New Car Battery? The last thing you want when you’re trying to get around Long Beach is for your car battery to die when you need to get somewhere important. With this in mind, there are some warning signs of a weakening battery that you should pay attention to, before it fails completely and leaves you stranded.
The usual warning signs of a soon-to-be dead battery are:
- An engine slow to crank
Getting your engine in motion takes a lot of power, and that power is produced solely by your vehicle’s battery. Once your engine is started, the alternator keeps the battery charged and provides power to your engine and accessories, but when you first start your engine, the power comes from the battery alone. If the battery’s power is getting weaker, the engine may start cranking more slowly than usual. It is important that you notice this, because you will often only get one start before the battery is too depleted to start your engine again. If the engine does not crank at all, most vehicles make a rapid clicking sound, showing that the power is too low to crank the engine.
- Electrical issues
Besides starting your engine, the battery also needs to produce enough power to run various electronics in your vehicle. Modern cars have a large number of electronic accessories such as power windows, power seats, audio systems, windshield wipers, dashboard lights, headlights, and more. All of these use electricity from your vehicle’s battery, and if they are behaving abnormally it could mean that your battery is on its last legs.
- Warning light
Most cars have a warning light on the dashboard that is usually in the shape of a battery, with a + and – sign. This will light up if the battery is not being charged properly – usually due to alternator problems – or if there is an internal problem with the battery. Like the check engine light, the battery warning light does not tell you the specific problem, but only that there is something wrong with the electrical system. If the light comes on, you should get your vehicle inspected to determine the specific cause of the problem instead of replacing parts without knowing for sure if they are even faulty.
- Swollen battery case
If your car battery is repeatedly exposed to extreme temperatures, it can freeze, swell, or bulge, and will not work anymore. Freezing and swelling from excess heat often results in an electrically dead battery that cannot be recharged. If you notice that your battery is swollen, even if it still functions, it may no longer be safe to use, and you should replace it.
- Old age
The average car battery lasts about four to five years. Once your battery hits four years old, it is a good idea to get it tested by a professional to see how much longer it can last. If you do not know how old your battery is, the date of manufacture should be shown somewhere on the battery case.
- Abnormal smell
When a battery has been frozen, overcharged, or has an internal short, it may vent sulfuric gas, emitting a rotten egg smell. If you notice a rotten egg scent under the hood of your vehicle, you should have your battery inspected as soon as possible. Sulfuric acid leaking from a damaged battery can eat away at other engine parts and cause corrosion, something that you want to avoid at all costs.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or otherwise suspect that you have battery problems, you should come in to Orozco’s Auto Service of Long Beach, or give us a call at (562) 427-4256.