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How Do I Know If My Car’s Battery Is Defective?

How Do I Know If My Car’s Battery Is Defective?

If you're wondering, “how do I know if my car's battery is defective?” Check for one of the following symptoms of a bad car battery:

1-    Signs of wear and tear

2-    Difficulty starting

3-    Engine cranking but vehicle not starting

4-    Headlights working but vehicle not starting

5-    Frequent jump starts

6-    Corroded terminals and cables

Your vehicle's battery is one of the most critical components that you need to maintain all the time. Aside from learning how your battery works, you also need to know when the battery is not performing properly. By doing so, you can detect early signs of defective batteries to prevent situations where your vehicle does not start in locations where there is no help.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

The good news is that your vehicle is smart enough to show you some symptoms and grab your attention about issues with the battery. By learning about the common symptoms, you help yourself be prepared and prevent surprises with measure mechanical problems.

Most experts indicated that detecting early signs of internal failures in your vehicle helped resolve the problem without investing a lot in major parts replacements. This also applies to your vehicle’s battery. In other words, if you can detect early signs of defective car battery, you help yourself find easier and cheaper solutions to protect the battery and fix it if possible.

This article helps you answer the question of “how do I know if my car's battery is defective?” It highlights all possible symptoms of a bad battery. It also provides you with a rough estimate of how much it will cost you to replace the defective battery.

What is my car's battery, and what does it do?

Although your car's battery looks like a very small component, it plays a major role in getting your vehicle going. The battery relies on internal chemical reactions to convert this chemical reaction into electrical energy responsible for starting your car.

Many people think that the car's battery is responsible for maintaining electric charge to power and electric components in the vehicle. However, that's not the case because the alternator's job is to keep the electric components working. On the other hand, the battery is just responsible for providing the initial large amount of electrical current to get your engine to start.

Note that when the car's battery doesn't work, your vehicle won't start. However, if you perform a quick jump start and skip the batteries job, you can get the car to go. However, when the alternator doesn't work, your car will still start. Still, you won't get any advantage from many of the electric components, and at some point, your battery won't lose its charge when it tries to support the electric components that are not designed for.

Thoughts, your car's battery needs to be maintained in good shape they prevent undesirable situations with vehicles not starting, especially on cold winter days.

How do I know if my car's battery is defective?

Unfortunately, the battery is not designed to last forever, and at some point, you will deal with some symptoms indicating that the battery is not working properly. Thus, as a driver, you need to answer yourself the question of “how do I know if my car's battery is defective?” And to answer this question, you want to look for one of the following symptoms of a bad battery:

1-    Signs of wear and tear

When the battery is defective, the first thing you'll notice is some wear and tear all around the battery box itself. This is common in older batteries that are approaching about three to five years old. Typically, the battery will be marked with a date indicating when it will be defective or when it will get damaged.

Familiarize yourself with the States, and do not wait till the last minute before inspecting and replacing the battery. When the battery breaks down, it does not give you heads on, and therefore, it is your responsibility to prefer certain seasons that might involve problems with batteries, like harsh winter. The last thing you want to be involved in is disturbing or morning while we were trying to get the kids to school or preparing for an important meeting because the battery does not work.

Thus, make it a habit to inspect the battery ahead of time and replace it before winter starts to prevent surprises what's difficult.

2-    Difficulty starting

Whether your battery is old or not, the first and most common sign indicating a defective car battery is difficulty starting. As we indicated earlier, your battery is responsible for providing the large initial voltage to get the vehicle going. So imagine if the battery does not work, what will happen?

Your engine will not receive that amount of energy, so it will not start at all. Keep in mind that it might be an issue related to a long list of defective components when the engine does not start. Therefore, one quick way to confirm it's the battery is by performing a jumpstart.

The jumpstart skips the battery's drop and provides the large voltage to get the engine going without needing the battery. If the jumpstart worked, it indicated that the problem is with the battery. However, if it did not work, it indicates that it could be a problem with another component or a combination of faulty components in your vehicle. In that case, you must consult your mechanic for further assistance.

3-    Engine cranking but vehicle not starting

Also, you might notice that the engine is trying hard to get started, but because it's not receiving the electric current, it doesn't start the vehicle. Therefore, monitoring and listening for any clicking noises or noise show that the engine is trying to crank, but the vehicle does not start. Again, this is a very clear indication that the problem is most likely related to a defective car battery.

Again, confirm the issue by performing the jump start. Keep in mind that experts do not recommend relying on the jumpstart as a permanent solution because if you're driving a modern vehicle, the jumpstart might damage some of these sensitive electric components that might cost you a lot of money.

4-    Headlights working but vehicle not starting

Like the previous point, your electric components might work, but the vehicle will not start if the battery doesn't have the right amount of charge or is effective. This is because the battery might have a small amount of charge to get these electric components started. Still, it will deplete immediately once the engine tries to pull huge additional current to get started.

A good way to check is to monitor the behavior of the headlights, for example, and see if they work, but the engine does not work. If that's the case, look at the battery and have someone helps you to get jump-started to confirm the issue.

5-    Frequent jump starts

As you might notice already, when the battery does not work, you'll notice that your vehicle's only option to get started is to rely on frequent jumpstarts. However, as we indicated, it is not a good idea to only use jump starts every time you start your vehicle. This could damage sensitive components, and it's not a reliable solution that you should rely on.

6-    Corroded terminals and cables

Sometimes the battery itself might not be defective, but the issue could be related to the cables or the terminals. For example, it's not rare to deal with rusted or corroded battery terminals because of use over time. Take a closer look at these terminals and see if you notice any signs of rust or corrosion.

Follow the safe procedure on cleaning these terminals and cables to prevent risks of electric shocks. If the battery and the vehicle got started after cleaning the terminals, then you're good to go up. However, if this would not help, then there might be an issue with the battery's internal box that requires an expert's action.

How much does it cost to replace a defective car battery?

Typically, battery replacement costs range from $309 to $319. It involves labor costs between $36 and $46, and the part itself might cost you about $273.

Keep in mind that before you attempt to replace your car's battery, take a closer look and inspect it properly. Sometimes, your battery issue might be linked to a loose battery cable or a corroded terminal. Therefore, try to inspect the terminals and clean any signs of rust and check whether this helps the battery. However, if there are some signs of terminals breakage or cables damages, it's important to stay safe and never attempt to clean it up because there might be a chance for the electric shock that could put your life at risk.

How to deal with a defective car battery?

While it's important to ask yourself, “how do I know if my car's battery is defective?” It is as important to learn how to deal with a defective car battery because this can be extremely important in the winter season or areas with no health nearby.

When your car's battery is defective, you have a couple of options:

  • If the problem is related to corroded and rusted battery terminals and cables, you can go ahead and clean them up by following the safety protocols.
  • On the other hand, if the problem is related to a loose battery cable, you can tighten it and check if it helps the battery get your vehicle started.
  • Finally, if you are dealing with a battery approaching the end of its lifetime, your only option would be to replace the car's battery. As we indicated earlier, relying on jump-starting the vehicle is not a reliable option, and it could cause damage is soon.

Of course, if you're not comfortable enough to perform the battery terminals clean-up or replace the battery, you should consult an expert mechanic who can do the job properly without introducing any damages. Some people prefer to visit smaller repair shops because labor cost is cheaper. In contrast, others still choose to go to the dealerships because they ensure that dealership mechanics have the right experience level and do not introduce any damages by mistakes.


Since the battery is responsible for providing the initial electric current to get your vehicle started, good drivers should ask themselves, “how do I know if my car's battery is defective?”

By understanding and learning about the common bad car battery symptoms, you are getting ahead of the game and preparing yourself for undesirable situations that could get you stuck without any help if your vehicle doesn't start.

Typically, an effective car battery well either shows some signs of wear and tear. You'll have difficulty starting. Your vehicle's engine might crank but won't start. You notice some of the electric components, like the headlights, work. Still, the vehicle doesn't start, you will need frequent jumpstarts, and you will notice some heavy rust or corrosion symptoms on the battery terminals and cables.

Although battery replacement cost is not as expensive as engine or transmission replacement, it is worth evaluating the situation before investing. For example, notice that repair costs are piling up, and it's not only the battery but other components that need replacements. Therefore, it might not be worth investing in this vehicle, and instead, you'd better sell your vehicle to Cash Cars Buyer and use the money as a down payment for a better car.

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