It happens to the best of us. You go to start your car and… nothing. You may be thinking, “Do I have enough gas, or did I forget to turn on my headlights?”

But more likely than not, it’s your car battery that’s dead or dying. There are few things more frustrating than being stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery. You have to deal with the hassle of getting a jump start or calling a tow truck.

Knowing the warning signs of a dying or dead vehicle battery can help you avoid this fate. So how can you tell if your car’s battery is on its last legs? Here are seven signs to watch out for.

1. Dim Headlights

One of the first signs that your car battery is dying is dim headlights. When you turn on your headlights, they should be bright and clear. If they’re dull and yellow, it’s a sign that your battery isn’t providing enough power.

The electrical current from a dying battery can’t provide enough power to create bright headlights. Instead, the dying battery produces dim lighting that isn’t as effective at illuminating the road ahead.

If you notice your headlights are looking a little lackluster, it’s time to get your battery tested.

2. Slow Engine Crank

When you turn the key in the ignition, your engine should start up right away. If it takes longer than usual for your engine to start, it’s a sign that your battery is dying. A healthy battery will provide enough power to start your engine quickly.

On the other hand, a dying car battery will take longer to crank the engine due to its weakened state. A slow engine start could be due to a problem with your alternator or starter. But if these are working fine, your battery is likely the issue.

You’re likely to notice this sign if your battery is old. Vehicle batteries have an average lifespan of three to six years. So if yours is getting up there in age and your engine is taking longer to start up, you should schedule a battery check.

3. A Clicking Sound After Ignition

If you hear a clicking noise after turning the ignition key, it means your starter motor is trying to draw power from a dying battery. The clicking sound is caused by the electrical current from the battery struggling to reach the starter motor.

This can happen if your battery is old or if you have a poorly charged battery. Have your battery tested right away if you hear a clicking noise after turning the key.

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4. The Check Engine Light Comes On

Many modern cars have a warning light when the battery is dying. This light looks like a battery with an exclamation point in the middle. The check engine light indicates that something is wrong with your vehicle.

And while it could be due to various issues, a dying car battery is one possibility. When your battery is dying, it can’t provide enough power to run all the systems in your car. This can trigger the check engine light to come on.

If you see this light, it’s time to get your battery checked out. Ignoring the warning light could lead to your battery dying entirely and leaving you stranded.

5. Unusual Battery Fluid Levels

Another sign that your battery is dying is low or no battery fluid levels. Every car battery has six cells that hold a mixture of water and sulfuric acid. These cells produce the electrical current that powers your car.

If the fluid level in these cells gets too low, it can weaken the battery and cause it to die. You can check the battery fluid levels by removing the battery’s plastic cover. If the level is low, you can add distilled water to bring it back up.

However, if the level is empty, it’s a sign that your battery is dying and needs replacement.

6. An Odd Smell

If you notice an odd smell coming from your car, it could mean that your battery is dying. When a battery dies, it produces a strong sulfuric acid smell. This smell is usually strongest near the battery itself.

The odor is usually a sign that the battery is leaking acid, which can damage other parts of the car if left unchecked. Take your vehicle to a mechanic and have them check the battery. They can give you a definitive answer on whether you need to replace the battery.

If you notice this smell, it’s essential to get away from the car and open up all the windows. The fumes from the battery can be harmful if inhaled. Once you’re away from the vehicle, call a tow truck to take it to a mechanic.

7. Corroded Battery Terminals

Another sign of a dying battery is corrosion on the battery terminals. The terminals are the metal posts on the top of the battery that connect the cables.

Over time, the acid in the battery can eat away at the terminals and cause them to corrode. This corrosion can prevent the electrical current from flowing and prevent your car from starting.

If you notice any corrosion on your battery terminals, you should clean them with a baking soda and water solution. You can also use a wire brush to remove any buildup.

Avoid the Hassles of a Dead Car Battery

These are seven telltale signs of a dying or dead car battery. If you notice any of these signs, it’s vital to take your car to a mechanic right away. Ignoring these signs could lead to your battery dying completely and leaving you stranded.

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