You are running late for work and to make matters worse, your car won’t start. For most of us, it seems as if the dead battery comes out of nowhere, I know I used to think I didn’t see signs my car battery is dying. However, they are there. In this guide, I will go over 10 warning signs that your car battery is dying.
Quick List of Warning Signs My Car Battery Is Dying
Car headlights dimming
If you turn your headlights on at night and notice that they are not as bright as they used to be. Don’t shrug it off thinking it’s because you are braking or the headlights are dirty.
You may want to get your battery checked out. It would be a shame to wake up the next morning and you are late to take the kids to school or to get to work because your car won’t start.
The smell of rotten eggs
For all intents and purposes, your battery should not have an odor to it. If it smells like one of your kids let one rip, then it could mean that your battery will give out at any moment. The rotten egg smell is typically due to your battery leaking gas.
Not only is this bad for your battery, but it could also potentially damage other parts of the engine, which as you know any type of engine work is going to be costly.
Funny Acting Electrical Components
As you may know, the battery is to a car what a motherboard is to a computer. It controls many electrical components of your vehicle.
If you get in your car and notice that your radio isn’t on, your power seats aren’t working or your dash lights are flickering, get your battery checked. Don’t chalk it up to being a minor inconvenience.
On a side note, this may also be a symptom of an alternator going bad, so make sure you explore all of your options. And note any other electrical oddities that your car may be experiencing.
Problems with power windows
More often than not when your power windows won’t go down or you get it down and have problems getting it back up, you might assume it’s just the motor in the window or a blown fuse. Which it could very well be.
However, don’t assume that because something is not working that it’s a blown fuse. Yes, you want to check your fuse, but at the same time, you should also make sure your battery isn’t the culprit.
Slow engine crank
If you go to start your car and find that there’s a weird sound, and it takes longer than usual to crank up or you have to give it a little gas to crank up, you may need to take a look at your battery. This is one of the classic tell-tale signs that your battery is dying. I have had this happen to me several times and didn’t think anything of it until I found myself stranded on the way to pick my kids up from school.
Age of battery
If you have owned your car for more than 5 years and never replaced the battery, and now you’re having problems with it starting, or you’re needing frequent jump starts, the battery could be the problem. You may want to get that battery checked.
The rule of thumb is that you should consider replacing your car battery or having it checked after 3 years. If you are not sure how old your battery is, you can look at the battery itself and it should indicate when it was manufactured or sent to the place you purchased the battery from.
If you are the adventurous type you could try to recondition your car battery. Depending on the condition of your battery this could extend battery life by weeks or years.
There is a program that takes you step by step through the process of reconditioning your battery. Check out my article on the EZ Battery reconditioning program here.
However, sometimes there is no getting around it and you need to replace your battery. Check out my top recommendations over here.
Swollen battery case
A swollen battery case is not only a sign of a dying battery, but it can also be very dangerous. If you are under the hood and you notice that your battery is “bloated” or swollen, do not start the car instead. Instead, you need to get your car to a repair shop ASAP.
Your battery is a bomb ready to explode at this point and if that happens, other parts of your vehicle could become damaged. The likely culprit of a swollen battery is excessive heat or the battery is overcharged.
I remember when I first started driving I would see different lights on the dash come on and stay on or start to flash and think nothing of it. However, these warning lights that are on your dash are telling you that something is wrong with the car.
Most modern cars have a warning light that will illuminate on the dash if the battery, alternator, or other electrical component is faulty. This means it is time to have your battery tested to make sure it is functioning properly.
If you are driving and the light comes on and stays on, it’s time to get your battery and alternator looked out. This warning light is telling you that there is something wrong with your vehicle’s charging system.
Clicking sound turning on the car
The classic clicking noise that we hear when we jump in our car to go somewhere and attempt to turn the key, means that the car’s battery is dead. This happened to me a few days ago, I jumped in my vehicle and I kept pushing the button to start my car and it wouldn’t start.
All I heard was a clicking sound and the check engine light kept flashing. I thought maybe the batteries in my key fob were dying but then I looked at the radio and it was on 88.7 when I always use Sirius. I attempted to pop my trunk to check my battery and nothing. I had to climb in the backseat of my car and release the emergency trunk lever. Sure enough, it was the battery. I attached my jumper box to the battery and the car started right up.
Corroded battery connectors
If you look under the hood of your car and the battery connectors are corroded, you may want to consider replacing the battery. Cleaning the battery terminals is only a temporary fix and will eventually give out in time. Replacing the battery is highly advised by most professionals.
Something as simple as neglecting to replace your battery or perform maintenance checks on your battery can cause a lot of problems down the road.
When you start to see any of these signs make sure that you have your battery booster pack or jumper cables ready to go. However, if you want to make sure you are not left stranded on the road or running late because your car won’t start, do yourself the favor and have your battery checked out if you notice any of these warning signs.