No matter how comfortable you are with vehicles and the moving parts that make them, well, move, it's always helpful to have an expert opinion when something isn't going right. That's especially true when it comes to battery problems. Here's how to tell if your car battery is dying (and why you should find a solution fast).
A Quick Guide To Your Car Battery
You don't have to be an auto repair expert to know that the battery is an important part of everything your car does. It also interacts with other parts of your vehicle to enable key performance elements, which means it's a vital piece of an intricate puzzle.
Here are a few things the battery is responsible for:
- Starting: When you turn the key or press the button, it's the battery that provides that first "burst" of power that helps the starter do its job to start the engine.
- Protecting: You may have a surge protector for your computer at home, and a car battery does much the same thing for the electronics inside your vehicle.
- Powering: As you probably guessed, the car battery provides power. Without it, everything from your window control mechanism to your radio and backup camera would stop working.
Simply put, the battery is vital to your vehicle's performance and safety.
Signs Your Car Battery Is Dying
It's easy to tell that your car battery is dead because your car won't start. However, if your battery isn't quite dead yet, your vehicle will likely show a few signs--and if you know what to look for, you can avoid sitting in your driveway with a useless car.
Here are the top signs you have a battery problem:
Your Car Is Slow To Start
You hop in your car and try to turn the engine on--but right away, you can tell something's not right. The vehicle makes a clicking or rumbling sound as it tries to turn on. Although the engine does eventually roar to life, that hesitation is a sign that your battery is on its way out.
Your Electronics Act Strangely
Today's vehicles have lots of electronics, and each one presents an opportunity to check if your battery is working. Depending on your unique car, you might notice:
- Flickering or dim cabin lights.
- Dim headlights.
- Unresponsive touch screen.
- Sluggish windshield wipers.
- Radio issues.
Your Check Engine Light Is On
The check engine light isn't the most reliable sign of battery issues, because it can indicate other problems with your vehicle. However, when this light is on, something is wrong--and paired with other signs on this list, you're probably safe to guess that the battery is to blame.
Your Battery Fluid Is Low
Depending on the battery and vehicle type, there are different ways to check your battery fluid. However, if you're able to see that the fluid is low, it may be time to replace the whole battery or take your car in for service to identify the underlying issue.
Your Battery Is Old
A battery is considered "old" between three and five years. If you bought your vehicle used, you may not know the exact age of the battery--but luckily, you can find the manufacture date on the battery's stickers.
Two Reasons a Car Battery Dies
What does it mean when your battery "dies" in the first place? Here are two explanations:
#1: No Charge
A car battery can "run out of charge" just like any other battery. If this is the issue, you can usually charge it by jump-starting your car and then driving around for a while.l
#2: Bad Battery
In some cases, charging your battery isn't enough because the battery itself is old or won't hold a charge. You'll need to replace it.
If neither of these issues is to blame, the real problem may be elsewhere. For example, if you replace a battery and are still having trouble starting your car, you probably need maintenance or service; the alternator or another part may impact the battery's performance.
Although car battery issues can be frustrating, there's no need to panic. Just brush up on the signs of an issue so you can jump into action before your battery dies and leaves you stranded!
Need help caring for your car battery? Contact us today for all the advice, maintenance, and repairs you need!