We rely on our cars to get around and manage most of our daily lives. We live in cities where if we don’t have a functioning vehicle, it can be difficult to live. Our well-being is often tied to the well-being of our automobiles.
With this in mind, it’s important to be able to recognize when our cars might be having an issue. The battery is one of the most vital things to keep an eye and ear out for because without it you won’t be heading anywhere fast. There are many signs of a dying car battery that you can keep a lookout for, to know when things are headed south.
What are the signs of a dying car battery you need to learn to recognize? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
1. The Engine Is Slow to Start
If there’s one sound that nearly every driver knows and recognizes as trouble, it’s the sound of a car engine failing to start. Nothing can make the stomach drop faster than the persistent attempt of an engine starting to turn over and failing.
If you hear that sound and the engine does turn on after a few moments of attempt, it’s usually a moment of relief. However, on top of this relief should be a sense of concern. A healthy vehicle shouldn’t have any trouble turning on.
If you’re having trouble getting your engine to start right away, it could be the sign that your battery is on its last legs. A slugging start could be the result of many potential issues, of course, but at the very least it should be a sign to start looking for the culprit.
If you’ve attempted to turn on the vehicle and it’s done so reluctantly, it’s a good idea to start looking for more signs that the battery might be behind things.
2. Headlights Are Dimming
Your battery supports all the electronic elements of your vehicle. That means everything from your dashboard displays to your headlights. If you’ve noticed that your headlights are dimming in power as you drive, it could be a sign that the juice in your battery is starting to go.
A telltale sign? If the headlights dim while you’re idling but brighten up again when you accelerate. This is an obvious sign that your battery simply isn’t holding a charge like it used to.
They might even flicker slightly as you drive.
There’s a chance this problem could also be linked to your alternator. You’ll need to do some more research to determine the true cause.
3. Dashboard Lights Go Out
Are you trying to look at your dashboard and the lights on the display keep going out? This isn’t just irritating, it should be a reason for concern. It likely means you’re going to need to be on the hunt for a car battery repair sometime shortly.
As we mentioned, the car battery impacts all electrical elements of your vehicle. The dashboard lights are a prime example.
If you notice them flickering as you drive, there might not be all too much time left before the battery is completely dead. If you’re in the middle of a long drive, getting help right away is recommended, as you might otherwise end up stranded.
4. Windows Are Slow Going Up
The last electronic sign you can look for comes from trying to bring your windows up and down. Your windows should be able to slide up and down with ease when your vehicle is operating normally.
If you begin to notice they are moving at a much slower rate, it may be an indication that your battery is running down. Like all other electronic elements of the car, your windows rely on your battery for power.
If you notice sluggishness when using them, pull over and check under the hood as soon as you can.
4. Corrosion on the Battery Body
If you’ve noticed one or more of the above signs, it’s likely been more than enough to trigger a state of concern in you. This means it’s now time to pop the hood and look for more serious clues as to whether or not your battery is about to kick the bucket.
The easiest visual sign of trouble is to look where your battery is connected to the terminals. The terminals are the positive and negative caps on the battery itself.
Bring a bright light and look closely. Is there any sign of blue-tinted powders? Little crystal substances caked onto the metal surface?
If the answer is yes, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. Your battery isn’t just nearing the end of its life, it’s also leaking battery acid. This battery acid can corrode and cause serious issues to other parts of your car.
You’ll want to reach out to the best car battery replacement company in your area as soon as possible to have the problem resolved. Continuing to drive with a battery in this state can only lead to more serious issues.
You can read more info about essential car safety protocols and make sure you’re ready for an emergency such as this one.
5. It Smells Awful Under the Hood
What scent meets your nose when you open the hood to your vehicle? If it smells something like rotten eggs, that’s a very good sign that there’s something rotten with your battery.
This sulfur-based stench is another clue that your battery is actively leaking acid. This acid has a terrible smell that isn’t pleasant to your senses.
If it doesn’t appear to your nose as rotten eggs, it likely will be reminiscent of something like sewer or old well water. Nothing you’ll enjoy smelling, that’s for certain.
Again, this battery acid can be dangerous to you and dangerous to your car. If you’re smelling this stench, you’ll want to seek out some form of car battery repair as soon as possible.
6. Your Battery Is Many Years Old
How long has it been since you replaced your car battery? Many years? These devices, as good as they may be, do not last forever. If you haven’t changed the battery in your vehicle in more than a few years, there’s a chance it’s nearing the end of its life.
The length of the average car battery will be dependent on many factors. Your own driving habits play a big role, but so do the make and model of the vehicle, the climate you live in, and how often you drive.
The average vehicle battery lasts about four years before needing either repair or replacement. If you haven’t changed your battery or even checked on it in that period of time, you might find that you’re getting close to needing a new one.
It can be helpful to get into a habit of checking the health of your car battery every few months. Whenever you change your oil, check on the battery as well. This can help to avoid unfortunate surprises and keep you on top of your vehicle’s overall health.
7. Check Engine Light Turns On
If your check engine light turns on, it isn’t necessarily always indicative of a problem with our engine itself. Sometimes it just means something is wrong under the hood.
A check engine light coming on might indicate that a battery is about to die and your car has become aware of the matter.
This isn’t always what this light coming on means, of course. However, if the light has come on after you’ve noticed one or more of the above symptoms, it’s a good guess that your battery might be the cause.
You’ll always want to bring your vehicle in to the repair shop when this light comes on, so be on the lookout for it on your dashboard when driving.
Major Signs of a Dying Car Battery
If you’re worried about the health of your car, you’ll want to learn how to look out for the signs of trouble. There’s little more threat to your driving experience than a dead battery. This kind of thing can leave you stranded somewhere on the side of the road.
Understanding the major signs of a dying car battery can help you avoid this fate and ensure you’ve only got smooth sailing to look forward to. The above signs all indicate that there might be some trouble under the hood.
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