Signs of a Failing Battery

Car Care
Tips

Don't Let these Signs of a Failing Battery Go Unnnoticed

It is a terrible feeling when you try to start your car and nothing happens. This situation can be avoided. Just keep your eyes and ears open for the following warning signs that your battery is failing and take care of the problem before it arises.

Battery Warning Signs:

Slow Engine Crank

All of the power that it takes to crank your engine is produced by the battery. Once the car is started, the alternator keeps the car battery going by replacing the power used to start the engine and run your vehicle's electronic accessories. When you put the key in your car's ignition and turn it, the battery alone starts the engine. So if the battery is failing, you might notice that the engine cranks more slowly than usual. It's important that you take notice of that warning sign since you'll only get one shot at a slow start before the engine refuses to crank again. If the engine does not crank at all, the vehicle will often just make a rapid clicking sound, signaling the available power is too low to crank the engine. Have the battery tested at once and replaced if needed.

Issues with electrical components

In addition to starting and powering the engine, the car battery also needs to produce enough juice to run all the various electronic components in your vehicle. In most modern cars, there are many electronic accessories including radio, windshield wipers, dashboard lights, power windows, power seats, headlights and more. All of these components require electricity supplied from your vehicle's battery.

If any of your vehicle's electronic components start to function poorly, first check for power loss due to dirty battery terminals. If the battery terminals clean, it might be time for a battery replacement. Pay special attention to when you use more than one component at a time. For example, if you switch on the radio while using the headlights and the headlights go dim, the battery might not be up to snuff anymore.

Dashboard Warning Light

Most cars have a dashboard warning light, usually in the shape of a battery. This will illuminate if the battery is not being replenished properly or if there is an internal problem with the battery. Similar to the Check Engine light, the battery warning light might also mean that something is wrong with the alternator or some other part of the electrical system. The best course of action would be to have your vehicle's electrical system inspected by a Coggin DeLand Honda service technician to determine what exactly the problem is if the light comes on.

Swollen Battery Case

A car battery is basically a chemical reaction contained in a box. As with any chemical reaction, sometimes things can go awry. When a car battery is exposed to excessive temperatures, the flat sides of the battery case may swell or bulge. If the battery sits in a vehicle that is not driven for some time in the winter, the battery will discharge and may freeze. Freezing and swelling from excess heat often result in an electrically "dead" battery that cannot be recovered and will require replacement.

Old Age

On average, a car battery lasts about four to five years. This average lifespan will fluctuate depending on extreme temperature exposure, number of deep discharges and whether or not it goes through full charge cycles. That being said, five years is how much life most batteries have so once you hit the 4-year mark, it might not be a bad idea to get it tested by a professional to see how much life it has left. If you are not sure how old the battery is, you should be able to find the manufacture date on the battery case.

Weird Smell

When a battery has been frozen, overcharged or is shorted internally its case may vent gas. This venting often smells like rotten eggs. If you happen to detect a rotten egg scent under the hood of your vehicle, have your battery inspected as soon as possible because in addition to possibly needing a replacement battery, the sulfuric acid can eat away at other engine parts, causing corrosion, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

[honda]