Top Signs of a Bad Car Battery – Things You Should Know

The battery is one of the most crucial parts of a car. It supplies electrical current to the vehicle to feed the starter, which then starts the engine. No matter how well you maintain your car, it’s inevitable for the car battery to wear out in a few years. However, you can’t simply wait for…

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Top Signs of a Bad Car Battery – Things You Should Know ©Top Signs of a Bad Car Battery – Things You Should Know

The battery is one of the most crucial parts of a car. It supplies electrical current to the vehicle to feed the starter, which then starts the engine. No matter how well you maintain your car, it’s inevitable for the car battery to wear out in a few years.

However, you can’t simply wait for your battery to die out completely, to replace it. Doing so can put you at great risk. For example, imagine yourself getting stranded with your car battery dead, in an unfamiliar road with no mechanics around. Fortunately, batteries die slowly and always show some symptoms when they are about to fail. We have listed some of the obvious signs of a failing car battery.

In this article, we provide a lot of information related to signs of a bad car battery. If you are new to car battery, we suggest you read from the beginning to the end but if you already have some knowledge, feel free to use the below navigation menu.

Symptoms of a Bad Car Battery

Slow Start

When the battery starts to fail, it takes longer to create an electrical current for the starter and the engine will need an extra few seconds to turn over.

Dim Headlights and Electrical issues

If the car battery can’t supply a sufficient amount of power to the electrical components in your car, including the headlights, and your headlights are less bright than usual, then it may indicate that your car battery is on the skids.

Clicking Sound While Turning the Key

When the key in the ignition is turned, the battery delivers an electrical current to the starter, to turn the motor on. A dying battery will cease to perform this function normally, delivering a weaker and less effective current. When the starter receives an insufficient power, it will make some clicking noise.

Slow Cranking

If you notice your engine cranking more sluggishly or slowly than it normally does, when it’s on then it means the capacity of your battery is declining.

Corroded Connectors

Always check for corrosion. If the terminals or the metal connectors mounted on the top of the battery are corroded, it causes voltage fluctuations and trouble in getting your car started. Replace the battery immediately.

Bad Odor

A distorted battery or an internal defect can cause the battery to leak. If there is a pungent odor or it smells like rotten eggs when you open your car hood, a leaking battery could be the reason. Take your battery to the mechanic to get it checked as soon as possible.

Backfiring

A declining car battery can induce sporadic sparks that can cause the fuel to accumulate in the cylinders. When this fuel is ignited, it ignites with increased force, leading the car to backfire. Backfiring can also occur due to other issues, so if your car shows this sign, better get your battery tested.

Old Battery

Generally, car batteries can last 3 to 5 years in ideal circumstances. However, driving habits, electronic demands, and climate play a crucial role in the lifetime of car batteries. If the battery has already lived past its life expectancy then you should be prepared to replace it as soon as it shows some of the basic signs. For caution we recommend you to get your battery tested once it crosses its 3-year mark. It can be tested in a car repair shop or you can get a car battery tester of your own.

DIY Car Battery Installation

You can always get a professional to install your car battery, but why bear the expenses on something that you can do by yourself. If you are doing this for the first time, you must know how to replace a car battery. To help you, we have provided step-by-step guidelines for changing a car battery.

Step 1: Locate the battery in your car. If you can’t find it, check the user manual of your vehicle. Make sure the engine is turned off.

Step 2: Determine the negative and positive posts and the respective wires attached to each. The red one may be positive and black is negative. A “+” may be engraved beside the positive post.

Step 3: Loosen the bolt and nuts that connect the cables with the terminals, using a wrench.

Step 4: Use a battery terminal puller to detach the cables from both the terminals.

Step 5: Abstract the battery hold-down clamp with a socket and ratchet or a combination wrench.

Step 6: Grab the battery from the bottom using both hands or hold its handles, if any, to remove the battery from its tray.

Step 7: Clean off the corrosion left behind on the hold-down clamp and tray with a battery cleaning compound or a solution of baking soda and water.

Step 8: Clean the cable connectors with a wire brush. Use a battery cleaning solution if the corrosion is too heavy.

Step 9: Carefully place the battery on the tray and position it so that each terminal matches the location of their respective cables. Then secure it with the clamp.

Step 10: Spray anti-corrosion solution on both the terminals. Attach the cables to their respective terminals and tighten them. 

Step 11: Make sure the cable connections are secured. Also, try to wiggle the battery to check its security. If it moves, tighten the clamp. Finally, you are done!

FAQs about Car Batteries

Q. What makes a battery die too soon?

A. If your car is not driven for a long period it puts the battery at risk of dying quickly. Also, taking only short trips may not allow the battery to charge properly. Keeping the electronic components on for a long time can also be a reason.

Q. Do I need to charge a new car battery?

A. No. However, if your battery is old and while testing it shows less than 12V then your car battery may need charging. You can recharge it with a dedicated car battery charger.

Q. Where can I find a good car battery replacement near me, if I reside in the US?

A. You can either get a car replacement battery from your local car battery dealer or you can purchase it from online stores like Amazon. If you purchase online, you may even get a decent discount.

Q. How often do I need to replace my car battery?

A. Depending on your existing battery brand, usage, and maintenance, the average interval for replacing a car battery is 3 to 5 years.

Conclusion

You may not consider a failing car battery to be a serious safety issue, but it surely will when your battery is completely dead. So never ignore the signs, and replace your battery as soon as you notice any of the symptoms.

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