Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying


What Are the Main Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying?

Keeping up with the most important signs your car battery is dying is an important part of the vehicle maintenance process. Many people don’t take the time to consider this possibility, and as a result, they may end up on the side of the road, miles away from their destination, and stuck trying to find either a tow truck or reliable roadside service. In most cases, you’ll find that car batteries don’t generally die suddenly, and even their age can be a clear indicator that you might have to replace them soon. Which battery is right for your vehcile.

How Old Is Your Car Battery?

One of the clearest signs your car battery is dying is its age. An older battery is far more likely to stop working than one that’s only 2-3 years of age. If you had your battery longer than the standard 4 years (or however long its warranty phase is), it might be a good idea to start considering more frequent maintenance checks and voltage measurements, even if nothing seems to be wrong yet. Some battery technologies display fewer signs than others, and in some cases the battery might simply stop working too many visible signs. Still, that aging battery that can start the engine quickly may not have a lot of reserve cranking power left and might deplete in as little as 15 minutes if the lights or radio are left on with the engine off. As a result, it could even be a good idea to replace your battery as a precautionary measure, to avoid having to deal with any sudden drops in the old battery’s performance levels.

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Checking for Sluggish Car Battery Performance

Two of the main signs your car battery is dying are the engine’s inability to start as easily as before and the engine light appearing at odd times. Bear in mind that the engine light can be an indicator of many, many things - some important, some not so much - but it can also mean that the reference voltage to the engine’s controls is too low and the battery or charging system are weak. If your engine seems to work fine, but the engine light is still on, this could be a viable explanation. In many cases, car owners report that their vehicles’ engines crank up sluggishly, and experts usually point to this as a sign that the battery is close to dying. If you notice a slower cranking when you try to start the engine, and your car battery is coming up on its fourth year of continuous service, it might be time to get it checked and start searching for a replacement.

Lower Battery Fluid Levels

In the case of classic lead-acid battery designs, fluid levels are essential to proper battery function. In fact, a low battery fluid level is one of the most common signs your battery is dying. Most car batteries have a transparent part of the casing that allows you to check these levels. If your car is slow to start up, or even fails to start in cold weather, you might want to make the check, and you’ll usually find that fluid levels have indeed dropped. In wet cell lead-acid batteries, topping off distilled water levels will usually be enough to extend the life of your battery, if this is the case and if your battery isn’t a sealed design that won’t allow access to the cells. Popular battery accessories: AutoCraft Booster Cables 12'.

Signs of Battery Leaks and Swollen Casings

Less advanced designs and older batteries are commonly prone to leaks and swelling. These signs could indicate that your battery doesn’t have long to live. If your battery fluid levels constantly drain, even after topping them off, then you might want to check for leaks and spills, as the casing might be cracked. Leaking can also cause the corrosion around the battery posts, which is also a clear sign of diminished battery performance in most cases. Finally, if your battery actually swells up, it’s usually due to heat. This is one of the major signs your battery is dying, and it warrants the need to take immediate action in replacing it.

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Last updated June 6, 2018