Were you startled when the Battery Discharge Warning of your Kia suddenly appeared on your dash? When you see this light, stop using auxiliary power while the engine is not running. In this article, I’ll discuss Kia battery discharge warning – causes and how to fix them.
The Battery Discharge Warning of your Kia serves as a reminder for you to restart the engine. This usually happens if the radio is on (or other electrical accessories) while the engine is off. If you don’t run the engine, your battery will continue discharging. This warning tells you that your battery is draining more than it is charging.
Aside from the radio playing, there are other causes why your Battery Discharge Warning light turns on your dashboard. Some reasons include leaving the headlights on, a “parasitic draw” of electricity somewhere in the system, battery connections being corroded or loose, and many more.
Read on to learn more about Kia’s Battery Discharge Warning, why it comes on, and how you can fix it.
Kia Battery Discharge Warning Overview
Warns of a Battery That Is Quickly Discharging
When you see the Battery Discharge Warning light appearing on your Kia’s dash, it warns that your battery is quickly discharging. Perhaps your radio is turned on while the engine is turned off.
In this situation, the battery is continuously draining while not charging since the engine is not running. This will quickly drain the juices out of the battery. So, to alert you of this situation, the Battery Discharge Warning light turns on.
This is your Kia’s way of warning you that if you continue to use the radio, or other electrical accessories, while the engine is not running, you will cause the battery to go completely dead.
Aside from playing the radio with the engine off, there are other reasons why this light appears on your dash.
Why Did You Receive This Notification?
You’ll receive this notification if you forget to turn off your headlights, you have corroded battery connections, a “parasitic draw” of power somewhere in the electrical circuits, the battery is already old, and many more.
Restart the Engine
The easiest way to fix this warning light is to restart your engine. If the alternator is still okay, it will charge the battery, and the warning light will fade away.
And don’t leave your ignition on while the engine is off. This could drain your battery entirely to the point where it won’t be able to start the engine. If that happens, you have to jumpstart your Kia.
Battery Discharge Analysis Module Verifies the Battery’s Performance
You need to understand how your Kia battery discharge system works. Your vehicle has a Battery Discharge Analysis module that verifies the battery’s performance by simulating certain situations like an emergency or shutdown.
This module computes the battery’s capacity, current, voltage, and output power as it discharges its juices through a duty cycle.
Avoid Using the Vehicle’s Auxiliary Power When The Engine Is Turned Off
If the Kia you are driving shows this battery discharge warning, you should refrain from using the vehicle’s auxiliary power while the engine is turned off. If you don’t, the juices of the battery will drain out fast.
Why Do You Get a Battery Discharge Warning?
A car battery has many advantages over other forms of energy storage devices. It uses the electrochemical principle, which enables the stored energy to remain high for most of the charging cycle. However, as the charge is depleted, the stored energy quickly drops.
That happens if you turn on the car’s radio or headlights while the engine is turned off.
There are some other causes why a battery’s stored energy can quickly dissipate. For example, the Kia Soul Battery Discharge Warning light is designed to alert you of these different causes.
Here are some possible causes triggering the Battery Discharge Warning light of your Kia Soul:
1. Too Many Short Drives
If you are mainly driving for short trips, you start and shut off the engine more frequently. When you are trying to start the engine, and it starts cranking, it consumes a considerable amount of electricity from the battery.
Remember that the alternator comes in only to help recharge the battery once the engine is already running. But before that, the battery is the one that wholly supplies the energy to crank the engine and make it start. So, at that point, a lot of battery juice is consumed.
That’s why if you are frequently starting and stopping your engine, then that takes a toll on the battery. You can shorten the normal life of the battery if you are driving your Kia Soul this way.
2. Failing Charging System
One of the most common causes of battery failure is the alternator not charging it adequately. The correct and normal battery charge should be between 13.5 and 14.5 volts all the time.
However, if the alternator is already going bad, it won’t be able to give that kind of charge to the battery – even if the engine is running.
3. Old Battery
Car batteries are rated for just about 3 to 5 years. Some don’t even last for 2 to 3 years. But if you are good at maintaining and using your battery, you may be able to stretch its service life up to 5 years.
So, if your car has a battery that is already past three years old, it might be triggering the Battery Discharge Warning light on your dash.
Your car’s battery is also under the hood, beside the engine. It is subjected to all kinds of stress, like extreme heat. So, be thankful that it lasted for three years. Beyond that time, think of replacing it with a fresh one.
4. Extreme Changes in Temperature
Chilling and scorching temperatures can also cause the deterioration of a battery. Extreme temperature changes can also affect a battery’s performance, especially if it has already passed the normal service life of two to three years.
Thankfully, battery manufacturers have developed batteries that can withstand hot summer days and freezing winter weather. But that doesn’t mean you can use them under extreme heat or cold and still expect them to last long.
5. Parasitic Draining
Forgetting to turn off the lights or electrical devices inside or outside your car when the engine is not running will drain off the juices of its battery. They call it “parasitic draw” or “parasitic drain.”
Additionally, even while the engine is off, your Kia uses power to run some of its devices, like the clock, the alarm system, and other stuff. These devices only use very little energy, not enough to drain your battery.
However, if there are bad relays, you forget to turn off the headlight or some interior lights, and the battery juices will drain. So, ensure all lights are off before you leave your car in the parking lot or your garage.
6. Loose or Corroded Battery Connections
As your car keeps on running, the positive and negative terminals connected to the battery can get loose. Over time, they can also develop rust and get corroded. Any of these two conditions will give you enough trouble starting your engine.
Your Kia could also stall out while driving. A malfunctioning battery can also destroy your car’s electronic components. Prevent this from happening by cleaning the battery terminals.
7. Battery Not Charging While Driving
The battery must work to fire up or crank the engine. Once the engine runs, the alternator takes over and recharges the battery. So, if the alternator malfunctions, the battery will not be charged adequately.
You will have some issues with starting your Kia. It will be hard starting. Check the alternator if you have a relatively new battery experiencing this problem. It may be causing the problem.
8. Forgot to Turn Off the Headlights
Lights turned on while the engine is off are the quickest way to drain out the juices of a car battery. Modern cars have features that turn off their lights after a couple of minutes if the driver forgets to turn them off. This is to preserve the charge inside the battery.
If you have an old car that does not have this feature, your car lights will stay on until someone turns them off or the battery charge is completely depleted.
Again, what does the battery discharge warning mean on Kia? The battery discharge warning on Kia means your car’s battery is draining faster than the alternator is charging it. Soon, your car will have electrical issues.
What Causes the Battery Discharge Warning When Engine Is Off
Usually, if everything is working fine, your battery will retain its charge while the engine is off. However, when there are issues involved, this warning light will appear on your dash.
This can come about because of the following reasons:
1. Plugged-In Chargers
Many modern cars come with charging ports. Depending on how you treat these charging ports, they can be a boon or a bane.
If you habitually use these charging ports while the engine is off, you will drain the juices of the battery. That’s when the Battery Discharge Warning light will show up on your dash.
You can also use your car to charge your cell phone if your car has USB outlets. But don’t use it while the engine is off because it can drain your battery if you leave it unattended for hours.
2. Leaving Your Kia Out in the Open
You can’t control your battery’s charge because it is also subjected to forces beyond your control. The battery of your Kia will also run down if you always park it out in the open.
Being under the heat of the sun or the chilling cold of the night, day in and day out, can affect the battery’s performance.
It is better to park your Kia inside your garage. If you don’t have a garage or its space is already limited, the last thing you can do is to cover your Kia with a weatherproof car cover.
This will at least prevent the elements from adversely affecting the condition of your car, its components, and its battery.
How to Reset the Battery Discharge Warning Light
You can perform several fixes if the Battery Discharge Warning light suddenly comes up on your dash.
Here are some ways you can reset this light:
1. Recharge the Battery
If you have checked the problem and find that the battery is just discharged because you forgot to turn off the headlight, then the simple solution is to recharge it fully. You can use a battery charger to restore its charge. There are battery chargers sold in the market that can do this.
Or you can take your battery to a charging shop and charge it at around $10 to $20. As soon as you reconnect the fully charged battery, the Battery Discharge Warning light will fade off.
2. Check the Electrolyte Level
If your Kia has a deep cycle battery, you must constantly check its electrolyte level. These batteries should be charged and continuously discharged for them to perform optimally.
As a result of this continuous cycling, some of the electrolytes evaporate. Over time, the level of electrolyte inside the battery will drop. That’s when they must be topped up and brought up again to their optimum level.
Once they are back up again, the Battery Discharge Warning light will turn off on your dash. If you don’t know how to check your battery’s electrolyte level, take it to the battery dealer so they can check it and top it up.
3. Jumpstart the Battery
The simplest way to reset the Battery Discharge Warning light of your Kia is to jumpstart its battery. For this, you will need jumper cables that you can connect from your depleted battery to a good working battery.
Just be sure that you have correctly connected both batteries’ positive and negative terminals so that no accidents will happen. Once your battery is fully recharged and your engine starts, the alternator will continuously charge the battery.
4. Replace the Battery
If all else fails and the battery is still not working, you only have to replace it with a new battery.
After checking the alternator and you find that there’s nothing wrong with it, then the real problem is a bad battery. Replacing it is the only solution that will reset the Battery Discharge Warning light of your Kia.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have some questions about this topic, perhaps you will get your answers from the ones listed below:
What Does It Mean When the Battery Discharge Warning Light Turn on in My Kia?
When this light shows up on your Kia’s dash, it warns you that you need to restart your engine because something is draining out its battery juices very fast. Perhaps you have turned the radio off while the engine is off or forgot to turn off your headlights.
If you don’t restart the engine and keep the headlights on or the radio blasting, the stored energy inside the battery will quickly disappear. Then, you won’t be able to start your engine once you need to.
How Can I Fix This Battery Discharge Warning Light?
If there is no problem other than a drained battery, jumpstart the battery with a good working one. Just be sure to properly connect the positive and negative terminals of the two batteries.
After you have jumpstarted your battery, it should be able to crank the engine and start it. Once the engine starts, the alternator will charge the battery to its normal charge.
What Can Cause My Kia Battery to Discharge Prematurely?
There are many reasons why your Kia battery gets discharged. Among the reasons are the following:
- You are making too many short drives
- The charging system is not working properly
- The battery is already old
- The battery is exposed to extreme changes in temperature
- There is parasitic draining
- Battery connections are loose or corroded
- The battery is not charging while you are driving
- You forgot to turn off the headlights or other car lights
How Long Do Kia Batteries Last?
In normal conditions, you can expect a Kia battery to last between four and six years. Battery manufacturers usually guarantee their products for a maximum of two years.
But if you take care of your Kia battery, you can use it longer. With that said, the service life of a Kia battery depends on its type, your driving style, and the weather conditions.
In Closing: Causes and How to Fix Kia Battery Discharge Warning
If your Kia’s battery discharge warning light turns on, it tells you to restart your engine. This light usually turns on if your radio is on (or other electrical devices) while the engine is off.
If you don’t restart the engine, the battery may die altogether. So this light is warning you that your battery is discharging faster than it is charging.
Aside from an active radio, there are other reasons why this warning light turns on your dash. Other causes include corroded or loose battery connections, a “parasitic draw” of electricity in the system, leaving the headlights on, and many more.