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Does Listening To The Radio Drain Car Battery? Here’s Your Answer

Does Listening To The Radio Drain Car Battery? Here’s Your Answer

Only a handful of people may speak against listening to the radio while driving.

When you are driving, especially alone, turning on the radio is the best thing you can do to you at that particular moment.

After all, it’s the best (or the only) way to mind off worries and problems you may come across while driving alone.

However, two things may strike your mind. First, would listening to the radio drain out the car battery, and second, how long will the car battery last if I switch off the engine and the radio remains on. Right?

So, read on to find out how listening to the radio affects your car battery and other things of your interest.

Does listening to the radio drain the car battery?

Well, it depends upon whether the radio is running on the battery instead of the engine or not.

As when the engine is on, the radio will extract its required power from the engine itself and won’t put any pressure on the battery.

Hence, listening to the radio when the engine is on will not affect your car battery.

However, in another case, if you have parked your car and the engine is off, and in this case, you’re listening to the radio, it’ll extract the required power from the battery only!

Hence, in this case, your battery will start to drain out. Again, the rate of battery draining will depend upon the strength of your music system.

If it’s the standard one, the battery will drain at a slow pace against a high-end music system with heavy speakers, amplifiers, etc.

So, you should refrain from using the radio while the engine is off and the battery is in use to run the radio.


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How Long Can a Car Battery Last While Playing Radio?

How long a car battery can last while playing radio is something your audio setup will govern.

That is if your car features a power-hungry subwoofer coupled with multiple speakers and similar things, the rate of battery consumption will lie on the higher side.

In another case, if you’re listening to a standard radio with nothing attached to it, the battery will drain at its standard rate.

Plus, if the radio has a big screen with other buttons you might feel tempted to use while listening, beware, it will further elevate the battery consumption rate.

As an alternative to your car’s built-in radio, it’s always better to carry a portable radio along with you if you’re someone who can’t drive without music.

Things you need to do if car battery die while playing radio

So you’re enjoying your favorite station on the radio while resting inside the car parked under the shadow and suddenly, your radio stops.

Also, you come to know that the battery has also surrendered. What to do? Here are some rescue tips.

  • If the battery is dead and you realize it has served you more than its usual life expectancy, you may require to remove it and get a new one instead at the earliest.
  • If the battery is still new, not damaged, and is merely dead, you can jump-start it. Here’s how to jump-start a dead battery.
    • Keep the jumper cables handy.
    • Get another vehicle stand aside from your car such that there is at least an 18″ gap in between. Ensure both vehicles are neutral and engage the parking brakes just to avoid any movement during the whole process.
    • Now comes the connections. To keep it simple, attach the positive (red) terminal to the positive terminal and the negative (black) terminal to the negative terminal.
    • At last, start the other vehicle and let it run for a couple of minutes. Check if the dead battery gains enough charge to switch on the car or not. If not, run the other car’s engine for a few more minutes and check again. It should start.
    • Remove the jumper cables from both the cars.

Hence, these are two things you can do in case the battery dies when the radio is on. If the battery is merely dead and in new condition, you can either jump-start it or charge with a portable charger.

The second option is better as at some locations where the battery dies, you may not locate any vehicle for jump-starting.


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Can The Radio Drain Car Battery When It Is Off?

If the radio is actually in the off state and not merely silent, it won’t consume the battery power.

Hence, the radio won’t drain the battery in this case. However, if the battery is still draining out and the radio is off, there are some possibilities behind this.

The first is that the radio is defective. Yes, if the radio unit is defective, although you may turn it off, it may continue extracting power from the backend to drain out your battery.

If this is the case, immediately replace the unit or get it checked by a dealer. The second is that there is an issue with the wiring of the radio unit.

Again, if there is any wiring issue, you will end up with a dead battery even if the radio is in the off state.

Hence, it’s clear that the battery may continue to drain out even if the radio is off if any of the above two scenarios is a possibility.

Do you need a second battery for your car’s audio?

You can consider adding a second battery to your car for your car’s audio. However, it’s only feasible if you are using a heavy speaker system coupled with amplifiers, woofers, tweeters, subwoofers, and other audio equipment.

Even if you get yourself a second battery, it’s necessary to ensure proper wiring and setup.

In the second case, you have a simple audio setup with nothing fancy that requires more than usual power from the battery, why use a secondary battery?

Also read:

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Is my car battery dead if the radio still works?

There are possibilities of your car battery being dead although the radio is still on. It may sound strange having earlier said that the radio takes power from the battery itself.

However, as a standard radio unit takes a very minimal current from the battery, you may not get the feeling of the dead battery.

The only way to know whether the battery is dead or not if the other components of the car are running fine, try to turn on the starter.

As various car components consume very little power than the starter, if the battery can turn on the starter, the battery isn’t dead. Otherwise, it’s a yes.


Imagine yourself driving the car on a straight road and you decide to turn on the radio.

If you’re not used to the know-how of the car to an extent, you might wonder whether listening to the radio drains the car battery or not.

So, since the engine is on, rest assured of no-load of the radio on the battery. However, if the engine is off, the radio will extract the required power from the car battery.

And in this scenario, the battery will start to drain depending upon the strength of your car’s audio system.

Whatever it is, a standard battery won’t eat up much of your battery and keep running without impacting the battery much.