No one is gifted enough to foretell just how long a car battery’s lifespan will be. Even manufacturers will only give you a very wide service life window, commonly estimated between 3 to 10 years. But if you’re observant enough, there are a few signs that your car’s power storage unit is about to die and you can make preparations before it happens.
It takes longer than usual to start the engine
Starting your car needs power. Naturally, a battery that has some issues might not be able to readily supply the power needed to start the engine right away. As a result, it will take longer before sufficient charge could be mustered to start your car.
Of course, a slow starting engine does not always mean that the culprit is a problematic power cell since it could be caused by other car issues as well. On the other hand, a slow start is also one of the early signs that your energy storage component is about to kick the bucket. Once this happens to your car, don’t just ignore it. Otherwise, you’ll be facing real trouble when your car will no longer start due to a dead battery.
The engine cranks but won’t start
You can view this sign as a more advanced version of the previous one. This time, however, you’ll hear the engine cranking up but it just won’t start no matter how long you’re at it.
The reason for this is the power cell has deteriorated to such a degree that it will no longer supply enough power need for the engine to start. True, there could be other reasons for the situation, but chances are that it’s highly likely the battery’s fault. Perhaps it’s time to bring out your trusty jump starter
kit before heading out to the store to buy a fresh power cell.
The lights are dimmer than usual
If you’re starting to feel that your car’s lights seem to be dimmer than usual, it does not necessarily mean that it’s just your eyes playing tricks on you. On the contrary, it might be the vehicle’s power storage trying to tell you that it’s about to die.
You need to remember that all electronics, including the lights, are powered by the charge stored in the power cell. Naturally, a dying battery will not be able to provide enough charge to run all of them at full power. Thus, your lights will be dimmer and, in some cases, they will even blink if you press on the accelerator.
You notice a funny smell
Okay, as far as signs are concerned, this one is a bit tricky. We know that there could be a lot of reasons for bad smell in your car such as sweaty socks, a week-old half-finished pizza slice or anything else that people tend to place on the back seat and forget about it afterward.
But in the absence of the usual suspects, it just might be due to your car’s power cell about to expire especially if you notice something like a rotten egg smell when you open the hood.
The battery’s case is out of shape
For vehicle’s power storage systems, the shape of the case enclosing the electrolyte solution is rectangular. But if it starts to morph into something else, it means only one thing - trouble is coming your way.
Extreme heat exposure might cause the case to deform, crack and swell. When this happens, you can expect the cell’s power output and performance to drop as well.
Keep these signs in mind to avoid the unpleasant surprise of finding out about your vehicle’s power cell problem only on the day that it won’t start. But if you really want to be prepared no matter what, check out our car accessories buying guide and get the best jump starter
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you know if your car battery is dying?
There are 3 main signs that will tell you your car battery is failing:
1. Dimmed lights: when your battery is almost out, it is not capable of keeping your lights as bright as they should be.
2. Clicking sound when turning car key: when you turn your key in the ignition, your car sends an electrical current, that might not work when your car battery is out.
3. Pressing gas pedal: if you feel like you car needs pressing gas pedal when starting, it means that you might deal with a failing battery.
How do you tell if its your alternator or your battery?
When your alternator is failing, you will notice at least one of the following signs:
1. Unusual noises in the car. Some details of the alternator can produce grinding, rattling noises if your alternator is out of function.
2. Strange smells. If you smell burning rubber, it is a clear sign that your alternator is failing. Be careful if you feel the smell together with a failing electrical performance - your car needs an urgent check-up.
Is corrosion a sign of a bad battery?
Not always. It depends on where corrosion is located on your car battery. If you see corrosion on the positive terminal only, it is a sign that the battery is overcharged.
Do not let this happen again as overcharging can cause a car battery to fail. When there is corrosion on your cell, it means that you face with a crack or leak.
Inspect you car battery immediately and change it if necessary.