A dead car battery can be a frustrating experience especially when you have an interlock device installed. It can prevent you from starting the car and using the interlock device to test your breath for alcohol before driving.
However, having your car battery die with interlock will not only stop you from starting the car, but it may also cause your IIDs to enter into lookout mode thinking that you tempered with the interlock device, thereby leading to administrative penalties, such as fines, extended interlock periods, etc.
Therefore, if your car battery dies with the interlock, contact your interlock service provider to guide you through the necessary steps or remotely disable the interlock device temporarily to allow you to jump-start the vehicle, jump-start the car, or replace the battery to start and power the interlock.
If you don’t wish to contact your interlock service provider or do not have their contact details, you can simply jumpstart the car or replace the battery to have the car started again. Don’t forget to check the interlock device and do the needful before and after the car is started.
What is an Interlock?
A car interlock, also known as an ignition interlock device (IID), is a piece of equipment installed in a motor vehicle to prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. The primary purpose of an interlock device is to reduce the risk of drunk driving and enhance road safety.
Before the driver can successfully start the car, they are required to blow into the interlock device which measures the alcohol content in their breath to determine if they are under the legal limit to drive.
If the breathalyzer test registers a blood alcohol concentration above the pre-set limit (usually around 0.02% to 0.04%), the vehicle will not start.
Can a Car Battery Die With an Interlock?
Yes, a car battery can die with an interlock installed in the car.
However, the fact that a car battery died with an interlock doesn’t mean that the interlock is the cause of the dead battery. Car interlocks use very little electrical power to function which is not enough to kill your battery except under certain circumstances.
Nevertheless, the reason why your battery died with the interlock could be that you have an old/weak battery that can no longer hold a charge efficiently. It can also mean that your car is having a parasitic drain. If you leave your car unattended for a long period of time, the battery will die with the interlock.
How to Fix a Car Battery that Died with Interlock
Below are the best ways to fix a car battery that died with an interlock:
Step One: Confirm the Battery is Indeed Dead
Before attempting any fix on a battery that died with interlock, it is important to confirm that the issue is indeed a dead battery.
You can do this by starting your vehicle to see if the electrical systems respond. If nothing happens when you turn the ignition key or push the ignition button, it’s likely a dead battery.
Another way to know if the battery is indeed dead is if the interlock device’s display is not responding. In this case, you will have to follow the method explained below to have it fixed.
Step Two: Contact Your Interlock Service Provider
When you have a dead battery with an interlock, it is advisable to contact your interlock service provider. Most interlock service providers offer emergency assistance lines or troubleshooting options for situations like this.
The essence of contacting them is to guide you through the necessary steps and, in some cases, remotely disable the interlock device temporarily to allow you to jump-start the vehicle. This is very important to avoid administrative penalties.
Step Three: Jump-Start Your Car
After you’ve contacted your interlock service provider and wish to jumpstart the car, you can jump-start the car following the procedure below.
- Position the working vehicle next to yours so that the jumper cables can reach both batteries.
- Turn off the ignition on both vehicles.
- Connect the positive (+) cable to the positive terminal of your car’s battery.
- Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the working vehicle’s battery.
- Attach the negative (-) cable to the negative terminal of the working vehicle’s battery.
- Now, instead of connecting the other end of the negative cable to your dead battery’s negative terminal, attach it to a clean, unpainted metal surface on your car, away from the battery to reduce the risk of sparks near the battery, which can be dangerous.
- Attempt to start your car. If it starts, the interlock device might prompt you to take a breathalyzer test to ensure you are sober before it allows you to drive.
If you do not want to make use of this procedure, you can remove the battery and have it charged at a charging station. When the charging is complete, you can reconnect it to its place in the car.
You can also use a portable rechargeable jumpstart or power bank jumpstarter to charge the battery to enable it to start. If you’re unable to jump-start the vehicle or if the interlock device continues to cause problems, contact your interlock service provider to address the issue.
If the battery is completely dead, replacing it with a new battery will be the best option. Anything that can enable you to start your car.
Disadvantages of Car Battery Dying with Interlock
The disadvantages of car battery dying with interlock are:
- You Could be Penalized: After a breath test must have been taken by the driver before starting the car, drivers are in some cases required to re-take a test while driving. This won’t be possible if the car dies and may be recorded as non-compliant. The driver may be faced with a penalty for non-compliance by law.
- Missed Monitoring and Reporting: Ignition interlock devices record data on your attempts to start the vehicle and any violations, such as failed breath tests. If the battery dies, it may disrupt the device’s ability to report this data to the authorities or your monitoring agency. This could result in non-compliance violations.
- Get Stranded: The car battery may start and run for some miles before going off. It will be a very bad situation if the battery dies in a deserted place or an area where it will be hard to get help thereby leaving you stranded.
- Lockout Period: Many IIDs have a lockout period if they detect tampering or other issues, which could include a dead battery. During this lockout period, the vehicle won’t start, even if the battery is replaced. The length of the lockout period varies depending on the specific interlock device and local regulations.
Can an Interlock Device Drain your Battery?
No, “an interlock device cannot drain your battery” because the power drain from the interlock is usually minimal and should not significantly affect your vehicle’s battery.
Interlocks are designed to have a low impact on the vehicle’s electrical system to ensure that they don’t drain the battery excessively. The power consumption is typically well within the vehicle’s normal electrical load capacity, not enough to drain your battery.
On the contrary, if the interlock is the culprit to the battery’s drainage, it could be that the installation was not properly done but this rarely happens as the device is usually installed by professionals who are good at their job.
Can You Jumpstart a Car With an Interlock?
Yes, “you can jumpstart a car with an interlock” but you need to follow some precautions and guidelines to ensure you do it safely without damaging the device or your vehicle.
First and foremost, if your car battery died with interlock, you should contact the provider of your IID system to get specific instructions and guidance for jump-starting your vehicle. They can provide you with advice tailored to your particular device.
Before jump-starting, it might be a good idea to disconnect the interlock from your vehicle to prevent any potential electrical issues or damage to the device during the jump-start process.
Follow the standard procedures for jump-starting a vehicle, which involve connecting jumper cables to the dead battery and a running vehicle’s battery. Make sure to connect the cables properly, following the recommended sequence (typically, positive to positive and negative to negative).
After successfully jump-starting your vehicle, you can reconnect the interlock according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve reattaching wires or cables and ensuring the device is powered up and functioning correctly.
Dealing with a dead car battery when you have an interlock device installed in the car can be challenging, but by jumpstarting the car or replacing the battery, the car should start and the interlock activated.
Remember that tampering with or attempting to bypass the interlock device is illegal and can lead to serious consequences such as legal penalties. Always adhere to the proper procedures and seek assistance from your interlock service provider when encountering such issues.