There are many different ways to power a truck. The most common is an internal combustion engine system, which burns fuel to create usable energy for motion buffered by a battery. Alternatively, many cars nowadays are equipped with electric motors, which use electricity stored in the car’s batteries to power its movements. So what happens when you take out the battery in either type? Can a truck run without a battery?
Technically, trucks with internal combustion engines are capable of running without a battery, as much of their power comes from fuel rather than the battery itself. An electric truck would not be able to run without a battery, as this is its main source of power. Regardless, a truck should never run without a battery-equipped due to many significant risks.
In this article, we will discuss how a truck could technically run without a battery, how doing so would affect your truck’s functionality, and why you wouldn’t want to test this theory due to several risks to yourself, other drivers, and your car’s components.
Can a Truck Run Without a Battery?
Batteries are one of the priciest components in any truck, and if you find that yours is suddenly dead or not cooperating, you might be curious if you can still get your truck to run without it. After all, trucks are equipped with internal combustion engines for power, so what do you need the battery for?
Because trucks draw the majority of their power from their internal combustion systems, they could feasibly run for a short while without a battery equipped. However, if your car hasn’t already started, it won’t be able to run as the battery allows the ignition system to start the car.
Realistically, you could start your truck, then disconnect the battery and allow the truck to run on power supplied by a functioning alternator and the internal combustion system. That being said, this is an extremely terrible idea for a number of reasons we’ll discuss momentarily.
Here’s a video showing how an engine can run without a battery, with more info below:
What About Electric Trucks?
Before we move on to why you should never run your truck without a battery, we’d like to briefly cover whether an electric truck can function without one.
If you’re an avid truck-lover, you might be rolling your eyes at this since there currently are no fully electric trucks on the market. However, a number of reputable companies, like Tesla, Chevy, and Ford, are currently creating the first electric trucks set to be released in the next few years.
So, if you get your hands on one of these in the near future, we’d like to dispel the myth right now that you can drive it without the battery.
Electric cars rely on battery power much more than an internal combustion system does. It draws nearly all of its power exclusively from its batteries, so if you can even manage to turn the car on without a battery-equipped, it will certainly shut off the moment it is disconnected or dies.
Hybrids will likely experience the same issues as well since they too rely more heavily on battery power.
Why You Should Never Run Your Truck Without a Battery
We already know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen our golden word “technically” above, and you’re already thinking, “so, you’re saying there’s a chance?!” Although part of us would love to tell you your truck won’t run at all without a battery, it wouldn’t be true. But, running it without this component would be a monumental mistake.
Batteries might not be the main source of power in a truck, but it is far from irrelevant. These pieces can work as a buffer to provide your truck with additional energy as needed with the help of the alternator that keeps your battery charged.
It is also the main source of power for any electrical systems within your truck, and the newer your truck is, there more systems rely on your battery. In fact, most new truck models rely so heavily on battery power that they’re equipped with two.
Without a battery-equipped to your truck, you’ll experience significant issues such as:
- Inability to start
- Lack of power and function for all electrical components (ex. lights, radio, AC)
- Increased AC and high voltage spikes
- Transient traveling throughout circuits and systems rather than to ground
Your truck’s battery essentially powers and protects all electrical components in your vehicle. So while you might be irritated that your radio doesn’t work when you disconnect the battery, you should really be concerned about how much damage you’ve probably caused with this move.
How Removing a Truck Battery Damages Your Systems
More often than not, disconnecting your truck’s battery or running your truck with a dead battery is going to cause far more issues than it’s worth. If you disconnect it, there will be a significant high voltage spike that will travel throughout the systems in your car and could quickly fry or destroy them.
- If the initial unplug doesn’t damage electrical components by itself, electrical transients will.
- Batteries help ensure everything in your car’s electrical system runs properly
- So if it notices your AC is about to spike or an electrical transient is too high, it will ensure these spikes and transients go to the ground rather than throughout the truck’s circuits where it could damage electrical components
- Some of which you’re probably using if you’re driving the truck.
A drastic example would be that you decide to run and drive your truck without the battery, but a high voltage spike damages your truck’s electrical steering. The unexpected lack of steering assistance might be enough for you to lose control of your vehicle and cause an accident.
In the end, running your truck without a battery will likely cause thousands of dollars worth of damage that will far exceed the battery’s worth.
We understand the desire to cut corners with your vehicles for the sake of cost or convenience, but running your truck without a battery isn’t a good way to do this.
Realistically, you’re far more likely to damage components within your truck beyond repair and potentially cause an accident without your battery ensuring all electrical systems are functioning properly. So, while your truck is capable of running without a battery for a period, depending on how much fuel it has, doing so is inadvisable.