According to RAC, flat batteries are the reason for half a million breakdown call-outs each year. Sometimes it's easy to understand why your vehicle battery is being drained, such as if you accidentally leave the lights switched on when you park your van overnight. But other causes of battery drainage are less obvious. It's good to be aware of what could be draining your van's battery, in order to prevent any nasty surprises such as a breakdown or failure to start the engine. Here are a few things that could be draining your van battery, and how to prevent it being drained unnecessarily. Parasitic Drain 'Parasitic drain' is a common reason why the vehicle battery drains away when the vehicle is not in use. It's normal for some of the functions of your van to use a little bit of battery power when it's stationary and the engine is off. These include the dashboard clock and the alarm system. But sometimes this can get out of hand, catastrophically draining the battery when the motor is off. Some van users have found it's the radio that's the culprit, so it may be worth disconnecting this when the vehicle is not in use. It's usually the radio station presets that cause battery drainage in these situations. If you want to check for parasitic draw, you'll need to use an inductive amp meter, which will show whether there is a drain on the battery when you don't expect there to be. Wait a few minutes after switching off the engine before testing so that all systems shut down. You should see a reading no higher than 100mA when the battery is at rest. If it's higher than this, it may indicate that parasitic draw is occurring. Try pulling fuses one at a time; this will mean you can find which circuit is responsible for the draw. Charging Issues Another cause of battery drainage is bad charging. If you've got a problem in the charging system, then your car battery could be draining even when the van is being driven. This will eventually lead to car battery failure. This is probably a problem for a qualified mechanic to fix. You may also see battery drainage occur if your van's alternator has a bad diode, as this can cause the circuit to charge even when the engine is not switched on. This can mean your van won't start the next time you try to switch on the engine. Old Age Finally, batteries often lose their ability to stay charged as they age. Unfortunately, you will need to replace your van battery on average every 5 years to ensure it works efficiently and to prevent any risk of breakdowns. If it's been more than 5 years since you last replaced the battery, it's a good idea to replace this part - particularly if you're having any issues with starting your van. Remember, your best move is to always consult a qualified vehicle mechanic who has experience with your type of van. Keeping your battery well maintained and replacing it every 4-5 years will help prevent unexpected breakdowns and failure to start. If your van battery needs replacing or you would like to see what is on the market we have a wide range of van batteries to choose from.