Even though most shops that sell batteries will claim your battery can live five to ten years because it is what is known as a “super long life” battery, you can realistically expect your battery to last for two to three years as a rule of thumb. So, how can you know the signs that your battery is on its last legs? Believe it or not there are some clear and concise symptoms your car will show if your battery has not completely gone bad but will in the near future.
If you ignore these signs until it is too late, and you do not have a portable power supply with you, you may just find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a vehicle you cannot move. To avoid this from happening, look for the following five signs your battery is about to be a goner.
#1) Your Vehicle Turns Over but Hesitates to Crank Right Away
This is a major red flag there is something going on with your battery. While it is true that this could happen due to a bad starter or other complication, today we are focusing on tell tale signs you may need to have your battery assessed. To be honest, when this occurs, it is usually your battery, in fact over 90% of the time that is the case.
Remember, your battery needs an exact number of volts to be able to crank your vehicle efficiently and your battery indicator will not always pick up on a small variation. This is why so many people fail to realize their car battery is going bad. If this begins to happen check the battery first.
#2) Intermittent Starting- Random “Dead Battery”
If some days you go to start your car and it won’t crank up, as long as there are no noticeable reasons, such as the headlamps being left on etc., this could be due to loose or bad battery terminals. If this is the case it is an easy fix and most places sell battery terminals you can change yourself for only a few dollars each.
However, if the terminals are good, something which can be diagnosed by a voltmeter, the battery itself may have a bad cell. Take your battery into an auto supply store and have it diagnosed before jumping straight to the mechanic who may just try and have you change all sorts of things you don’t need.
#3 Cold Cranking Becomes Difficult
If you notice cranking early in the morning, or during colder climates, this is a very bad sign for your battery. A healthy car battery is designed to cold crank without much effort. You will know right away if you are finding yourself having to give your car more gas, turn it over several times before it cranks or if it is failing to start up right away when it is cold. If you see this happening have your battery checked out. The cold crank amps may be too low, thus telling you it’s probably time for a new battery.
#4 Underlying Issue Which Results in Too Many “Jump Starts”
All of us have left our lights on for an extended period of time, thereby resulting in a dead battery we need to have jumped. Unfortunately, there are some problems which can cause your battery to “die” overnight that can often be hard to diagnose. We have seen things like door latches not catching properly, either on the trunk, glove box or car doors that cause an interior light to stay on.
Then, of course, there is the user error in which the driver leaves the lights on while having lunch for an hour and a half or after coming home from work. This is most common in places where daytime headlights are required. If you have had to jump start your car more than a few times a week or month for a period of time, you are literally killing your battery, for good.
#5 Dim or Flickering Interior or Exterior Lights
While this could be a major problem with the computer system, fuse box or other area of your car, many times it is just your battery giving out. As we have mentioned above, many people overlook the battery itself when it comes to power issues in the car. This is a huge and many times costly mistake to make. In comparison, a new battery is much cheaper than a new alternator or even the diagnostics at an auto mechanics office. Again, do yourself a solid and have that battery checked out first.
Even a new car battery can go bad so never rely on the life of your battery as an indicator that it must be fine. Always purchase a warranty when you buy a battery. In some places there is a life time warranty. It is also important to remember that most places will give you credit for the core in your old battery when you are buying a new one. If you pay attention to the signs above, you may be able to proactively fix the problem with your car before you end up stranded.