‘If I only knew before’ is probably the first thing you tell yourself when your car won’t start, and you’re getting late for work. Nine times out of ten, it’s a result of a conked car battery. And ten times out of ten, it could have been avoided if you had paid attention to the signs, which the car provides in surplus. While jump starting may solve the problem, it only provides temporary relief to a more permanent problem. When your car battery starts acting up the first time, it should be taken as a clear sign that it needs replacement. Procrastinating will only worsen the situation, until one day you end up in the back of the beyond with no lights, and no radio to soothe your nerves.
But how do I know if my car battery needs replacement? Well, here are some of the signs you need to look out for.
Wouldn’t it be good if the car itself gave you a sign that it needs a battery replacement? Well, it does. The dashboard light, located next to your speedometer, usually glows when the car’s sensing some issues with the battery. When this happens, it is usually a good idea to take your ride to a car-care centre and get it tested with a certified technician. If the test results indicate that the battery is running out of juice, you must replace it.
An Engine Which Starts Slow
A car battery contains many parallel metal plates, with a pool of acid between them. When this acid loses its potency, your battery starts getting weaker. Over time, every start takes more and more time to wake up your car’s engine, until ultimately, your battery kicks the bucket.
So, if you’re facing such a hesitant engine, it might be the right time to start looking for new car batteries. Sometimes, a slow-starting engine can also result from cold weather. So if you live in a predominantly chilly region, the cranky engine may not be your battery’s fault.
Though it seems obvious, it’s worth mentioning that if your car battery has been running for more than three years, it may be near its last breath. All auto-parts wear and tear over time, and car batteries are no different. Repeated charging and discharging cycles, extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), and other factors cause car batteries to drain over time.
So, look for a round sticker which specifies a month and year on your battery. This date usually signifies when the battery was last replaced. If it was replaced more than 3-4 year ago, it’s living on borrowed time, and might need replacement.
When’s the last time you checked your car battery? If it’s been a while, and your engine has gotten sluggish, now might be a good time for you to pop the hood and give it a look. If you see a transparent film on the top of the battery case, or if there’s a lot of blue-coloured, crusty corrosion on the positive terminal, your battery is either releasing acidic fumes or is leaking actual battery acid.
This type of corrosion can lead to a resistance between the car battery and the cables, thereby lowering the output voltage and efficiency. You can clean the corroded parts, but it is usually a temporary solution. The intelligent thing to do here is to replace the car battery entirely.
A Bad, Sulphurous Odour
A healthy, fully functioning car battery will never emit any gas or leak any fluids. But if yours does, the smell will reach you eventually. Overcharged or damaged batteries tend to release toxic hydrogen sulphide. This leakage is usually caused by an internal short circuit or damage to a critical battery component. In any case, if it smells like rotten eggs, it’s time to take your ride to a car care service and get it checked out.
Don’t wait for too long; otherwise, the gas will corrode other engine parts as well.
Disfigured Car Battery
The most obvious sign that you need to say goodbye to your car battery is if it looks anything other than rectangular. Extreme temperatures – both on the colder and hotter side – can do a number on your car battery’s life, even if it’s a brand new one. However, disfigurement can also be caused by years of use.
Therefore, if your battery doesn’t look rectangular, or is swollen on one side, get a replacement car battery immediately.
Does your car battery show any of the above signs? If yes, you need to get it replaced ASAP. Visit your nearest Car Fit Experts centre – India’s leading car care service – to get the best deals on new, high-quality car batteries. If you can’t visit the centre, worry not! We also provide doorstep battery check and replacement services for our customers. Get in touch with us today and schedule your battery check appointment.