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How Long Does a Car Battery Last With Radio on? – Explained

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how long does a car battery last with radio on

When you start the engine, your batteries are usually entirely charged. The alternator will strive to keep the battery charged when you turn on the car, regardless of how many components are used.

But when you utilize a device with the engine off, your battery will die fast. For example, continuous usage of the radio might deplete the car’s battery. In this post, we’ll discuss how long does a car battery last with radio on and how to get the most out of your automobile battery.

Does Leaving the Radio on Drain the Car Battery? How Long Will a Car Battery Last With the Radio on?


We may say that leaving the radio on will drain the car battery.

Generally, you might be able to listen to your satellite radio (12 volt+) for 10-20 hours before losing the satellite signal. However, the car’s battery lifespan is contingent on several things.

Radios, for example, do not require a lot of power, but, of course, if you keep them on for hours with the engine turned off, that’s a different story. Another thing to consider is how much battery power your radio consumes. In general, it depends on the audio system in your vehicle.

If you have a lot of powerful speakers or a power-hungry subwoofer, for example, the power will deplete considerably faster. Additionally, some radios have big displays, which might increase power usage. If you play around with the switches a lot, the power will deplete faster.

The majority of automobile batteries have a 60AH capacity. Therefore, they may provide 60 amps for an hour or 6 amps for ten hours.

A typical stereo, on the other hand, will require around five amps, but five amps will most likely not suffice if you want to turn up the volume. As a result, the battery will usually last a few hours.

Quick battery drains can also happen if you use fans and other devices at the same time. Turning on the radio turns on your car’s whole electrical system. If you have lights that turn on whenever you put your key in the ignition, this can deplete your battery faster.

Note: You’ll need approximately 130 amps to start your engine. If you leave your radio on for hours before using your car, you might not be able to start your car afterwards.

So, instead of charging your vehicle battery when you get in to drive to someplace, you should charge it while driving, and soon after you park and switch off the engine.

How to Listen to Radio Without Draining Car Battery?

If you want to listen to the radio without draining your car battery, charge your battery fully. This is necessary, especially if you’re going to be listening to the radio for a long time or you have to travel in the city.

By altering the frequency, you can get as much power out of your radio as possible. This will prevent your battery from being drained.

Alternatively, a portable radio can be an excellent method to listen to the radio without exhausting your car battery.

To improve the film sound, most cars employ FM stereo. However, you don’t want to use up all of your car’s battery by doing so. As a result, it is preferable to pack a pocket stereo or a portable speaker.

Read more: Tips to fix a car stereo draining battery.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long can you listen to the radio with the car off?

On average, when you turn your car off, you can listen to the radio for 2 to 3 hours without draining the vehicle battery.

How long can I leave my car in accessory mode?

You should be able to keep your car in accessory mode for 30 to 45 minutes. On the other hand, the newest automobile shuts off the accessory mode after 20 minutes to avoid depleting the battery.

In general, how long the accessory mode lasts depends on some factors below:

  • The battery’s capacity
  • The battery’s current state of charge
  • The battery type
  • All devices that are active at the time
  • The temperature

How can I tell if my radio is draining my battery?

If you see any signs that are mentioned here, your radio might be draining the car battery:

  • Even with a fresh battery ( a few weeks or a few months old), the car fails to start.
  • When starting the car, the engine cranks excessively.
  • The dashboard equipment lights, as well as the headlights, are dim.
  • The battery light on the dashboard is always on.
  • Some technologies continue to operate even when the car is switched off.

Can an utterly dead battery be recharged?

Yes, although it is strongly discouraged. Why? Because after only three months of inactivity, the battery and its components will fail completely. They won’t be able to work after that. So if you wish to use a battery in your car again, you’ll have to buy a new one.

If this seems like too much bother, try investing in a car with cutting-edge technology that can charge itself every time you flip the ignition on.

The Ford Focus C3 small hatchback is one such model. It features an electric system that charges itself when it runs out of juice, then saves the energy in the batteries to power your accessories (headlights, etc.) when you restart your automobile.

Final Thoughts

The amount of time your car battery lasts may be determined by your vehicle, not only by the radio. You can listen to your favorite stations for hours if you have a strong battery in good condition. On the other hand, if your car battery is a little older, you’ll have a higher risk of experiencing issues.

Hopefully, the information in the above post has answered your question, “How long does a car battery last with radio on?” So, enjoy your time listening to your car radio and take care of it!

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