Car Battery Issues Can Be Easily Prevented if You Look for These Warning Signs
Chances are you’ve had the unwelcome experience of scouring a parking lot looking for some kind soul to jump start your car after the battery unceremoniously quits on you. It may often seem that our batteries fail us without warning. But sometimes, we’re actually lucky or astute enough to recognize the telltale signs from our battery, giving us enough time to get to the nearest auto shop to get a replacement car battery. Here are just a few symptoms that your battery may be due for a replacement.
The Typical Surprise Stall
If you’re particularly lucky, your car’s check engine light may come on and a code reader will determine that your battery is failing. But chances are more likely that you’ll discover your battery’s on the way out when you’re stuck with an engine that will crank but won’t start. This can be a deceptive problem because even ammeters can read that your battery has enough juice when it’s actually just under the amount necessary to give your car a start. If you’re in this situation, hopefully you’ve got a pair of jumper cables and a helpful neighbor available to get you jump started. From there, your car battery can actually last you a couple days if you allow it the time to properly charge but it may pay to simply beeline it to the auto garage for a replacement battery.
Sometimes, your battery’s so far gone that you won’t even get any cranking out of it. In this case, you’ll notice that your dash lights aren’t even turning on. In cases like this, the issue may be more complex than simply a dead battery but you can count a replacement care battery as the bare minimum of expenses you’ll be paying in this scenario.
Talk About the Weather
Cold weather can be pretty hard on a car battery. Luckily, we don’t deal with that issue so much in sunny Southern California, but it still pays to be aware of your battery’s cold cranking capabilities. When examining your battery, it should be fairly easy to find the sticker that informs you of your battery’s cold cranking amps. If you find yourself putting in an increased amount of effort to start your car up in the morning, chances are it’s time to think about replacing the battery. Exceedingly cold weather can definitely make your battery lag a bit but we’re rarely exposed to those kind of temperatures in Los Angeles. You could still have a month or two of reliable use following cranking issues but it’s often better to be safe than stranded.
Visible Inspection of Your Car Battery
Sometimes, you can check your battery’s reliability simply by looking at it. Most batteries include a transparent window that gives you a look at the fluid levels. You’ll notice metallic energy conductors through this window. If the fluid falls beneath these conductors, you’ll probably want to head to the garage for a replacement car battery as soon as possible. Other warning signs that you can find with a visual inspection include corrosion and swelling of the case. Sometimes these two symptoms appear together. Exposure to high amounts of heat can cause your battery casing to swell while corrosion leakage can damage more than just the battery (it is acid after all). At the minimum, corrosion should be carefully cleaned away or you’re running the risk of your car not starting.
A car battery has a typical lifespan of approximately 3 years. Even batteries with lengthier lives are prone to early failure, so if you’re experiencing any of the above issues, it can pay to bring your car by a reliable auto shop for testing. These symptoms can be aspects of other issues but it examining the battery isn’t just a great place to start but can also save you on unnecessary labor. Since a weak battery can hasten failure of much more sensitive and costly auto parts, staying aware of your battery’s condition is a must.