Like any battery, the battery that powers your vehicle will eventually run out of juice. If you wait to replace your battery until it dies completely, you may also have to deal with jump-starting your vehicle, requesting roadside services, and delaying a vacation. Batteries are particularly likely to give out during the cold-weather months, so a dead battery could leave you shivering in the snow.
Fortunately, you will see signs of battery failure before you absolutely have to replace the battery. In this blog, we list seven common signs that your vehicle needs a new battery.
- Check Engine Light
When your car battery becomes weak, the decrease in power may trigger a dashboard warning light. Most cars do not have a specific light dedicated to battery issues so battery problems will most likely be indicated with a check engine light.
If you notice a check engine light and any of the other signs on this list, the light probably resulted from a battery issue.
- Low Fluid Levels
Car batteries contain battery fluid that can become depleted over time. If you pop the hood and look at your car battery, you should notice a transparent section in the casing. This opening allows you to monitor your battery fluid levels.
When your battery fluid gets low, plan to replace the power supply soon.
- Multiple Jump Starts
Failing batteries can sometimes be revived using jumper cables. If you need one jump start, especially in the winter, you may have some time before you need to worry about replacing the battery.
However, if your vehicle refuses to start without being jumped or you have jumped the car several times over the course of a month, you will need to replace your battery to resolve the issue.
- Old Battery
While batteries can last more than three years, they are more likely to fail after that initial period. If your battery is three years old or older, have a mechanic test it at least once a year. If possible, have your battery tested in the fall before the coldest part of the year.
You are more likely to have trouble with an older battery, so keep an eye on your battery once it’s been installed for three years.
- Sluggish Start
One sure sign of battery troubles is issues with how your engine starts. These issues may first appear as sluggishness when you start your car. The engine may make more noise or take longer to turn over.
If your car does not turn over at all, especially if you don’t get any response when you attempt to start it, you may either have a dead battery or a faulty starter. In both of these cases, you will have to replace the failing component in order for your car to start normally.
- Sulphur Odor
While many battery problems develop slowly over time due to age or normal wear and tear, some can appear suddenly. If your battery freezes, develops an internal electrical short, or overcharges, it may begin to vent gas.
This gas smells like sulphur or rotten eggs. The odor will be most noticeable under your hood but may become strong enough for you to smell with the hood closed.
A weakened battery may vent a significant amount of gas or may even begin to leak fluid. If left unaddressed, these solutions can corrode the battery posts and other engine components, potentially leading to engine failure.
- Warped Case
Your battery is contained within a case. If this case becomes misshapen, the warping can indicate a serious issue with the battery. Usually, if your battery case becomes damaged it will appear swollen or bulging.
This damage can happen at any time of year, but it is almost always linked to extreme temperatures. In warm conditions, if the battery is exposed to excessive heat, the chemical reaction that powers the battery may become less contained, swelling the case. Case damage caused by heat may result in a dangerous dead battery that cannot be jump started and must be replaced as soon as possible.