3 Simple tricks to watch Drive-in movie without draining car battery

watch drive in movie without draining car battery

Every movie buff trying out drive-in theatre has this one question in mind; how to watch drive-in movie without draining car battery and keep radio on at drive-in?

Well, it’s not hard, and there is more than one approach to ensuring you watch a movie without any interruption while your car’s battery stays in perfect condition.

If you’re interested in learning about them, feel free to have a peek at the rest of this guide.

Does car battery die at drive-in?

Before we move towards finding the answer to how to watch drive-in movie without draining car battery, we should discuss if the battery even dies during a drive-in?

Well, the answer to this is simply a NO. It will not die during the drive-in because 2 hours or running won’t kill the battery unless it is already on its last leg.

A good practice to follow to ensure your car doesn’t lose the current is to turn it on after some time during the movie so the battery gets charged to keep working.

This is what many people going to the drive-in movie theatre do.  

Do you leave your car on at a drive-in movie? (Trick#1)

Do you leave your car on at a drive-in movie
Do you leave your car on at a drive-in movie

This is something that everyone going to the drive-in movie theatre wonders because you don’t want your radio to go off during a scene that requires your full attention.

Furthermore, you don’t want your car to lose its power leaving you helpless and waiting for an AAA pickup truck. So what’s the solution then?

Well, it’s pretty simple and you don’t have to do something that might interrupt your movie. All you need is to turn on the car for a minute or two during every intermission. This will crank up the battery and you will be good to go.

So doing this will ensure your battery doesn’t die out on you and you will not have to keep the car running during the movie while you keep the radio on at drive-in.

How to Listen to Radio without Draining Car Battery? (Trick#2)

Listen to Radio without Draining Car Battery
Listen to Radio without Draining Car Battery

There are two answers to the question; how to watch drive-in movie without draining car battery.

We have already told you the first one above where you can just keep listening to the radio and turn on the car for a minute or two during every intermission.

If you don’t want to do that, then there’s a much simpler and more convenient option; you use portable FM radio.

Yes, you have read it right. You can listen to the external battery-powered radio by tuning it onto the frequencies sent out by the drive-in theatre.

You can keep your car off and enjoy the movie as well. There are two types of portable FM radios for drive-in theatre including chargeable and battery-powered radio.

But that is not it, if you don’t want to get a portable FB radio, that’s fine too. You can just get a Bluetooth powered speaker, pair it with your phone and connect your phone’s radio with the frequencies of drive-in theatre. We’ll discuss more about it in detail later in this guide.

Drive-in movie car setup (Drive-in movie hacks):

Watching a drive-in movie is a totally different experience than watching it at home or in an indoor theatre. Therefore, you have to be well prepared to enjoy every moment of this unique experience.

We have some essentials that you need to have for the best drive-in movie setup, have a look at them below:

  • Outdoor Chair: Get one of the outdoor/camping chairs so that if you feel like catching fresh air while watching the movie, you can put the chair beside your car and enjoy it.
  • Picnic Blanket: if you decide to sit outside or even if you are inside, cold weather can send chills down your body when the heater of the car is turned off to preserve the battery. So, get a picnic blanket for two people to stay warm.
  • Headrest: This is an absolute must because your neck can start to ache after being in the same position, fixed on the giant screen for a good number of minutes.
  • Water Bottle: Get one of those camping flasks that offer greater insulation. If it’s summer, you would want your water to stay chilled for a few hours.
  • Cooler: Get one of those small plastic coolers to store your drinks inside and keep them warm or cold, depending on the season.
  • Portable Radio: As discussed above, you need a portable radio if you don’t want to turn your car’s radio on and run the risk of draining its battery.
  • Portable Bathroom: If you don’t want to use public restrooms, you can get a disposable urinal if you feel the need to go during the movie.
  • Bug Spray: Get a human-friendly bug repellent because sitting out in the open can attract a lot of bugs towards you, especially if there’s light coming from a giant screen in front of you.

These are some of the most helpful tips or hacks that you can use to have a great drive-in movie setup and thoroughly enjoy your night out.

Best radio app for drive-in movies: (Trick#3)

The best answer to ‘how to watch drive-in movie without draining car battery’ that we have given you is to use your mobile phone’s FM radio, right?

Well, we also told you that you would have to connect it with a Bluetooth speaker because relying on your phone’s speaker might not be a good idea.

Now, another thing that you need to ensure you are going to catch clear frequencies of the drive-in theatre on your phone is a radio app. Your phone’s internal FM might not be able to catch them.

So for that, we suggest that you get TuneIn Radio app. It’s one of the best apps out there that are available on the app stores for both Apple and Android. Another thing that we will suggest you to do is bring an AUX cable with you.

This is for just in case scenarios as if your speaker’s Bluetooth starts giving you problem, you can connect speaker to your phone via the AUX.

Drive-in movie with push start car:

Drive-in movie with push start car
Drive-in movie with push start car

The problem with modern cars having push start functionality is that when you push it to turn on the radio, the car’s other functions like headlights, internal lights and even engine can turn on.

This can cause disturbance to others trying to enjoy the movie.

So to deal with this issue, there are two things that you can do.

The first one is to learn to only start and keep the radio on at drive-in with the push button. This video can help you learn to do just that.

The second way is to keep the car turned off and bring a portable FM radio. You can connect this rechargeable or battery-powered radio with the theatre’s broadcasting frequency and enjoy movie without turning your car on.

You can also use your mobile’s internal radio using the TuneIn Radio app and connect with a Bluetooth speaker to enjoy the movie.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will my car battery die during a drive-in movie?

The answer to this depends on the condition of your car. If the battery is already in bad condition and taking its last breaths, it can die out.

However, if it’s in perfect condition, chances are; it won’t! You can, however, turn the car on for a minute or two at every interval to ensure the battery gets charged.

How long will a car battery last with just the radio on?

If you just keep the radio of the car turned on, a standard radio that comes embedded in the car can last from 10 to 15 hours or more on the car battery if it’s in good condition.

How long can a car sit before its battery dies?

Different cars have different battery lives and it also depends on how healthy your battery is at the time of turning it off for some time.

As per BMW, the battery can stay fine for up to four weeks without the need to remove it from the car. For other brands, this can be a little less or a little more.

What do you do with a car battery when not in use?

You can disconnect the battery and properly store it someplace safe. You can find out more about this on Google.

And if you want to leave the battery in the car but not use it, then just run the car for at least 20 to 30 minutes after every week to ensure the battery gets powered up and not lose its charge.

How do I bring back my car’s battery to life?

There are several ways to doing so and you can find a good video tutorial on YouTube for the kind of battery you have. However, here’s a video guide for the most common lead-acid batteries that you can watch and follow to rejuvenate your dead battery.


You now know how to watch a drive-in movie without draining the car battery and keep the radio on at drive-in. So now you need to just follow everything we’ve said about using your car’s radio or getting a portable one and having a great night with your friends or someone special.

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Last update on 2024-05-23 at 23:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API