The exact lifespan of a car battery can vary, but you know that it needs to be replaced eventually. On average, a car battery will last around three or four years, and will likely be unusable after five. However, you want to change out your battery before it dies completely, in an ideal world. The best way to do this is by knowing what signs to look for that indicate that your battery is dying. If you pick up on these signs early, you can avoid having your battery die on you completely, leaving you with no car.
Take a look at these top five signs that your car needs a new battery so that you can get it replaced as soon as possible.
If you can't start up your car, you can't go anywhere. But difficulty starting the engine doesn't just mean that your car won't start up at all. You can find that it's taking a few tries to get your engine running. If you manage to start it eventually, you might brush it off, but it's important not to ignore it. When your engine isn't starting, it could be because the battery doesn't have enough power left in it to get the starter going.
However, there are other causes for your engine having a little difficulty starting. The temperature can make a difference, with both low and high temperatures affecting your car's battery. The issue could also be with your car's starter itself, and not the battery. If you're unsure, the best thing to do is to carry out a battery health test. A local mechanic can look at it for you and determine what the problem might be. Whatever you do, don't just ignore it or the problem could get worse.
The electrics in your car include a range of features, from the headlights to the sound system. If you notice that the electronics in your vehicle aren't behaving as they should, the battery could be the culprit. As the battery gets older, it won't be able to transmit as much energy to the necessary components, resulting in failing electronics. Some of the problems that you might notice include weak headlights or flickering lights on your dashboard.
Failing headlights can often be the first electrical sign of your battery failing. If the battery is weakening, it won't have enough energy to make your lights bright enough, even at night. However, before you check the battery, just make sure that your headlights are clean. They can appear weaker if they've clouded over with dust and dirt. If there are lights flickering on your dashboard, it's a sure sign that something is wrong. You might even see the check engine light if the battery needs to be changed.
An Odd Smell
Strange odors can be pretty worrying coming from your car, and they're also not very pleasant. You don't want to have to smell that as you're driving along, so it's best to check what could be happening. If the odor is sulfurous, it could be a sign that something is wrong with your battery. You're most likely smelling hydrogen sulfide, which is what your battery can release when it's damaged. You never want your battery to emit any gases or liquids, so this problem needs to be addressed right away. If you're not sure what you're smelling, hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs.
The gas can corrode the battery and other parts of the engine. However, it probably won't if you catch it in time. You should start to smell it as it can get into the cabin, so you'll notice it while you're driving. You won't want to drive far with that odor plaguing you. Check the battery as soon as you can and have it changed.
Instead of waiting for something to go wrong with your car to tell you that you need a new battery, you can perform a visual inspection of the battery itself. By popping the hood and taking a close look, you can check for corrosive build up caused by the leak of acidic fumes and liquid. These leaks can appear from small cracks, but they are usually easy to spot. When you take a look at the battery, you will see a fluffy and crusty build up on the positive terminal, which sometimes appears on the negative terminal too. It usually looks blue but sometimes can be yellow.
This build up is hard on your battery, creating resistance and reducing the battery's voltage. Cleaning it off the battery is a quick fix, as long as you know how to do it safely. It will boost the performance of your battery right away. However, if you're seeing this buildup on your car battery, it's an indication that replacing the battery is the best thing to do.
Another way to spot a problem by looking at your car's battery is to check out the shape of it. This is a fairly obvious sign that something is wrong. If the battery is disfigured, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Most car batteries should be rectangular in shape, so anything out of the norm could be a big problem. It might be bulging on one side or it might have changed shape in some way since you last looked at it. If you notice one of these signs, the battery needs to be replaced right away. Car batteries can sometimes be warped by high temperatures, but it's more often a sign of age.
It's a good idea to regularly check on your battery to check for signs of it being misshapen or look for corrosive buildup. This will help you to spot problems sooner before they start causing issues for your car and even stopping you from driving.
As you can see, our helpful list of possible car battery problems are really easy for anyone to spot themselves and if you find any of these issues with your car battery, it’s time to get in touch with us to get your car battery checked and maybe even replaced.