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When Do I Need to Replace My Battery? 8 Important Signs

When Do I Need to Replace My Battery

If you've ever asked yourself, “when do I need to replace my battery,” look for these 8 sites:

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  1. The engine can't start too fast
  2. The headlights are dim
  3. The battery has a weird rotten egg odor
  4. The engine cannot start after cranking
  5. You jumpstarted your car multiple times
  6. The battery doesn't look good
  7. The battery reached the end of its lifetime
  8. The battery terminals are corroded

Have you ever been in a situation where you try to crack your engine in the early cold morning, but your vehicle does not respond? Did you then try opening the hood and looking for any signs of problems? Everything looks perfect except the battery! The battery smells very bad, and it doesn't look the way it used to be when you first purchased it! You realize that you should have replaced the battery a long time ago!

Unfortunately, this situation is very common. Many of our readers reach out to us wondering when the best time is to replace the car battery and whether they should wait till what’s specified in the vehicle owner’s manual or watch for any symptoms.

You can look for several symptoms to confirm whether your battery needs replacement or not. The good news is that these symptoms are very common, and automotive experts always summarize them and list of eight important symptoms.

This article provides you with all you need to know to help you answer the question, “when do I need to replace my battery?” Once you realize that if these signs or symptoms, you got to consult your mechanic to fix the problem immediately.

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When do I need to replace my battery?

Your vehicle's battery is a core component in your car, and if it's not working properly, you'll deal with all sorts of hassles that you don't want to deal with.

The battery is responsible for providing an initial charge to your engine to get to your vehicle going here. So yes, you can rely on and tell start to skip the battery job, but that should not be a permanent solution because it can significantly damage sensitive electric components in your car. Therefore, no matter what you try coming, you got to fix the bad problem to avoid further complications that will cost you lots of money.

Let's walk through the eight most common signs to help you answer the question, “when should I replace my battery?”

1.    The engine can't start too fast

One of the first and most common signs indicating that you will need to replace your battery is when the engine can't start fast. The slow engine starts indicating that the engine doesn't receive the right amount of electric current to get started.

The engine doesn't need a small electric charge to get started. If the battery doesn't hold the charge or has just a minimal amount of charge, it won't be able to start the engine, and even if it tried, the engine would take time until it starts.

Slow engine starts are not always linked to the battery. Therefore, when you realize these problems, you need to replace the battery immediately. Consult your mechanic and look for other problems because it could be an issue with the engine.

2.    The headlights are dim

Check your battery here when you notice that the headlights are not as bright as they used to be. When the battery doesn't have enough charge, it might not provide full capacity for the headlights to operate.

Sometimes you might not even notice it as dimmer headlights, it could be in the form of flickering headlights, which means the battery has some charge, but it keeps losing it and might not be able to support the headlights all the time fully.

Again, dimmer headlights could be a problem with the headlights themselves or an issue with the glass or plastic case around the headlights. Check your battery and try jumpstarting your car to notice whether things are getting better or not. Otherwise, it could be that you need To replace the battery soon.

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3.    The battery has a weird rotten egg odor

One of the very accurate symptoms indicating that you are dealing with a bad battery is when you notice a weird smell like a rotten egg. This smell typically comes from the battery because of the phosphorus chemicals inside the battery. What happens here is that some of these chemicals are leaking outside the battery and causing this weird strong rotten egg smell.

If you've started dealing with these severe sometimes, you cannot touch the battery because all these chemicals could be very toxic. So, if you have you don't have the right experience, you might get yourself a safety situation that could impact her life.

Also, ignoring the smell is not a good idea because it will prevent your vehicle's functionality and impact your health. After all, inhaling these smells might lead to health issues, especially if you have respiratory problems.

4.    The engine cannot start after cranking

Have you ever tried cranking your engine and noticing that it cranks but doesn't start? This could be a problem with the battery. If you like to test that, try jumpstarting your car and see if it helps or if your engine gets going. If that worked, this is a problem with the battery.

On the other hand, if the jumpstart did not help you, it could be a problem with another component or a combination of problems, including battery issues.

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5.    You jumpstarted your car multiple times

Many of us take a shortcut and jumpstart our vehicles whenever it has a battery issue. However, if you realize that you need this multiple times in a row, this is a strong sign that your battery is not functioning anymore, and you got to change it.

Therefore, as we mentioned before, you mustn't rely on jumpstarts as a permanent solution. In addition, jumping your car multiple times can easily damage the electric components, especially if you're driving a more modern car with lots of elliptic elements that rely on the battery.

6.    The battery doesn't look good

Another good investigation you can do is to perform a visual inspection. For example, if you notice that the battery shape is not good, you need to list it. The first thing that could happen with a very bad battery is misshapen or when it becomes different than what you first bought it.

This is a very critical situation, and it's a clear sign that you have to replace the battery no matter what. Ignoring this misshapen issue in your battery is never a good idea because it could easily get stuck in nowhere without any help to start your car.

If you compare the prices for just replacing the battery versus the towing service when you're stuck, it is a big difference, and you'd better think twice before ignoring battery problems.

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7.    The battery reached the end of its lifetime

If you did not notice any of the mentioned symptoms, it is important to look at the battery expiration dates. Yes! Batteries have expiration dates. Typically, the battery lasts between three to four years, if not six years, in some instances.

If you were getting close to three or four years, this is a strong indication that you have to replace the battery even if it's not having any problems. Sometimes the problems might be minor, or you will not have the right experience to notice them. Therefore, to avoid getting stuck in unpleasant situations, replace the battery as it gets close to the end of its lifetime.

You can even check with your mechanic and let him know that you bought the battery three or more years ago and does he recommends replacing it or not. The mechanic should have a good understanding of what exactly to do as a next step.

8.    The battery terminals are corroded

Finally, when the battery is older, you notice some corrosion building up on the battery terminals and the battery connections. While you can use certain tools to clean these connections and remove the corrosion, it might get to a point where we have to replace the battery.

Keep in mind that you are not recommended to clean up your own unless you have the right experience. This is a very dangerous situation because there are chances of electric shocks.

Therefore, check for how exactly it's done before going ahead and cleaning it up. If you notice cracks or breakage in the terminals and connections, do not attempt to clean it up because this won't work and will cause additional layers of hazards.

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How to extend the lifetime of my vehicle’s battery?

If you are very frustrated about battery problems, some recommendations help you extend the battery's lifetime and prevent these sudden issues that could throw a wrench in your day.

Let's take a closer look at what one of the experts recommends:

  • Prevent shorter trips and plan to combine trips
  • Ensure that the battery is tightly connected and there are no loose connections
  • Don't forget to turn off the lights and any other electrical components as you get off your vehicle
  • Prevent idling and if it's needed, try turning off unnecessary other components
  • Consider regular maintenance and check on your battery between now and then
  • Perform corrosion cleanups around the terminals and the connections if you have the right experience

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How much does it cost to replace a car battery?

The good news is that replacing a car battery is not a big deal, and it's not a very expensive repair compared to other types of problems you might run through. Typically, the car battery should cost you somewhere between $45 and $250.

Of course, if you have the right experience to replace your battery, you can eliminate labor costs. However, we still recommend you get the battery placed at an independent shop so you don't introduce mistakes or damages because of the lack of experience. On the other hand, labor cost is not a huge component in battery placement, so it's worth getting it at a professional location.

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Final thoughts

Battery problems are very common, and they're more common in winter than in other seasons, but they're not free of problems during the summer. So, understanding what signs indicates a need for better placement is extremely important for every driver.

This article provided you with a detailed summary of the most common symptoms to help you answer the question, “when do I need to replace my battery?” Whenever you notice these symptoms, it is essential to take the issue seriously and consult your mechanic to avoid costly towing and other repair costs.

Although it's always important to replace the battery whenever it goes bad, sometimes, if your car has other major mechanical problems, it's better to evaluate whether you should sell your vehicle or fix it. Of course, if you got to a point where repair costs are close to the vehicle's value, you'd rather sell it.

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