6 SIGNS YOUR CAR BATTERY NEEDS TO BE REPLACED
A dead car battery can leave you stranded anywhere from your driveway to the side of the highway. But a dead battery doesn’t always happen suddenly; there are usually some indicators, if you know what to look for. And even if you don’t have a battery light on your dashboard to alert you of any problems, here are six signs that your car battery is no longer holding a charge and most likely needs a replacement.
Learn about what dashboard warning lights mean here.
1. The Headlights Dim When Idling.
When car batteries start to decline, all of the electrical components in a car will be affected. If your headlights dim while idling and brighten when accelerating, your battery isn’t holding a charge anymore. In addition to checking your battery, have your vehicle's charging system and alternator tested with a voltmeter to be sure that it won’t be a problem again in the near future.1 This is one of the simplest ways of determining if your car battery is dying.
2. The Engine is Slow to Turn Over
Make a point of listening to your car every time you start it up. If your car cranks a few times and sounds reluctant to start, a bad battery could be the culprit. A sluggish start could also happen as a result of bad wiring, a worn starter, or malfunctioning alternator, so it’s important to have a mechanic check each of these when they take a look at your car battery.2
Learn about some common engine problems and how to fix them here.
3. The Dashboard Lights Flicker
Remember that your battery is responsible for the electrical components of your car, including the interior and dashboard lights. If you notice any flickering, be sure to check your battery before you end up stranded.3 Similar to dimming headlights, these flickering lights are a sure indication of a failing car battery.
4. The Windows Roll Slowly
Rolling your windows up and down while the engine is on may be easy, but to put your battery to the test, try rolling them up or down when the engine is off. If they are slow to respond, your battery is struggling to power them properly. Physical resistance like a blockage could also be slowing your windows down, gaskets that help seal the window and keep out noise can become loose or torn, keeping your window from running smoothly. The frame of the window can become loose as well, causing your window to move slower than normal.4 If the windows in your car roll slowly, chances are your car battery is struggling to produce the power needed to operate the window.
5. Excessive Corrosion is Visible
If you think you’re having trouble with your car battery, pop the hood of your car and take a look at the top of the battery. That powdery white or blue substance at the connection points is called corrosion and while some is okay, excessive corrosion can negatively affect the battery’s performance and lifespan. Corrosion is caused by a chemical reaction between the gasses and metals under the hood. The fix could be as simple as carefully cleaning the corrosion off, but you should still have car batteries checked by a professional just in case the problem is more serious, like an undercharging system.5
6. Your Car Battery is Old
The length of every car battery’s life can be affected by weather, driving habits, trip length, and the type of car you drive, but the average vehicle battery has a lifespan of around four years. Even if you are one of the fortunate car owners who will get many more years out of their car batteries, start incorporating a battery check into your regular car maintenance schedule after four years.6 It may be a good idea to invest in a portable battery charger as well. Having a battery charger on hand will keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road: use it to get your dead car battery going, and then get your battery replaced as soon as you can.
Here are the questions to ask an auto body repair shop.
Testing your battery at every oil change can also help you avoid any surprises, like being stranded in a parking lot. Even between oil changes, you can request a free battery test at many automotive parts stores. And when it’s time to replace your battery, use the Synchrony Car CareTM network locator to find a shop near you that accepts the Synchrony Car Care credit card*, and get six months promotional financing on purchases of $199 or more**.
*,**Subject to credit approval.
*Valid everywhere Synchrony Car Care™ is accepted in the U.S., including Puerto Rico.
**Minimum monthly payments required. See merchant or mysynchrony.com/carcare for promotional financing details and merchant locations. Gas station purchases are not eligible for promotional financing.
1. How to Repair Auto Headlights That Dim When Idle It Still Runs
2. Why is My Car Slow to Start? Blue Devil Products
3. What does it mean when my dash lights flicker and pulse? Sun Auto Service
4. Why Does My Car Window Go Down Slowly? It Still Runs
6. How often should I replace my car battery?. How Stuff Works
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