How Long Before Car Battery Dies With Radio On? (Explained)

Radio is one of the electrical devices in cars that we use most. It keeps trips lively, and it provides wholesome entertainment while we hit the road. However, you may wonder if it can also provide the same thing for long periods, even when the car isn’t running. Thus, you may ask:

How long before the car battery dies with the radio on? In general, it would take you at least a few hours before the car battery dies. Despite this fact, it’s not a good idea for you to leave your radio on while your engine isn’t running. It will not only wear your battery out but will also make starting the engine a hassle.

Most car batteries can take on the radio for hours. However, it would depend on the battery, the radio, and the hours you use it. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about your car battery. This way, you can get an idea of how it works and maintain its condition.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How Long Before Car Battery Dies With Radio On

Does Leaving the Radio on Drain the Car Battery?

In general, we can say that leaving the radio on can drain the car battery. However, it depends on a variety of factors.

For instance, radios don’t need a lot of power, so it’s not something you can accuse of battery draining. Of course, it’s a different case if you leave it on for hours with the engine off.

Still, when you turn the radio on, you turn the whole electricity system in your car. If you have lights that turn on whenever your key is in the ignition, that would add to the battery drain.

Here’s a general view of car batteries. Most of these batteries are about 60AH. It means they can supply 60 Amps for an hour or 6 Amps for 10 hours.

On the other hand, a typical stereo will need about five amps of power. If you want to crank up the volume, then five amps likely won’t be enough.

For this reason, it would generally give you a few hours before the battery drains. However, to start your engine, you need around 130 Amps. Thus, in just a few hours, you may not be able to start your engine if you leave your radio on. 

How Long Does Car Battery Last With Radio On?

In general, it should take a few hours for your car radio to drain your battery, given the fact that it’s the only one consuming electricity.

In general, leaving the radio running while the car is off can potentially drain the battery. Radios or stereos do not use a lot of energy, though. For this reason, battery draining is likely due to other things. Among these are fans, heaters, and lights.

Another thing to note is the amount of battery energy your stereo uses. In general, it will vary upon your vehicle’s audio system.

For instance, if you have loads of strong speakers or a power-consumer subwoofer, the power can drain much faster.

Further, some radios have large screens that can also increase battery consumption. If you meddle a lot with the switches, the power can also drain faster.

So, how long will it take before the car battery dies with the radio running?

If the cell is in good shape, you can let the radio on for hours without issues. However, ensure the lights and heaters are off, as these may cause the power to drain faster.

car radio and battery

How to Listen to Radio Without Draining Car Battery?

The best way to listen to the radio without draining your car battery is to use a portable one.

If you worry about draining the battery, pocket radio on your vehicle instead of the built-in radio may be a brilliant idea.

Most vehicles use FM stereo to enjoy the film sound. However, you wouldn’t want to consume all your car battery using such.

For this reason, it would be best to bring a pocket or any portable stereo or speaker instead.

This way, you can hear the film no matter where you are. It will also help you prevent your car battery from draining.

How Long Can You Listen to the Radio With the Car Off?

As I said earlier, the duration of radio use depends on a couple of factors. In general, a new car battery can allow you to use the radio for two to three hours, and you can still start your car afterward.

If you want to use your radio for longer hours, it would be best to fire your engine up at intervals.

This way, you can charge your battery up and avoid draining it. Still, it would be best if you just bring a portable radio.

It will save you some time and prevent your car battery from wearing out.


The use of radio is quite essential for the liveliness and entertainment of everyone in a car. Thus, it’s also one thing we want to leave on, even though the engine is off.

Another thing to note is that radio usage isn’t that battery-consuming. It’s pretty accurate, especially if you don’t fiddle with it and use it with cranked volumes. Still, it remains that it consumes power and will drain your battery out in a few hours.

For this reason, the best way to preserve your car battery while having the entertainment of radio is to bring a portable one. This way, it will save you from the battery drain issue and use less power as much as possible for more prolonged use.



Image credits – Canva

Share on:

My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more