For new drivers, the list seems endless when it comes to car maintenance and upkeep, but there are some things that may be more of a priority than others, one of them being your car battery. Here are a few things to look out for regarding old batteries and how much time they may have left.
Slow Engine Crank
When you attempt to start your engine and the crank is a little sluggish or takes longer than normal, this could be a sign the battery needs attention. This happens right before the engine quits completely. After the engine quits, you may hear a rapid clicking sound signaling there is minimal power left to start the car. Before this happens, have the battery tested and even replaced if need be.
Weak Electrical Components
If your electronic accessories are running low, this could be a sign of your battery dying. The battery needs to be able to power a little bit of everything in the car, including windows, seats, the radio, wipers, dashboard lights, and headlights. Each accessory relies on electricity from the battery to keep going. If you notice your lights are little dimmer or just finicky electronics, the car’s battery could be on its last leg.
If the dashboard light for your battery is on (usually in the shape of battery), this could also indicate a weak battery. Like the check engine light, the battery shaped light will illuminate to indicate an internal problem or if the battery is not properly replenishing. When the light comes on, this notifies you that you need to check the battery and its fluid level.
Low Battery Fluid
Car batteries usually have a translucent part to help you keep an eye on your battery fluid level. If the fluid level is below the led plates, it may be time to have your battery and charging system checked out. You can also remove the red and black caps, if they aren’t sealed, to check your levels.
If your battery case looks like it’s about to burst, it could be experiencing excessive temperatures and decrease the battery’s life in the long run. When a battery is exposed to too much heat, it may swell around the flat sides of the battery. If your car sits in the cold for too long, this can also deplete the battery, causing it to discharge and freeze over.
If you see corrosion around the battery’s positive and negative posts, chances are you may have a battery leak. This could prevent the car from starting and serves as a more obvious sign for a dying battery.
Most batteries can last for three years or more, but it’s better to have it inspected annually. Again, a battery’s lifespan may vary depending on its exposure to extreme temperatures. If you’re unsure how old your battery is, you can have it tested or check the manufacturer’s date on the battery’s case.
If your battery has been overcharged, frozen, or has shorted internally, it may vent gas. When the battery case begins to vent gas, you may notice a rotten egg smell, indicating a dying battery. Once you notice the odor, have the battery checked right away to avoid further corrosion on the battery or any other parts under your vehicle’s hood.
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