Me and my SO were given that as the cause of our battery being randomly dead every month/month and a half. Her drive to and from work (about 15 minutes) is not enough to keep the battery from discharging, so thats why it dies every so often. (It even did it earlier this week, even if we went to my parents/stepparents for christmas, which is a 45 minute drive.)

The dealership checked and rechecked all of the battery components, and it seems we have a still great battery. So it should not be that.

So is a 15 minute drive ok to keep the battery good or is there some habits I should take to avoid that problem?

Car is a 2013 Corolla, with loads of options (Power windows, heated seats, etc, that could drain a battery). We live in Canada, but last time the battery was dead it was in a week where in never got under -5°C... Really the question boils down to is this a thing, or are we getting served some good old balloney.

  • I think a 15 minute drive should be enough to keep the battery charged unless you are running everything electrical during the drive. Most modern alternators produce at least 2500W of power which is 178A at 14V and I believe that should leave you plenty of spare power to charge the battery.
    – jwh20
    Jan 3, 2020 at 20:57
  • 1
    It depends. 15 minutes driving at highway speeds (30 mph +) should be enough. 5 minutes driving and 10 minutes sitting with the engine idling and the lights, aircon, heated seats, etc, all on - probably not. It also depends whether your car starts at the second engine compression every time, or you have to crank it for 15 seconds before it fires!
    – alephzero
    Jan 3, 2020 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is "it depends" - on a number of factors, e.g.

  • the condition of the battery and alternator - an old battery will hold less charge, and lose more overnight, a tired alternator won't charge as quickly.

  • the ambient temperature - cold batteries don't work as well as warm ones, cold engines take more power to start, plus you use more power for heating, demisters, etc.

  • the type of driving - as mentioned above, stop-start driving won't charge the battery as much as cruising

  • the time of year - as well as the temperature, it's usually dark at commuting time in the winter, so you use lights more.

It might be worth investing in a trickle charger, which can be used to top up the battery overnight in the winter.

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