What is one of the most irritating situations you can find yourself in? How about sitting down in your car, turning the ignition, and… nothing happens. This is especially frustrating when you’re in a hurry or running late for something.
Did you leave the dome light or headlights on overnight? Do you have to call roadside service to help jumpstart your car? Keep reading to learn how to determine which clues point to a bad car battery so you don’t find yourself in this aggravating situation.
How to Know if You Have a Bad Car Battery: 5 Signs
Some signs of a bad car battery are more obvious than others. Know how to tell when your battery may need to be replaced by recognizing these signs.
The Battery Is Old
Batteries will drain naturally over time with regular wear and tear. According to AAA, car batteries typically last around 3 years (but can last up to five years in colder climates). If you can’t remember when you last replaced the battery, look for the round, manufacturer’s sticker on the battery case that will display the date.
Pay Attention To The Lights In Your Car
The lights in your car can give you tell-tale signs regarding your car’s behavior, including your battery. If you notice your headlights, dome lights or interior lights are much dimmer than usual, it may be because your battery doesn’t have enough juice to power all the electronic components and could be on a fast track to its demise. Also, if your dashboard lights work but the car won’t start, this is a red flag pointing at a bad car battery.
Your check engine light is an all-inclusive light, telling you that something isn’t right with your car. If you see this light come on, include your battery in your list of things to check.
Your Car Starts Slowly
Starting your car should be immediate upon turning the ignition. If your car appears to be struggling to start, this is a typical sign of a failing battery. This could also be a symptom of a malfunctioning starter or alternator but check the battery first, as it’s the easiest and cheapest replacement solution.
The Battery Is Corroded
You can easily see if the battery is corroded. Lift the hood and if your battery has a blueish-green film on the terminals, battery acid is leaking. This film will make the connection with the terminals more difficult.
You can remove the corrosion with a toothbrush or towel to buy some time, but note that you will need to replace the battery sooner than later. Learn more about battery corrosion.
The Smell of Sulfur
If you smell sulfur (more commonly described as the smell of rotten eggs). This usually means your battery is leaking fluid. This usually happens in older batteries that are ready to be replaced.
Stay On The Road With A Healthy Battery
These are only a few clues on how to tell if a car battery is bad. Be proactive, know the signs and you can avoid a bothersome situation that can leave you stranded on the side of the road. For more information on how to spot a bad car battery or car care and repair, check out our blog.