Has it happened to you that from one moment to another the battery of your car stops working? Perhaps your car will not start and you have not even been aware that the battery may be part of the problem.
The truth is that when a car does not want to start, there can be many reasons for it. Your fuel injectors may be dirty or you may have a blown spark plug, but in most cases, a car that won’t start has to do with a discharged or dead battery.
Batteries do not discharge overnight in most cases, so we are going to give you nine warning signs to identify that your car battery is discharging or needs a replacement soon.
We will also see what can be done to recharge the battery and we will explain how long a battery should last us according to good car maintenance habits.
Table of Contents
9 Symptoms Of A Bad Car Battery
1. The car does not start
This is the most obvious sign and one that most have had to deal with at some point. The alternator is responsible for generating energy when the engine is in motion. All that energy is accumulated and stored by the battery.
Once the engine is off, the battery is responsible for redirecting the energy it contains to all the other car elements that are responsible for starting the engine.
A defective battery or one with a deficient charge will not be able to fulfill the task of starting the engine since the energy will not be enough.
Here are two options. Change the battery or recharge it. Sometimes recharging the battery will not be enough if your battery has already completed its life cycle. No matter how much you recharge it, it will be downloaded again immediately, since like any component of the car it does not last forever.
To know when it is time to change your battery, you must have certain maintenance habits that will facilitate the diagnosis of your battery, but we will talk about that later.
2. Clicks when turning the key to the ignition
Every time we turn the car key, the battery sends an electrical impulse to the solenoid, an electrical component responsible for being the connector between the car battery and the starter motor. The solenoid powers the starter by means of a pulse.
When the battery is bad or dead, it cannot send the electric pulse and the solenoid will make a clicking sound. Like a tick-tock, accompanied by difficulties getting the car to start. Every time you hear that tick-tock when you start the car, it is a sign that your battery needs a repair or replacement battery.
3. Starter motor malfunction
To start the car engine, the spark plugs, the starter motor, and the battery play the main role. If the battery doesn’t have enough power, it won’t be able to give the starter motor the boost it needs.
Every time you have problems with the starter motor and you see that the car is difficult to start and you have to turn it on several times or accelerate so that it can start. It is a sign of a bad battery.
It is true that the starter can be damaged independently for other reasons. But if the battery dies, the starter motor will immediately have problems. So that’s a good sign to check your battery and you can anticipate getting stranded on the road or leaving the house.
4. The car takes time to start
One of the most common symptoms to detect that your battery is discharging or about to die is noticed when you start the car and it takes us a few seconds to start it properly.
The normal thing would be for a car to start as soon as you turn the key, but when it takes a few seconds to start, it is an indicator that something is wrong with the battery. If it only happens once sporadically, there is nothing to worry about, but when the battery is low it will happen very often.
If you notice that your car takes time to start more than once a week, then it is best to have an immediate service because you may have to replace your battery or recharge it.
5. Battery warning light came on
In cars, we have several dashboard lights that communicate things to us. One of those signs is the battery or alternator light. Anytime the light comes on or flashes, it’s a sure indicator of a failing battery.
It is true that the alternator light can also come on whenever there is a problem with the electrical wiring or with the operation of the alternator, but there is a way to know if it is the alternator or the battery.
If the alternator light comes on while you are driving the car, it is a sign that the alternator may be failing, and that the alternator only comes on when the car is running.
When you turn on the car, the alternator light comes on, which is a battery problem, since the alternator isn’t yet on, the car can’t detect the problem with it, but with the battery.
6. Dimming headlights
Headlights are one of the implements that consume the most energy from the battery. Whenever you notice that the headlights are not illuminating at their full power, it is a sign that the battery is flat or is discharging.
In the event of a battery malfunction, the car’s high and low beams will always be affected immediately.
7. Noise in the car muffler
When a battery is discharged or not working well, it is not capable of supplying energy to all the components of the car. One of those elements is the spark plugs that, by not receiving enough electricity, do not generate a spark in each combustion cycle.
That causes unexploded gasoline to build up inside the pistons until the spark plugs fire again.
Excessive fuel burning made a strange noise, and the engine cranks when breaking the muffler.
If you hear strange noises coming from the muffler and you know that the spark plugs are good, it is an unmistakable sign that you have problems with the car’s battery.
8. Car clock reset
When the battery is low on charge, it is disconnected from other functions that it considers unnecessary or dispensable, one of them is the red that we have on the car screen.
The car is trying to conserve enough power to be able to start again.
Every time you notice the clock restarting, it is better to check the car battery since it is a very subtle sign, but effective in preventing it from fully discharging.
9. Abnormal illumination of interior lights
When the battery is discharged, the electrical system inside the car begins to fail and several lights may come on at the same time.
This is another subtle but effective signal if you want to learn how to identify when your car battery is dying or needs to be recharged.
The best thing will be to go to a mechanic as soon as possible and check that the control unit has not been damaged.
Can A Battery Be Discharged At Any Moment?
Batteries don’t usually discharge from time to time, but there may be certain factors that cause the battery to lose strength immediately.
If the car has a faulty alternator, it will not be able to feed the battery and it will be discharged at any moment.
It can also be due to a torn or cut electrical cord.
And finally, it may be a very old battery, which has already completed its life cycle and you need a new battery.
How Long Does A Battery Last?
The lifetime of a battery goes from four to five years for any standard battery. There are better technology batteries, such as lithium, which last up to 8 years, but all of them will die at some point.
It also greatly influences the habits you have with your car and how you maintain your batteries. Cars that sit idle will deteriorate faster than those that are used to getting to work on a regular basis.
Although it sounds ironic, you will keep your car longer by using it daily than by taking it out for a walk once or twice a week.
How To Charge My Battery?
There are two ways to charge the batteries. If you still start the car and you are running, you can drive it for about 10 or 20 kilometers at high speeds. If you can find a large highway free of traffic, so much the better.
If your battery is in good condition, the alternator will fill it with energy while the car is going at high speed.
If your car no longer starts, you can remove the battery case and charge it with a charging system or another car battery. Do it carefully and with gloves, since batteries that are not sealed can leak gases and battery acid. You’ll know if you perceive an odd smell, like rotten eggs from battery corrosion.
We hope that this article with nine signs of a bad car battery can help you prevent unpleasant situations in the future.
Ensure that your battery is well maintained and take it to your trusted mechanic if you detect any problems.