How To Tell If Your Car Battery Is Dead
A dead battery can leave your vehicle stuck on the side of the road or in a parking lot. While this inconvenience may seem like it came without warning, there are some subtle signs that your battery needs to be recharged or replaced. Check that your negative battery cable is connected and look for these other signs that your battery needs prompt maintenance services.
Watch Your Dashboard
Your dashboard has a wide range of warning lights that assist you in your routine vehicle maintenance. Newer vehicles include a battery warning light. This sensor is linked directly with your battery and means that it doesn’t have a strong reading. Have your battery serviced or replaced after you see this light. A quick replacement helps you avoid suddenly losing power and looking for an emergency replacement battery for your vehicle.
Listen to Your Engine Crank
Another common issue related to your battery is a slow engine crank. When your engine has trouble starting, it could be caused by low battery charge. A low battery won’t provide your starter with the full power it needs to quickly turn over your engine. There are many other potential issues related to poor ignition issues, so be sure to have your battery tested before replacing it. Older batteries were more prone to affecting your starter, but modern batteries have reduced symptoms of lower output before they fail altogether.
Flickering Radio and Electronics
Turn your ignition to the “on” position but don’t start it. Do your radio and headlights turn on fully or are they faint? Flickering lights and a faint radio could be caused by a weak battery. Don’t leave your ignition for long or you’ll drain the remaining power from your battery. Not all batteries show signs of a weak charge, so look for other signs that show you how to tell if your car battery is dead.
Odd Shape or Smell
Lead-acid car batteries use corrosive acid and lead plates to store and release electricity. If your battery or voltage regulator have been damaged, your battery may become overcharged. An overcharged battery is dangerous because it often swells. The case of your battery isn’t designed to swell, so this could result in a leaking battery. Avoid leaking corrosive acid under your hood. Routinely inspect your battery to see if there is any leaking liquid or if its footprint has expanded.
Similarly, an odd smell is also a warning sign. When your battery or engine compartment smells like sulfur, or rotten eggs, it may be venting dangerous sulfuric acid and gas throughout your engine compartment.
Test Your Battery Today
Lead-acid batteries aren’t designed to last forever. If your battery is four or more years old, it may be time to have it inspected. Watch for all these warning signs and receive periodic testing at your local, reliable auto parts store. Enjoy professional readings or pick up a battery charger to test your own battery. New batteries are affordable and covered by warranties, so don’t risk damaging your vehicle or becoming stranded due to an old battery.