There are so many things that are frustrating in life and you can certainly place “dead car battery” toward the top of the list. So, what are the most common car battery dead symptoms and how can you get a working car battery again? We have the information you need!
What Are The Most Common Dead Car Battery Symptoms And Signs?
Check out some of the most common dead car battery symptoms as well as signs to watch for.
Headlights are Dim
Are you finding that your headlights work just at a low beam even when you fully press on the accelerator pedal? Then, this is a good indicator that your car battery is on the way out. As headlights need a fully charged battery to shine their brightest, you are risking your wellbeing driving with headlights that are dim. Why? You won’t be able to see oncoming cars, nor will other drivers be able to see you. You will also experience issues with your vehicle’s air conditioning system as well as radio- with an empty car battery.
Your Car is Slow To Crank
Does your car engine take a long time to start up? Then you may have a battery that’s just flat. While a good battery should last you about five years, an empty can cause your car to slowly crank. Due to that faulty battery, your car will turn slowly (if at all) and it will be a real difficult task to start the battery.
After you have ruled out your starter being the cause, you may turn your focus to your spark plugs. Check to see if they are worn out. One way to eliminate the spark plugs as being the issue is to see if the starter motor cranks at a normal speed. During extreme cold temperatures, you may have issues starting your vehicle – due to a dead battery. You may opt to wait and see if your battery will allow the car to start once it gets warmer- or just purchase a battery that can produce more amps. Your battery may also be dead due to what many mechanics call a “parasitic drain” – something that you need to identify ASAP.
What’s a parasitic drain when it comes to car batteries?
A parasitic drain is an item or component in the car that is on or active in the car, plugged into your car, that is causing your battery to drain of its juice. Are you leaving a mobile device plugged into the car even when you’re not driving? A mobile device plugged in is an example of a parasitic drain.
The “Check Engine Light” is On
As vehicle owners, we all know that the dreaded “check engine light” can illuminate on our dashboards, for a variety of reasons. One common reason is due to a battery that is just about zapped of its power or juice. You can check your vehicle manual for information regarding your check engine light warning. You can also visit a shop to get your battery tested- and check to see if your battery is working at full capacity.
Corroded Battery Connectors/ Cables
When you look at your car battery, do you see a while and dusty or powdery substance on the metals of the battery? This is a sure indicator that you have corrosion on the connectors/cables. Battery terminals – which are both negative and positive- can be found on the top of the battery. Corrosion of these terminals can lead to issues as you start your and even voltage problems.
Your Battery Case is Swollen
Have you noticed that your battery case is swollen or larger than it should be? Then you may have a battery that is on its way out. If your car battery is any shape, other than the rectangular shape it was when you bought it, then this is a sign that your battery is just about gone.
Your Battery is Just Plain Old
Typically, a car battery lasts between three to five years. Depending on climate, driving demands, driving habits and even more, can all affect the life of a battery. As your battery enters into year after year, you may wish to get your battery tested on a regular basis- especially after your car battery hits the three-year mark.
How Do I Know If It's The Battery Or The Alternator?
Let’s check out how to know if you have a dead battery or a bad alternator.
Testing Your Alternator
Your vehicle’s dead battery is the first indicator that something might be wrong with the alternator. If you have a good battery, but your alternator isn’t working, the battery will still lose its juice. So, what are the signs that your alternator has failed?
- You can smell burning hot wires or burning rubber- this is a sign that your alternator is overheating.
- You can hear “growling” noises just before your alternator goes kaput.
- You see that your dash lights or your headlights flicker, get extra bright or extra dim.
- You have gauges that are going “haywire” or just acting as if they are possessed by a ghost or some other force.
- When you go to jump your car, it starts- but the car engine quickly dies just after the jump.
Testing Your Battery
While a car battery should last just about five years, they are not created to last much longer than that. As your battery is not equipped to hold on to a charge for a long time, the alternator steps into assist with recharging the battery. As time moves on, the internal metal components of a car battery will begin to corrode, which then reduces the battery’s ability to hold on to a charge. Since your battery is quite important to your vehicle, you want it in working order at all times, as it is the component that gives power to the electrical system and the starter. Signs that we mentioned beforehand are good indicators that your battery is on the way to death. Additionally,
- You may try to start the car, but hear a low and whining noise.
- Or you may jump start your car and even get it started. But your vehicle will not crank up again, once you turn it off. You can attribute the issue to the battery. In this instance, the alternator is performing its task of keeping the battery going after the vehicle has been jumped; however, the battery will not hold a charge once the alternator is shut off.
Can You Fix A Dead Battery?
In a word, yes you can. Check out a few ways that you can revive a dead car battery.
If you own a pair or jumper cables, then you may be able to put some new life into your car battery. With that great pair of jumper cables and another strong battery, you may be able to start your car. Just make sure your engine is on as you attempt to jump your car. An important note here: do not try to jump a frozen battery as the battery could explode! Wait and allow your battery to thaw before attempting to jump it.
For a low electrolyte level, you may be able to add distilled water while submerging the plates, and enabling a little more reaction space.
Epsom salt is great to add to a bath, to soak away the pain of sprains and body aches. But Epsom Salt is also great for reviving a battery. Epsom salt is a much stronger acid that most, and you can combine it into your electrolyte mix. Additionally, it may be enough to tip the chemical balance, and start your engine. Begin with one-part Epsom salt to three parts of water. Then add the mixture to each cell till the plates are saturated by at least 1/2 electrolyte.
If you have a few aspirin in your car or purse, then chances are, you are using them to combat that headache you have from this faulty battery! But those same aspirin can also help revive your vehicle battery too! Yes indeed- you can certainly use your aspirin- which is acetylsalicylic acid that will alter your electrolyte mix. Take about 12 aspirin tablets, crush them and place them into about six ounces of warm water. Then add equal parts to each battery cell. Then take your water and add more so that your plates are thoroughly covered.
OK- What Do I Look For When Buying A New Car Battery?
Alright. You have a dead battery and need to buy a new one. Check out some tips below that will help you ensure you get the best battery for your vehicle.
First of all, you want to make sure that you buy the correct battery size for your car. Car batteries are divided into group sizes that are based on width, height and length. You can even find out the size battery your car needs, by just looking in your owner’s manual or taking your car to a mechanic and asking. You want to correct battery size so that your new battery will fit perfectly into your battery tray. That tray will secure the battery and prevent rolling and vibrations, during driving.
Battery Freshness and Reserve Capacity
Not only do you want a fresh battery, but you want one that has a high Reserve Capacity. The Reserve Capacity in a battery is there to provide assistance with the vehicle through difficult situations. For example, if you accidentally leave your car lights on or you have an engine that noncompliant engine, your Reserve Capacity will be there to assist.
At the end of the day, you want your new battery to have some sort of warranty. Ask your car battery retailer what kind of warranty your car battery comes with. Before buying that new battery, you want to look at warranties and choose a vehicle battery that offers a long period of free battery replacement.
Additional Help And Resources Related To Car Battery Dead Symptoms
Check out our related content that you may find helpful! Click each title of our articles to read more!
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