According to most automobile experts, a car battery could last up to 5 years with proper care, good maintenance, and depending on the brand. Like other types of batteries, car batteries are rechargeable but they are not a renewable source of energy.
Just like the batteries on your mobile phone and laptop, car batteries eventually break down and need to be replaced after years of use. However, a car battery’s average life can be shorter than expected due to some issues.
In this article, we will figure out some car battery issues, how this type of battery powers your car, factors that affect the life of car batteries, the tell-tale signs that your battery is dead (or dying), and how to remove or change a car battery, among other questions most car enthusiasts always ask.
A car battery does so much in an automobile that if you don’t have it, you can’t run it. The battery provides electrical current to an automobile by feeding electrical current to the starter that runs the engine during a start-up.
The moment the engine runs, the power for the car’s electrical systems will be supplied by the alternator. The alternator charges the battery while the engine is running and supplies additional electrical power for the car’s other electrical systems.
Sometimes, a car battery drains and you don’t know why. Also, a car battery suddenly died just a night after you parked it on your garage and you don’t even get a hint why this happens. An aging car battery, just like you and me, experienced some issues and problems before it finally ‘dies’.
However, even those newly purchased or replaced car batteries may experience bad symptoms even if the new battery is still months old connected into your car. Here are some of the usual problems or issues car owners experienced with their battery weeks or months after it was first installed or if they haven’t remembered, the battery had been there for quite so long.
Car batteries usually have a transparent casing where you can see it’s fluid (electrolyte) level. The fluid level should not be below the lead plates where the conductors are located. When the fluid level is below these plates, better check and test the battery’s charging system.
When you have a low charged battery, the ‘check engine’ light may illuminate to warn you of the situation.
If you noticed that your battery’s casing is bulging, the most possible culprit is the heat. When a battery casing bloated, it reduces the life of the battery.
No matter how good your car battery is, a car battery acid leak on its terminals are a normal occurrence. If your car battery leaks, the acid may cause the cables and terminals to corrode over time then you will suffer poor starting. The gunk or dirt must be removed and cleaned.
If your car takes longer than usual when starting. You can also feel a slow cranking of the engine, you might have a weak battery.
When you haven’t realized that your battery is old enough and it probably surpassed its prime. A car battery can last well over 3 years but it is recommended to check its condition yearly when it reaches the 3-year mark.
If your car battery won’t hold a charge or the car battery keeps dying, there sure is something wrong with the battery. There are several reasons why your battery might have a short life, read some of the most compelling causes that can trigger a shorter lifespan to your car battery.
Your car needs a certain type of battery that depends upon the model and size of your vehicle, just like two flashlights that require different sizes of batteries. If you use a battery with smaller specifications (like voltage input and output, amperage, and other specs), this will naturally result in a shorter lifespan.
If you are wondering what the best replacement battery for your car, ask your dealer or retailer.
A battery works better in countries with a colder climate than those in tropical regions and hot countries. It is because batteries exert more effort in conducting electricity when it is hot.
So car batteries tend to last longer in cold weather. Another reason is that when the battery gets extremely hot, the fluid inside the cell evaporates faster. When the liquid inside the battery reaches a low level, there is a big possibility of damage to the internal structure of the battery.
An alternator with a bad or faulty diode will not perform well. This will result in discharging the battery instead of charging it because the current will flow in the opposite direction. The battery will then be drained instead of being charged.
That’s right! Even your driving habits can cause a short lifespan to your car battery and other issues. The frequent starting of the engine (on-off-on engine cycle) can drain the battery. Furthermore, the urge to use the car’s recreation systems, such as stereos and speakers, radio, and other entertainment systems will require the battery to work harder. If you want car speakers and woofer systems that require minimal power, check out these tips
Grease, dirt, and corrosion are the number enemy of your car battery. The build-up of dirt and grease (oil) on the battery’s terminals will lessen the flow of current when charging. This results in draining and will cause the battery to fail suddenly.
If you are charging the battery while your lights are on, a power adapter plugged in, and other electronics (such as radio and car speakers) are in use, you are committing a big mistake! This poor charging habit will drain the battery faster.
Did you experience your car battery won't jump-start? Or the battery is not charging at all? However, some symptoms of a dying battery are not always present in some situations.
Well, better read these tell-tale signs that your battery is dead and need replacement. One or more of these symptoms may exhibit a dead battery most of the time and the best thing to do is to replace it with a new one and not a used one.
When your engine cranks slowly while the starter motor sounds struggling, or the engine cranks a few times and suddenly stops, then the battery is most probably dead. However, if the starter cranks at a normal speed, you may have a spark plug issue.
One of the most probable causes of this issue is the one called parasitic drain. The parasitic drain might be draining your battery overnight. The draining usually happens when you are charging but you have the security alarm, radio preset, or clocks running after the engine is turned off.
This is an indication of an already dead car battery. If you want to make sure, you can check the starter, ignition switch, and other essential components that run the engine.
This is one case of a dying battery (in some cases, the battery is already dead) when headlights are pale or dingy. Probably, your radio won’t be turned on and the vehicle can’t start at all.
If the dome light appears dim, you might have a dying battery. But if you don’t hear any door chime or no dome light at all, your battery is most probably dead.
If you notice a pungent or a rotten egg smell in your car battery, it is probably starting to die out. The chemical odor (usually sulfur) may indicate that the battery is badly leaking of acid, hence the stinky smell.
Sometimes the leak is extremely bad that causes severe corrosion around the posts (terminals). The grime should be removed and cleaned. If the gunk has been removed but still the car won’t start, the battery might be dying.
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A car battery is recharged by the alternator while the vehicle’s engine is running. But do you know that frequent short trips (those that last less than 20 minutes) can substantially decrease the life of your battery?
So next time, avoid those short trips if not really necessary to enhance the life of your battery.
Watch this video on how to properly jump-start a car:
Changing a car battery is not as hard as you may think. You can do it in just 7 quick and easy steps, but you must do it carefully as batteries contain hazardous acid (can burn skin or eyes).
Make sure that you are wearing proper safety gear before removing the battery.
Note: If you feel uneasy or in doubt in removing and replacing your car’s battery, you can always seek the help of a professional mechanic.
For good visual instructions on how to replace or change your car battery, please watch this video:
Did you enjoy this tutorial?
Removing a car battery yourself is quite interesting to do, especially if you want to personally know things about your car. Even first-timers can easily remove and replace a car battery but they must do it with utmost care because this type of battery contains acid that is too risky to handle.
Most importantly, knowing car battery issues will not only save you money but also precious lives and properties while you are on the road.
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