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A car stereo or FM radio is the necessary component of any modern vehicle. Most advanced cars have replaced their FM radio with the modern DAB radio for getting improved sound quality at the expense of your battery power.  Just like any vehicle to run, a running car radio requires some sort of energy to power its performance. 

This energy is provided to your car and all of its internal electric devices including the car radio by the battery. Now the question might pop up in your mind “Can a car radio drain your battery? Well, the answer is definitely, in affirmation. It means that a running car radio will surely use your car battery to keep running and this will lead to battery drainage. 

Now that you are aware of the battery drainage caused by the powered car radio you must be curious about its duration. If you are looking forward to knowing “How long a car battery will last with the car radio on? Or how quickly will the car battery drain with the running radio? The answer to both these questions lies in the power usage capacity of your car stereos.

 For instance, if your car is equipped with FM radio these devices are known to utilize the minimal amount of electricity ampere and will cause the battery drainage at an almost negligible rate.

But if you are using the latest DAB radio technology in your car, the battery drainage by these modern sound devices will be far more than caused by the FM radio. 

If you are done comparing the battery drainage of FM radio with the DAB radio you might also want to compare the radio battery drainage with other internal electric gadgets.

For example, the heating system of your car or the air-conditioning unit if, left on in a standing car will very rapidly drain your battery and cause it to go dead. Is this case also similar to the car radio or not? 

Well, this depends upon the situation and the stereo unit your car is using. But most probably using the radio in your car for about 10 to 12 hours will not cause your car battery to drop to zero. 

Can A Car Radio Drain Your Battery?

A car or any other vehicle has multiple electric devices that need a continuous power supply to operate such as internal car lights, air conditioner, car radio, stereo unit, USB chargers, media screens, and so on.

For all these gadgets to run, your vehicle needs power that is generated by the engine when the car is running but when the engine is stopped or the car is stagnated, this power is delivered through the finite battery power. 

A car battery is sufficient enough for running all these electric devices for about a few hours when in need. But you need to keep in mind that while a car or any other vehicle is running the energy is supplied by the engine and therefore your battery drainage will not count.

But the moment when you stop your car engine the battery power is activated and will start draining with each ampere being used. 

If you let your internal car appliances keep running while the engine is turned off then you eventually have to witness a dead car battery since there is no other way around for power supply.

Therefore, it is a recommended practice to use electric devices only when the car engine is running and immediately turn them off along with your engine.

In other words, you need to pay attention to your parked car, if its lights, AC unit or heating system, or even the car radio is left on or not. This is to ensure that your battery is not being used and will not drain until dead.

How Quickly Can A Car Radio Drain Your Battery?

A car radio is not a very heavy-duty device and will not use much battery power therefore, it is least likely that your car radio will cause your car battery to drain until dead. But this doesn’t mean you can keep your battery-powered radio on for countless hours considering your finite battery supply. 

A car radio will at most be consuming 5 to 6 amperes of power and the most common car batteries available on the market are about 60 ampere. This means that your car radio can keep running for a good time of about 10 to 12 hours without the need to power on your engine. 

This is the typical case with the car stereo and usually, no one in its right state of mind let the car radio run in a standing car for about this long (10 to 12 hours). This means you don’t have to worry about your car battery being dropped to dead by your radio.

But there are many reported cases where a fully charged battery drops to zero within a few hours with only the sound system or car radio on. This situation is typically due to some fault with either your car stereo unit, its internal wiring, or even the car battery itself.  

The battery drainage caused by the radio or stereo unit is called “Parasitic Draw”

Parasitic Draw:

Parasitic draw usually refers to battery drainage when the radio is turned off but the battery is being consumed. This might be due to bade radio use or some issues with the internal audio circuit wiring. It may also be due to poorly connected car radio. 

In any case, the parasitic draw will let your battery be consumed even when your radio is turned off and your car battery drains to death within a few weeks of installation. In some severe cases when the fault is too big to handle for the battery a newly installed battery will rapidly day in a single day to zero or dead level.  Therefore, you must regularly check your battery level before starting your journey since its power is mandatory for your car engine to start. 

Final Words:

A typical car radio will take 10 or 12 hours to drain a full-powered battery when the engine is turned off. If your vehicle is running then the radio will be using power through the alternator and your car battery will not drain. But when the engine is powered off battery drain will start and you should be mindful of turning off your car radio after a few hours in a standing car.

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About the author

Zeeshan Farhad

Zeeshan Farhad is the Founder of He is well known for his experience in Digital Marketing! He loves to write about trending topics and review different products on daily basis. Read More

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