5 Common Laptop Battery Issues and Next Steps

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The laptop’s battery is the key to its mobility, offering an edge over standard desktop PCs. Proper battery care is essential to prolong your laptop’s lifespan and overall performance. Battery issues can disrupt your productivity and hinder your daily operations.

Recognizing the most common battery problems allows you to take corrective actions, ensuring your laptop remains in optimal condition. The following guide will help you understand common laptop battery issues and how to address them. 

1. Laptop Battery Charges Too Slowly

A common problem many laptop users face is the battery taking longer to charge. While each battery and charger has its unique specifications, and the charging rate might differ among devices, equipment in good condition should charge within a reasonable time.

If you notice that the charging time is longer than the manufacturer suggests, or if the battery percentage seems stagnant, you’re likely dealing with a slow charging problem.

Solutions for Slow Charging:

  • Check that the battery cable is correctly inserted in your laptop and that the battery ports are clean and free of dust or grime.
  • Ensure your battery charger is the proper make and model for your laptop.
  • Verify that your charger is in good condition and functioning properly.
  • Avoid running resource-intensive programs and applications while charging.

Over time, laptop battery chargers can deteriorate, depending on how often they’re used. If you've tried other solutions and your device still charges slowly, it might be time to invest in a new laptop battery.

2. Battery Power Drains Quickly

Certain laptops may experience rapid battery drain. Even with a fully functional charger, the battery might not retain its full charge for as long as it used to.

To identify a battery discharge problem, compare the duration of your laptop runs on a full charge to the manufacturer’s estimated battery runtime. If there’s a significant discrepancy, your laptop could be facing an underlying issue.

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Causes and Solutions for Fast Battery Drain:

  • Many background processes, software, and programs can drain the battery faster than the manufacturer’s specs. Close programs you don’t use and monitor your laptop’s power usage.
  • Run anti-virus software on your laptop. Malware can sometimes increase hardware resource usage, draining battery power.
  • Set your operating system’s power management mode to “Power Saver” or equivalent.
  • Avoid connecting too many USB peripherals and leaving wireless connectivity on too long.

If none of these issues have resolved your battery drainage issues, your battery may be old. Age and repeated charging cycles progressively reduce your battery’s ability to retain a charge.

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3. Charge Indicator Fluctuates Constantly

Depending on their age and condition, some batteries might not deliver a consistent charge to your laptop, leading to erratic percentage readings. This inconsistency is often due to battery calibration issues. 

While batteries are designed to be accurate when they leave the factory, factors like software updates, hardware modifications, or irregular charging and discharging habits can throw off this calibration.

To address this, you can recalibrate the battery using the following steps:

  • Leave your battery charged until it reaches 100 percent and then unplug the charger.
  • Allow your battery to discharge until it reaches 0 percent. Your laptop should automatically shut down when your battery runs out of power.
  • Leave the laptop off for a few hours to dissipate residual charge. This is known as a power cycle.
  • Plug the battery charger in again and allow it to charge to 100 percent without interruptions. Your battery should be recalibrated once fully recharged.

4. The Battery Isn’t Powering the Laptop 

At times, your laptop may fail to draw power from its battery, leading to unexpected shutdowns or a dependency on a charger for startup. 

To address this, try a power cycle using these steps:

  • Disconnect the charger from your laptop.
  • Turn off your laptop, open the battery compartment, and remove the battery.
  • With the battery out, press and hold the power button for about 15 seconds to clear any residual charge.
  • Replace the battery and connect the charger for a while to ensure the battery charges sufficiently.
  • Disconnect the charger and attempt to turn on the laptop.

All batteries have a limited lifespan, which diminishes with regular use and charging. Exposure to heat, age, and physical impacts can further reduce this lifespan. If your battery isn’t functioning optimally, it’s likely past its prime or damaged. 

When considering a replacement, choose a battery tailored for your laptop’s make and model. Using an incompatible battery can damage your device.

5. Battery Appears Swollen or Larger Than Before

It could signal a serious issue when your laptop battery exhibits signs of swelling, bulging, or no longer fits snugly within the battery compartment. Laptop batteries can undergo deformation and swelling for a range of reasons:

  • General wear and tear: As batteries age and their components degrade, they become subject to chemical reactions. Some of these problems can cause buildups of heat and gases, causing the battery casing to bulge. If left unaddressed, swollen batteries may eventually catch on fire or explode.
  • Overcharging: Constantly leaving the charger plugged in or keeping the battery in a high state of charge overstresses its components, increasing the risk of swelling and catching on fire. Avoid leaving the charger plugged in for extended periods and unplug it when the battery is full.
  • Physical damage: Punctures, heavy dents, hard impacts, or exposure to high temperatures can break the battery’s seals and internal components. This can lead the battery to expand or even ignite, causing injuries. 

In less common situations, a manufacturing flaw, like improper sealing or leakage, might damage a new battery. If this happens, verify the battery is still under warranty and contact the manufacturer for support.

If your laptop is running with a swollen battery, turn it off immediately, unplug it from the charger, and remove the battery from the laptop’s compartment. Replace it with a brand-new model of the same type.

Give Your Laptop Battery Proper Care 

Following the best practices of laptop battery care is the best way to reduce the risk of experiencing battery or charging issues. Always unplug the charger when the battery is fully charged, manage your laptop’s programs and processes to minimize power draw, and treat the battery carefully. 

When it’s time, replace your laptop battery with a new, appropriate device for extended longevity and performance.