The battery in your car is perhaps the most important single piece of equipment under the hood, since without a properly functioning battery, nothing, not even the engine, is able to operate. This means that making sure that your battery is in proper working condition is essential to the performance of your car. Understanding what a few of the most common early warning signs associated with a car battery that has begun to fail are can make it easier for you to determine when you should head to a mechanic to replace your battery with a new one.
1. Ignition Issues
One of the first and most common signs that your battery may no longer be able to properly hold a charge is if you notice that there are issues turning the engine on. This can take the form of constantly needing a jump from another engine, the engine itself taking a while to turn over, or a persistent clicking sound that characterizes every time you engage the ignition. Taking your vehicle in for a professional inspection can determine if the battery needs to be replaced or if the issue lies with the ignition system instead.
2. Dimmed Lights
Another common and easy-to-spot sign of battery trouble is if you notice that your vehicle's headlights are extremely dim. This is because the battery is no longer able to provide an adequate amount of power to your vehicle's electrical systems, resulting in reduced performance. You may also notice specific issues with other electrical systems, like reduced range or reception on your radio, power windows that struggle to open and close, and other similar issues.
3. Physical Damage
You are also able to determine the state of your battery by simply visually inspecting it. Most batteries have a clear reservoir that you can use to determine the battery fluid level: if the level drops below the clearly marked lead plate inside, you need to have the fluid refilled and the battery tested. On the other hand, watch out for physical damage. A crack in the case can allow for battery acid to exit the battery itself, which can cause corrosion to nearby components and any other exposed metal surfaces.
This can also cause your battery to physically swell up and become misshapen. Any of these signs are very serious, as battery acid is extremely corrosive and should not be handled by anyone else but an auto repair shop. Get in touch with an auto repair specialist to determine the best course of action.