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Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying – How Do You Know If It’s Battery Or Alternator?

Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying

The flickering car interior lights, the white substance around your car battery terminals… what’s happening to your car? You may need a new car battery. So, what are the signs that your car battery is dying? We have the information you need to know now! 

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The Importance Of A Car Battery

An automotive battery or a car battery is a component in a car that is rechargeable, used to start your vehicle. The job of the vehicle battery is to power the car with sufficient electric current to motor, that is powered by electricity. This in turn, begins the chemically-powered engine that will propel the vehicle once the driver gets in the car and starts it. As the engine runs, the car’s electrical systems are continuously supplied by the battery. And as the alternator charges, the demand for power form the battery increases or decreases. 

Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying

When it’s time to replace your car battery, your car will let you know. So, what are the signs? 

You have a slow starting engine 

As time goes on, the components inside your battery will eventually become far less effective and simply wear out. Once you experience this, your battery will work harder and take longer to create a charge that can power your car to move. And when this begins to happen, you will have a to wait a bit longer for a charge to be created for your car starter.  There’s nothing worse than waiting for your engine to turn over; but it is one of the symptoms of a battery that needs to be replaced. With that slow start, you know it’s time to get a new battery. 


Electrical problems & dim lights 

It’s important to know that your battery provides power to all of the electrical components of your vehicle. From your car radio, to your lights and the computer on your dashboard, your battery powers those items. So, once your car battery begins to lose its charge your battery will have a more difficult time running these electrical components at full power. And once you begin to plug in other electrical items into your car- a phone charger for example- your battery will be on a fast pace to death. 


Bad smells 

Another indicator that your car battery is dying are the smells that emit from your car. You may experience smells such as a “sulfur-rotten-egg” kind of smell, from your hood.  If there is damage to the battery or you have some sort of internal short your car battery may be leaking gas.   


Your “check engine light” comes on 

For most of us, when we see that dreaded “check engine light” come on, it’s usually accompanied by an eye roll and a bit of worry. While the “check engine light” can mean just about and all problems, there may be in issue with your battery that causes it to come on.  If your battery has run out of power, that dreaded “check engine light” may just light up on the dashboard.  You may opt to read your battery manual and take it to a trusted mechanic. 

Corrosion around your battery terminals 

What’s that ashy and powdery substance around your car battery terminals? That’s’ corrosion- another telltale sign that your current battery is dying. Your terminals are the negative and the positive metal connections located at the top of your battery.  Corrosion can lead to voltage problems and you having issues starting your car.  

A disformed battery case

Does your battery case look “swollen”? Has your car battery lots its original shape? It may be time to get another one. Driving with a car battery that doesn’t properly fit in its console can cause lots issues. But how did that car battery get “swollen” or disfigured in the first place? Extreme temperatures outside can affect your battery shape. 

Your battery is just old 

If you’ve had your car for a bit now and you can’t remember the last time you changed your battery- and you’re experiencing some issues, then it may be time for a new battery.  

How Long does a battery last? 

Generally, a car battery can last between 3-5 years, give or take the model and specs. So, if you have had your battery longer than that timeframe and you are having some issues, then it may be time to get a new battery. 

How Do You Know If It’s Battery Or Alternator?

How do you know if you have a bad battery or bad alternator? Check out the signs below. 

Your battery is the problem 

Whenever you are having any power problem with your vehicle, you should examine your battery. The reason?  When comparing the battery to the alternator, the life expectancy of the car battery is only 3-5 years, compared to an alternator, which is a bit longer.  So, you may want to begin with a car jump-start. And after your jump-start you have a running vehicle, then you need to replace your car battery. Another sign that you have a bad battery compared to a bad alternator is if you look on your dashboard and see an illumination from the battery light while driving. 

Your alternator is the problem 

A simple way to see if your car alternator is working is to run your vehicle. Then be sure to carefully disconnect the positive terminal of the battery. If your car stops, then you may need to replace your alternator. You may also want to take a look at your dashboard and interior lights. If you see your lights begin to illuminate as bright and then they slowly dim, then you need to replace that bad alternator.  In addition to dim lights, a bad alternator will begin to show symptoms of weird sounds once you turn on your car stereo. 


What if I try to run and drive my car, even though I am experiencing issues? 

A bad alternator will eventually lead to a bad battery if there are no repairs. How does this happen? When your battery starts the vehicle, the alternator then takes the job over of charging as the car is running. And when you have a bad alternator, the battery will try to compensate for the power that the alternator should have been using. Your car battery is not designed to supply power for long periods of time. 


What Do I Look For When Buying a Car Battery? 

So, now, it’s time to buy a new battery. What do you look for? Where do you begin? Check out our checklist and purchase the best battery for your vehicle! 

Battery Size 

When you begin to look for a new car battery, it’s important to note that car batteries are sold by group sizes. This includes length, width and the height of the battery. Be sure to read your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic what size you need and then do some comparison shopping within the size of battery you have to buy.  You want to buy the right size car battery, ensuring proper charge and power.  

The Freshness of Your Battery 

While shopping for a battery, you want to buy the freshest battery there is. How do you know how fresh a car battery is? Battery freshness is shown by a code on the battery. The code is a formula of both a number and a letter. The letter stands for the month and the number stands for the year. B/4 stands for February 2014. A good rule of thumb about battery freshness: never buy a battery that is older than six months from the date of manufacture.

Check Reserve Capacity 

Reserve Capacity is the amount of time that the battery can run on its own power without the engine and just before the discharge. With a high Reserve Capacity your car can endure tough situations- a alternator failure- is an example. 


When buying a battery, you want to make sure that you check the warranty on your battery. You want to check to see if you have a long warranty and even free replacement.  

The position and the type of terminals 

When buying a battery, you want to check the position and the kind of terminals the battery has. The position of the positive terminal will directly affect the polarity of the car. 

Looking to Sell a Car Giving you Constant Battery Trouble? 

Do you have a car to sell that has battery issues as well as other issues? Sell that car to Cash Cars Buyer! We purchase all makes and models for fair market value! 

  1. You can get a FREE online offer on your car 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
  2. We also offer FREE junk car removal for that car with the bad battery! 
  3. No need to bring your car to us! We bring our offices to you! 
  4. We have over a decade of junk car buying experience- we’re also licensed, bonded and insured! 
  5. No need for scams or schemes. We make offers that are fair, solid and attractive to junk car sellers! 
  6. We also recycle with local as well as regional recycling centers. 

So, get rid of that car with the bad battery and turn that clunker into cool cash FAST! Get started NOW! 


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