.
  • You are probably blasting the heater, headlights, and windshield wipers which strains the battery even more.

In short, winter is not kind to cars! If you live in an area that gets freezing, maintaining your vehicle is absolutely critical so that it doesn’t fail you during these brutal times. If anything is going to make the 3 – 5 year battery life expectancy a fact, it’s the winter months. 

What You Can Do About It

If you don’t have a garage, you might be scratching your head on how you can protect your car when temperatures drop. The solution is easier than you think, although it is abnormal. Getting a car cover can help insulate the heat, which helps out the engine and battery a ton since the temperatures are regulated, and they don’t have to work as hard when you first start the vehicle. 

But what about hot weather? Same thing! Car covers also help protect a car against the beaming sun. However, it may seem counterintuitive; a breathable car cover that still has enough layers will shield the engine and battery against direct sunlight, resulting in a cooler vehicle overall. 

It’s important to not just look for any car cover; quality is going to matter a lot in this instance. Look for something that is waterproof and has a thick outer layer; it shouldn’t feel like bedsheets because that is not going to do much when dealing with extreme temperatures. And you will want to look for a car cover with at least 3 layers so that there is more separating the hot or cold temperatures from the car. 

Next, it should fit your car, which is obvious, but the fit is what we are getting at here. The cover should be snug but not too tight or too loose. You don’t want something that squeezes the vehicle or has a risk of blowing off in case of high winds. It’s fairly easy to find the right cover, Honda Civics are very common cars, and as a result, you can easily find the right size for your vehicle. 

And we can’t stress enough on paying for quality. Good covers should be lightweight yet durable without straying too far into either side.

The point of you taking the effort and money to buy the cover, put it over your car anytime the weather will be extreme, and taking it off in the morning shouldn’t be mitigated by the fact you wanted to spend less money. A good cover can potentially save you from expensive car repairs in the future, so consider it as an investment. 

If you have a garage, consider a heater or cooler if you don’t have one already. Not only will it preserve your car, but you’ll be very happy when you walk into a room temperature garage in the morning and don’t have to deal with the brutal cold or scorching sun when you go to your car. Trust us; it’s worth it! 

Honda Civic Battery Light Flashing

Car battery light on

A flashing battery light is trying to warn you that there is something wrong. Even if you don’t notice any ill effects right away, consider it as your car telling you that you might experience a dead battery due to the lack of power being put back into the battery.

However, sometimes the car simply thinks there is a problem without there actually being one; remember, these are complex machines, so there can be miscommunication between the sensors and what is going on. 

If you want to test the battery to see if the battery has a problem, you can put a voltmeter to it to test the level of power. A healthy battery should anywhere between 12.6 to 12.8 volts, while anything less or more is cause for concern. For the best results, test the battery while the indicator is flashing. 

You can also test the alternator without having to remove it. This might be important in diagnosing if the alternator is the issue or just the battery.

For this, you’ll need a digital multimeter set to 20V; it should also have a voltage reader. This WeePro Multimeter using the multimeter, puts the black test lead on the negative battery post and looks for a reading of 12 to 13 volts. If it’s under 12 volts, you’ll want to test the alternator.

To test the alternator, start the vehicle and place the red lead on the B terminal at the back of the alternator; you should read 13.5 volts at least if the alternator is functioning properly. Next, test the battery again; if you see a reading higher than 13.5 volts, that indicates that the alternator is trying to charge the battery.

Honda Civic Battery Light Stays On

Car battery light on

If you have followed the above steps/guide and are still having problems with the battery light illuminating, you may want to get your battery tested at a professional shop. Many of them will do it for free, or at least at a low price if you remove the battery yourself. 

They will analyze the battery’s overall health and if there is something off, recommend that you get it replaced, which is around at least $164.

Honda Civic Battery Sensor Problem

Fixing car battery

The battery sensor keeps an eye on the heat levels of the battery. If you have issues with this component, you’ll likely get readings indicating your battery is too hot even though it is perfectly fine. 

Also, it senses the current going to and from the battery; some sensors also monitor the voltage for you and measure the battery’s overall health.
This problem isn’t exactly the end of the world, but having this issue go unresolved would mean that if your problem does get too hot, then you won’t know about it. How much you will be charged for a replacement will depend on the shop, but Civics are one of the most affordable cars, and so there is a chance you’ll get quoted for the lower end of the spectrum at $150 or more.

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Copyright protected article by Know My Auto and was first published on Mar 17, 2021. .

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