Your car battery is responsible for quite a lot! It supplies the energy required to start your car, and stabilizes the voltage from the alternator that keeps your car running.
And, just like all car parts, batteries don’t last forever. Eventually, you’re going to have to replace your car battery. And nobody wants to get stuck on the side of the road because their battery died unexpectedly – so it’s a good idea to replace your battery before it runs out of juice.
Not sure how healthy your car’s battery is? Read on, and learn about the most common signs that your battery may be failing.
1. Slow, Sluggish Engine Turnover
As mentioned, your car battery is what gives your car the initial “jump” required to start the engine.
If your car battery is old or failing, you may notice that it takes you longer to start your car, or that the engine sounds slow and sluggish. If your battery is in really bad shape, it may take multiple attempts to get your car started.
This is a sign that your battery may not be able to hold a charge as well anymore – the engine takes longer to turn over because the battery isn’t supplying the full 12.6V of power that’s required to start your car.
2. “Check Engine” Light
The “check engine” light can come on for a variety of reasons – a low battery being one of them. You may also see other indicator lights such as low coolant lights or other error messages when your car’s battery is low.
It’s best to get your car checked out at an auto shop if your check engine or other lights are on. This is the only way to be sure that you’re fixing the right problem.
3. Your Car Starts – And Then It Doesn’t
If your car starts normally on some days – and then fails to start altogether on other days – you likely have some battery issues.
Your battery terminals may be corroded, broken, or loose, and it’s also possible that your battery is discharging due to “parasitic draw” – some electrical system in your car is running, even after you’ve turned it off.
It’s best to check your car’s battery terminals to make sure they’re in good shape. If you reattach and clean the battery and still have issues starting your car, you should get the battery checked at a reputable auto shop.
4. Swelling, Bloated Battery Case
A swelling battery is very dangerous. If you pop your hood and see that your car’s battery is swelling out of its case, or looks bloated, call a tow truck immediately, and have it taken to an auto shop.
Swelling usually happens when the battery is overcharged. When this happens, heat and hydrogen gas build up faster than the battery can allow them to dissipate, causing the outer casing to warp and expand.
If your battery is swollen, don’t try to drive your car or remove the battery – a bloated battery is basically a ticking time bomb, and can cause serious damage to your or your vehicle if it ends up exploding.
5. Strong “Rotten Egg” Smell
If you pop the hood of your car and notice a sulfuric “rotten egg” smell, you may want to check your battery. As the name suggests, traditional lead-acid batteries are filled with a mixture of water and sulfuric acid.
Evaporating water won’t leave behind a scent, but you’ll smell the sulfuric acid as it evaporates. This isn’t just a nasty smell issue, either – if sulfuric acid evaporates, the water/acid mixture in the battery will be compromised, leading to poor performance.
This imbalance can even cause the battery to overheat, boil, or even start smoking in severe cases, so it’s important to stop battery leaks before they become a major issue.If you smell a strong “rotten egg” smell, take a look at your battery right away. Check for corrosion around the battery terminals – this is a common sign of a sulfuric acid leak.
If you notice a leak, the only solution is to replace the battery ASAP – there’s no way to fix a cracked or leaky battery, and continuing to drive with a faulty battery can be dangerous, and lead to further mechanical issues.
Need A New Battery? Got Questions About Your Electrical System? Come To Ride Time Now!
Whether you need a new battery, have questions about your car’s alternator, or need any other component of your vehicle’s electrical systems repaired, Ride Time is the perfect place for you!
Our new Winnipeg location features 8 service bays, and our experienced, certified mechanics will take great care of your car. From a simple battery replacement to comprehensive electrical repairs, we can handle it all!
You can trust us to take great care of your vehicle. So if you think your car’s battery is failing, don’t take any chances! Come on in to Ride Time today, and let our expert mechanics take a look!