Signs of a Bad Car Battery It has happened to almost everyone. You are attempting to go somewhere and your vehicle suddenly will not start due to a bad car battery. While it seems like it came out of nowhere, you may have simply missed the signs.
According to the experts, the average life span of a car battery is 3 years. However, there are certain factors that can make your car’s battery fail before its life expectancy is over. Many people associate dead batteries with cold weather, but actually, it is heat that will kill a battery more rapidly.
The heat will cause the chemicals inside the battery to evaporate at a higher rate, causing a significant decrease in power. Then on a day freezing temperatures arrive, the extra energy needed is not available.
Battery draining can also come from other sources- battery terminals that are dirty and alternators that are not functioning correctly can cause the battery to not be at its peak. Cleaning your vehicle battery and terminals should be considered regular car maintenance and can keep you from getting a bad car battery.
There are many easy-to-miss signs that your vehicle’s battery might be beginning to struggle. The symptoms can be small, but if you are alert, you can save yourself the headaches that come with a failing battery.
One clear sign that your vehicle is having an issue may just be the infamous “check engine light.” If this light comes on you likely have a reason for concern. That concern may be a bad car battery. You definitely want to take this notification seriously and get your car inspected.
If your headlights seem a bit dimmer than usual, this is often the first sign of a battery issue. The headlights and interior lighting may only slightly dim at first. Because the problem is progressive, it can be almost imperceptible changes, but if you notice it get your battery checked right away.
It may not be just the lights that are affected by the battery. You may start to see issues arise with other electrical systems– your radio and window controls, for example, may just stop functioning or are not functioning normally.
For those with key-start vehicles, the sound of clicking when you turn the key can also be an indicator that your battery is starting to dwindle. This is also true of a vehicle that cranks up slowly. These are serious problems and your vehicle should be looked at quickly.
In addition, you should never need to press down your gas pedal when you start your car. If the car will not turn over without gas, it is another good indicator that something is wrong.
A battery that is on its way out may cause your vehicle to make the unmistakable sound of a backfire. Backfire can come along with power loss, so this sign definitely warrants an inspection.
One reason backfiring can occur is due to intermittent sparking by a bad car battery. There can be other causes as well, such as a cracked distributor cap and engine timing. Any time a car unexpectedly backfires, it is a cause for concern.
How often do you look under the hood? You should on a regular basis to get to know what is normal for your vehicle. An odd sulfur-like smell (think rotten eggs) can mean you have got a leaking battery.
This will also help you to notice any changes in your battery casing. An odd-shaped or deformed casing is a good indicator that your battery needs attention.
Using jumper cables to give your car a boost is just a temporary fix. The problem can progress to the point where jumper cables will no longer work, and a special battery booster will be required. Or even worse– a tow truck.
A mechanic can run diagnostics to help determine the cause of your battery weakness and they can determine if it needs replacing right away.
Replacing a bad car battery is a part of standard vehicle care and is not a difficult fix, especially if you take care of it before it becomes problematic. Taking care of the issue right away can help keep you from being stranded.