Help! My Ignition Interlock is Draining My Battery!
When you first get your ignition interlock, you are given instructions on how to pass tests and keep yourself on the road safely and legally. But there are a few more things you should know to make sure that your ignition interlock program goes smoothly.
Occasionally an interlock user will have problems with a battery that seems to drain too fast. The fault could be a defective device, but most times it’s caused by an old battery or defective alternator. Your authorized installer will check the batter voltage at installation and make sure you know if it is able to handle the addition of an interlock.
Your Vehicle is Always Awake
Even when parked in the garage, your vehicle is using power. Most accessories (including your clock and your radio) draw a tiny amount of electricity. An alarm or GPS unit will also draw power. That means that eventually your battery will die if you don’t charge it regularly by driving.
LifeSafer Ignition Interlocks and Sleep Mode
Our interlocks are pre programmed to go into battery saving sleep mode when not in use. They leave our quality control and testing laboratory with this preset ready to go. This will reduce the voltage our units draw when the vehicle is not being driven.
Your Battery Needs to be Good
This is true whether or not you have an ignition interlock, but if you do, it’s even more vital. Any new battery should give you four years. If you live in a very cold climate, replace it after that. If not, you should still keep an eye on it, because a failure can lead to hassles.
Your Alternator Needs to be Good Too
If your starter isn’t cranking as quickly as it should, or if battery power is down, it might be the alternator, the part of your car that charges the battery as it’s running. Both the battery and the alternator have to be in great shape if you’ve got any extra electronic accessories in your car. Have the alternator checked.
You Must Drive Your Vehicle 2 – 3 Times a Week
Even if you haven’t planned on driving, you’ll need take a spin in your vehicle 2 or 3 times a week, to keep the battery topped up. This applies whether you have an ignition interlock or an inboard DVD player. Accessories use a little power, and while your battery is up to the task, it must be charged regularly.
That’s it. Treat your interlock like any electronic accessory, keep your battery charged, and you’ll never have a problem starting up.