If you suspect that your car needs a new battery, here are the 10 potential symptoms to look for:
- The headlights are dimmer
- You hear weird clicking noises
- Your vehicle cranks slowly
- You need to press the gas pedal for your vehicle to get started
- Your battery dies frequently
- You need to use the jumpstart frequently
- Your vehicle does not respond when you turn the key in the ignition switch
- Your battery reached the end of its lifetime
- The battery terminals are corroded
- The battery shape doesn't look normal
Battery problems are the most frustrating ones that end drivers might face. When these problems happen, they don't pick a time. It is typically an inconvenient situation where you rush to an important errand or drop your kids to school.
Understanding what exactly to look for when your battery is about to fail helps you prevent dealing with situations where the battery does not work. In other words, once you know about all the potential symptoms of a bad car battery, you most likely fix it before heading to distant locations and getting to areas where you cannot get help easily.
While there are many symptoms that could indicate a failing car battery, and these symptoms might be confused with symptoms indicating other bad components, there are some unmistaken symptoms that you should look for.
This article provides a detailed summary of the 10 most common symptoms of a bad car battery to help you answer the question, “does your car need a new battery?”
Does your car need a new battery? 10 potential symptoms
Automotive experts put together a list of potential symptoms associated with battery problems. Whenever you see any of these symptoms, you have to take them seriously and consult your mechanic as soon as possible to resolve the issue, so you get your vehicle running and prevent starting problems.
Note that some of the symptoms that will highlight might be related to problems with other components here; therefore, your mechanics need to do a thorough inspection to confirm that the issue is coming from a bad car battery.
A quick check to confirm whether your issue is related to our car battery is by performing a quick jump start. If the vehicle started, it indicates that your issue does not have to do with the other components, and it's most likely a bad car battery. However, there are some caveats about this approach because you might have multiple faulty components that could be bad together.
Let's take a closer look at the 10 symptoms of that car battery:
1. The headlights are dimmer
The first and most common symptom indicating that you are dealing with a car battery is when your headlights are dimmer than before. Take a look at the car from far away and see if you can see enough using the normal headlights. If you realize that the headlights are not as strong as before, you're most likely dealing with a bad car battery unless there is a problem with the headlight itself.
Keep in mind that some vehicles might not have dimmer headlights; it could be a flickering headlight. In other words, the battery might have enough charge to get the headlights started for a little bit, but then it immediately loses its charge. So that is another symptom to look for, and it should encourage you to check the battery immediately.
2. You hear weird clicking noises
Have you ever tried turning the key in the ignition switch, and all you hear is just a clicking noise? That could be a potential symptom of a bad car battery. Check with your mechanic and have him look at the battery. If he confirms that the battery is in good condition, it could be a problem with the starter motor which means a different list of potential solutions.
3. Your vehicle cranks slowly
The car battery is responsible for providing your engine with the initial charge to get started immediately. This charge should be big enough for the engine to crank. However, if you realize that the engine takes time to crank and it's much slower than before, it could be a problem with the battery.
Slowly cranking the engine does not mean that your battery is completely failed. Still, it indicates that your battery is about to fail, which is perfect timing to check out the battery and replace it before dealing with critical situations where you can't start your vehicle.
4. You need to press the gas pedal for your vehicle to get started
Sometimes when you try starting your car, it won't work unless you press on the gas pedal. This means that your vehicle doesn't have the best battery, and the battery cannot generate the electric charge needed to start the motor.
Therefore, check with your mechanic again and see if the issue has to do with the starting system or if it's a problem with a battery that's not holding the charge.
5. Your battery dies frequently
In normal situations, your battery should not die frequently. However, if you wake up every morning and realize that you need to look at the battery because it's not starting, this is a good indication that your battery needs replacement.
6. You need to use the jumpstart frequently
Many of us think that job starting our vehicles might be a strong permanent solution to resolve the issue. However, if you notice that you jump-start your car frequently, this is a strong indication that the battery is not working properly and needs replacement as soon as possible.
Jump starting your car is a good solution to pass the battery, but if you take it as a permanent solution cannot. It leads to major complications in your electric system. This becomes more critical if you're driving a modern car with lots of interacting moving components within the electric system, including those that have to do with your safety.
7. Your vehicle does not respond when you turn the key in the ignition switch
You might try turning the key in the ignition switch in some severe scenarios and notice nothing happening. This situation can be tricky because it might indicate a long list of potential culprits.
However, the battery could be the issue causing this problem. If trying to pick off by this point, you should already know that your battery is about to die because if you got to this point and your vehicle doesn't respond to starting the car, then it means that you missed many of the minor symptoms that could help you prevent the situation from happening in the first place.
8. Your battery reached the end of its lifetime
Every battery has an expiration date; like our food and other products, we buy from the grocery store. The battery should have numbers indicating when it will expire. These numbers might be tricky to understand, but we highly encourage you to read some articles about what each number means because sometimes the number indicates the manufacturer's dates. Sometimes you need to do the math to know when exactly your car will need a new battery.
Therefore, if you're wondering, does your car need a new battery? First, you need to understand that batteries are expected to last three and five years. Therefore, if you're getting closer to the three-year threshold, be prepared to deal with better problems and get ready to install a new battery in your vehicle.
9. The battery terminals are corroded
As the battery gets older, you'll notice some corrosion and rust around the battery terminals and the connections. Some customers are comfortable cleaning this corrosion themselves, while others are recommended to check with mechanics.
Keep in mind that it's not always the case that you can clean up the corrosion because some of these connections and terminals might require replacement which means your only option would be to replace these components. In this case, you recommended leaving it to professionals because there is a very high chance that you will deal with the risks of looser trucks.
10. The battery shape doesn't look normal
Finally, suppose you did a quick visual inspection to your car's battery and realized that the case doesn't look normal. In that case, this indicates that you need a new battery pure. Typically, when the battery gets very old, the case will be deformed because of the expired chemical and solutions inside the car battery.
How much does it cost to install a new battery in my car?
The good thing about dealing with car battery problems is that installing a new battery is not very expensive pure typically, it should cost you somewhere between $45 and $250. However, this price range is nothing when it comes to car repairs, and it's considered cheap.
Keep in mind that installing the battery involves the labor cost, which can be a good component if you decide to go to a dealership versus replacing your battery or going to a small independent shop.
How to extend the lifetime of my vehicle's battery?
As we mentioned before, the battery has an experience in date, and no matter what you do, you deal with battery failures at some point in time. However, some failures might occur prematurely, which means you have a chance to learn about ways to extend the battery's lifetime and prevent failures that could occur prematurely.
If you would like to extend the lifetime of your car's battery, consider the following recommendations:
- Inspect the battery regularly
- Follow your vehicle's owner’s manual in terms of ways to protect your vehicle's battery and prevents its premature damages
- Consider installing an original battery every time you need to replace the car battery because there are chances that the aftermarket batteries might not be the best
- Consider cleaning your vehicle's corroded terminals and connections if they're not broken, and once you know how it's done, exactly
- Replace the battery terminals if they are broken and ensure to tighten the connections
- Never ignore symptoms of a bad car battery and whenever you notice them, replace your battery immediately
Can I drive with a bad car battery?
The battery is not going to prevent you from driving your car. In other words, once your motor is running, the battery will not work anymore. The battery job is only focused on the starting process, and if you don't have a working car battery, you won't be able to start your car in the first place.
However, you can pass the car's battery job using a jump start. Still, as we mentioned earlier, this is never a recommended permanent solution because it damages some of your electric components and might lead to other complications that you don't want to deal with.
Therefore, the short answer is that you won't be able to start your car if it has a bad battery, but it won't prevent you from continuing to drive your car.
Your vehicle is the battery is a core component responsible for starting your vehicle whenever you turn the key in the ignition switch. When the battery fails, you won't simply start your car unless you perform a dump start, which is unhealthy for any vehicle.
That's why automotive experts always recommend learning about all symptoms to help you answer whether your car needs a new battery?
As we mentioned earlier, replacing the battery is not very expensive. Still, if you have other major complications in your car, like those related to the engine or the transmission, that's where you need to be very careful about whether you should replace the battery or not.
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