Today’s vehicles have more electrical components than ever before, which really strains a car’s electrical system and can make it hard for the car battery to keep up. How many electrical features can you name in your car? Electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, power windows power sunroofs, power outlets for cell phones, computers or DVD players, navigation systems, powerful stereos – the list goes on and on. There are also all the vehicle engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors. Even security systems run off the battery while the car is turned off. And of course, extreme weather conditions – hot or cold – can take a toll on battery life.
The fact is that vehicle batteries just wear out over time. Every battery will eventually come to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start a car. That can happen because of normal wear, a leak that has developed, or corrosion on the connections.
Ideally, the best time to replace your battery is before it dies. So how can you tell if your car battery is losing life?
1. THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON
The check engine light can mean almost anything, including the possibility that the battery is running out of juice. Consult your car manual for insight on the check engine light warning for your car’s make and model and get your battery tested to see if it’s working at full capacity.
2. THE ENGINE IS SLOW TO START
A slow engine start is the last sputtering gasp before a battery kicks the bucket. Over time, battery components will wear out, rendering them less effective. This will cause the battery to take more time to create a charge for the starter, and you’ll have to wait a few extra seconds for the engine to turn over.
3. THE LIGHTS ARE DIM OR YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ELECTRICAL ISSUES
The battery powers all of the electronics in your car – see list above. If a battery is losing its charge, the electronic components in a car will not run on full power. If your radio, heated seats, dashboard computer, or cell phone charger seems to not be working, as usual, this is a classic sign that your car battery is struggling.
4. THE BATTERY CONNECTORS ARE CORRODED
When you look at your car battery, seeing a white, ashy substance on the metals of the battery is a sure sign of corrosion. Corroded terminals – the positive and negative metal connections on the top of the battery — can lead to voltage issues and trouble starting your vehicle.
5. YOU CAN SMELL SOMETHING ROTTEN
If you can smell rotten eggs when you pop the hood of your car, this may be a sign that your car battery is leaking. A gas leak in a battery can be caused by damage to the battery or an internal short.
6. YOUR BATTERY CASE IS MISSHAPEN
Exposure to extreme heat or cold can actually cause a battery case to swell and crack. If your battery is anything but rectangular, chances are high that it isn’t working properly.
7. YOUR BATTERY IS OLD
In ideal conditions, car batteries typically last 3-5 years. Climate, electronic demands, and driving habits can all affect the lifespan of a battery. It’s a good idea to air on the side of caution and get your battery performance tested regularly, especially after it hits the 3-year mark.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are not sure how old your battery currently is, we invite you to schedule an appointment online, call us, or drop by for a visit at 1299 JUSTIN ROAD (F.M.407) LEWISVILLE, TX 75077. Kwikkar can perform a battery load test to help determine the battery’s strength and replace it if needed.