The battery is the heart of your vehicle. It powers vital electrical components like headlights and safety systems and is essential for starting the engine and keeping the car going.
Without a working battery, your car simply won’t run.
Being an integral part of your car, it’s important to know what kind of maintenance a battery requires and when it needs to be replaced. Giving your car battery the care that it needs can lengthen it’s lifespan and ensures that your vehicle operates smoothly. In addition, it can save you money on unnecessary replacements and mechanic callout fees.
To help prevent future headaches, here are 5 signs that your car battery needs to be replaced.
1) Slow Start (Or No Start)
If your engine is struggling to turn over, it can mean that your battery is nearing the end of its useful life.
As a car battery ages, it will begin to wear down. An old or faulty battery may struggle to generate the charge needed to turn over the engine. And in some cases, the car won’t start at all.
If you’re having these problems, you may need a battery check and service or a completely new battery. Visit your local car service centre and they will be able to run the necessary checks to determine whether a new battery is needed.
2) Swollen Battery Case
If the battery case looks distorted or misshapen, it could be an indicator that there is a problem with the battery.
Extreme weather conditions can affect your car battery. Hot and cold weather can cause the battery case to expand and contract. This can lead to swelling and cracking of the case. This can be dangerous as the battery acid can leak and make its way to the engine bay, causing further damage.
In addition, cold weather by itself can cause problems for older batteries. Low temperatures slow the chemical reactions inside the battery, shortening it’s lifespan and lowering its power output. During a single winter, the RACV received more than 100,000 calls for help from motorists having battery issues due to the cold.
3) Electrical Issues
Modern vehicles have many components that require an electrical power source. These include vital safety systems such as auto-brake sensors, and traction control systems. If these features are not working, then your battery might be the cause of the issue. If a battery is losing its charge, it will struggle to run the vehicle’s electrical systems properly.
In addition, dim headlights will often indicate a faulty battery. If the lights don’t get enough power, they won’t be as bright as they should be. Poorly powered headlights can be a safety issue as it can affect your ability to see what’s on the road, as well as making it harder for other road users to see your vehicle.
Do you see a blueish-green or a white substance beginning to build up on the battery case and connectors? That’s a clear sign that the terminals are beginning to corrode.
When hydrogen gas is emitted by the sulphuric acid inside the battery, the fumes can sometimes escape and cause corrosion on the connectors. This is often a symptom of overcharged/undercharged batteries, depending on whether the corrosion occurs on the negative or positive terminal.
Corroded battery terminals can affect your engine and electrical wiring. If there’s too much corrosion on the terminals, you might experience issues with starting your car.
If there is minor corrosion, you can clean it up yourself as part of your DIY car maintenance. However, It’s best to speak to a certified car mechanic once you start noticing excessive discharge coming from your battery terminals.
Ideally, you should check your battery connectors every six months for corrosion or damage.
5) Age of the Battery
Do you know how old your battery is? Most car batteries last between three and five years. After that, their performance will start to decline, causing problems for you and your vehicle.
The repeated discharging cycles, the everyday use of electrical components and exposure to extreme weather will wear out the battery over time. After the five-year mark, your car battery might be getting ready to kick the bucket.
Prevention is better than cure. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms discussed above, then it may be time to speak to a professional at your local auto repair shop. Ignoring these signs might cause you more problems and unnecessary headaches down the road.