5 Signs Your Car Battery is Failing

Daniel McDonald
Daniel McDonald10 min read
5 Signs Your Car Battery is Failing

The car battery plays an integral role in powering your vehicle and helping the engine start. Batteries are one of the car's electrical components. It gives a zap of electricity that turns on the other electrical elements of the vehicle, allowing it to drive to work. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye to ensure it is in perfect condition.

A dead battery can lead to multiple problems, such as your accessories not working properly, dim dashboard lights, etc. People living in areas with cold weather might find themselves facing issues with their batteries at times.

The battery doesn't last forever, and you will need to look for a replacement battery after some time. But how do you find out if it is time to replace your vehicle's battery. There are a few warning signs of a failing battery or an alternator that you need to watch out for.

To help you out, we will discuss the five signs of a failing battery. But before that, let's understand what a car battery is and its role in powering the electrical components of your vehicle.

What is a Car Battery?

The car battery provides an electric current to the motor that starts the engine. It also powers the many electrical components of the car, such as:

  • Windshield wipers

  • Stereo

  • Lights

Moreover, the battery protects the computers and the entire electrical system. The battery powers other functions of the car to ensure you can enjoy your ride without any issues. A car's battery is rechargeable, and an alternator helps maintain the battery's longevity.

A dying battery will give reduced or insufficient power to the critical elements of the vehicle starting system, such as the starter motor, ignition switch, and ignition relay. Let's go over some vital parts of the battery that come into play when starting your car.


The voltage refers to the electrical potential of your battery. A fully charged battery will be at the 12.6 volts mark or higher. A drop in the battery's voltage means you will see a significant decline in the car's performance.

The interior lights will not work properly, you will hear a clicking sound, and experience other problems with the vehicle. Most cars will come with a 12-volt battery.

Cranking Power

Your vehicle's engine will require cranking power to turn on and function properly. If you live in an area with colder weather, the engine will need significantly more cranking power. Additionally, other factors like engine size, type, and temperature also determine how much cranking power is necessary.

You can check out the CCA (cold cranking amps) to learn more about the cranking power of your car's battery. It will tell you how many amps a 12-volt battery can give you at 0°F for half a minute while keeping the battery voltage at 7.2 volts.

Engine cranks are an integral aspect of your car's battery. If your car's battery is not getting enough engine cranks, it indicates that the battery is failing.

Chemical Reaction

The chemical reaction is due to the acidic chemicals that generate the energy for the battery to run. If your vehicle has a lead-acid battery, the active material will react with electrolyte (a mixture of sulfuric acid and water). The chemical reaction and the battery's voltage have a direct connection.

If the sulfuric acid's weight percentage is around 35%, the battery will have a voltage of 12.6 or higher. The concentration of sulfuric acid goes down as the battery discharges. The reason behind it is that the sulfuric acid and active material form a different compound when mixing.

Now that you have a clear understanding of a car battery, let's go over the signs that indicate your battery is failing. It will help you identify battery issues beforehand and save other electrical components of your vehicle from any damage.

Issues with Your Headlights

One of the common issues that many vehicle owners face is dim headlights. They won't have the same power as they did before. It is best to monitor the check engine light on your dashboard constantly.

If the light is on, it is a sign that your car needs a new battery. You should not ignore these dashboard lights, especially the check engine light, which tells you there is a problem in your vehicle.

Usually, a blinking check engine light means a bad alternator that cannot return charge. It also indicates the problem with your car battery which needs a replacement.

The best way to determine the problem is by visiting a mechanic. They can have a good look at your vehicle and fix the problem with your car battery or any other electrical component.

Even if there is any other issue with your car, the mechanic can take a look at your car's battery to ensure that it functions correctly.

Dim headlights are an indicator of a failing car battery. In the case of a failing or dead battery, the electrical components won't receive enough energy to function properly. As a result, you will notice dim headlights, difficulty in starting your car, etc.

If your car's headlights are not working properly, then you need to check them immediately. It highlights the imminent issues with your car battery and can result in unsafe driving conditions.

Problems With Electrical Components

Another sign to identify issues with the batteries is electrical malfunctions. If you face electrical issues, such as door locks not functioning or power windows not responding to button prompts, it is an indication that your car has a dead battery.

Moreover, seat heaters and car stereo also point out that your old battery needs replacement. Weakening battery power has an impact on the electrical parts of your car.

If you want to confirm if the issue is with your battery or the particular electrical part, you can check them individually, including your electric seats. In the case where all the electrical components are not working properly, you need to replace the old battery.

You can visit an auto shop near you to check out the components in your car powered by electricity. They can show you the battery consumption of these components from the new battery from the last one.

Not Working Properly in Cold Temperature

Car engines require more power to start in cold temperatures. It can put extra pressure on your car battery, which could completely drain it. Generally, cars don't have an optimal performance in extreme temperatures.

If you live in areas with extremely cold temperatures throughout the year, you should keep an eye on the battery light. It will help you know about your car battery health throughout the winter season.

A vital thing to keep in mind is that the battery can freeze if the temperature goes down too low. It will cause the chemical reaction to slow down, and the car will have a slow start after you turn on the ignition.

Since the engine oil is also moving slowly, the vehicle battery needs to provide maximum current. As a result, it will drain the life out of an old battery much more quickly since the engine requires more power than it did before the cold weather.

Therefore, if you are experiencing poor performance when driving your car or when starting it, you might want to check it. At this point, you should test battery tested at this point.

The mechanic can advise you to get new batteries to give electrical current at full capacity when the engine starts. Replacing your batteries will also ensure your engine works properly in the cold season.

Issues When Starting the Car with the Ignition or the Engine

Facing issues with starting your car is a clear indication that your battery is electrically dead or faulty. This problem often arises when the battery is dying out and indicates that you need to replace it.

Over the course, the critical components in the battery don't operate properly. As a result, the battery is taking longer to get a charge from the alternator. It does not have enough power, and you face difficulties when starting your car.

If you start facing this problem, you should not wait long to replace your car battery. It can become a problem if you are traveling and are suddenly stuck with a non-starting engine since the battery has completely died.

Additionally, if you hear a clicking sound, it is an indication that the battery is about to die. Many drivers don't pay attention to the sound when turning their engine over. If you hear anything other than normal sounds, such as a clicking noise, you should heed it.

It tells that your car is having a problem with the battery. Paying attention to these minor issues will help you avoid getting stranded due to engine problems.

Strange Smell

Last but not least, if you feel there is a strange smell in your car, then it is a possibility that the battery is dead. Avoid trying to get rid of smells with fresheners or accessories as it's pointing to a problem with your battery.

Smells, like rotten eggs, often come in your car if the gas in the battery is leaking. Since the batteries contain chemicals like sulfuric acid, they can leak out from an old car battery. This problem is called outgassing, and the release of sulfuric acid can be harmful to your health and car parts.

It can harm the car's critical components and wreak havoc on the engine. Therefore, it should be something that you don't need to avoid. Not replacing car batteries with leaking acids can cause serious damage to the critical parts of the car.

You will have to incur expensive repairs if you don't replace the battery. Visit the auto repair shop close to you to get this issue fixed.

This indicator is unusual, and you must not ignore any strange smell. In addition, if you have to press your gas pedal when starting your car, you might soon have a problem with a dead car battery.

The car doesn't need gas when starting, and if you have to press the gas pedal, then there is a problem with your battery. Nevertheless, a strange odor is a warning sign that you should not ignore at any cost.

How Long Do Car Batteries Last?

On average, car batteries can last for five to six years. After that, you need to replace your old car battery with a new one to enjoy optimal performance. However, various other factors can cause the battery life to decrease.

If you live in areas with extreme temperatures or a lot of humidity, it will cause the battery to wear down quickly. Moreover, if your vehicle is frequently towing other cars, it can be contributing factor that can cause the car battery to wear down quickly.

In such a situation, the car battery will have more pressure and burden on it, causing it to last only a couple of years. These are some factors that are not under human control. However, some people have experiences that they regret later.

For instance, leaving the lights on or forgetting to close the trunk or door will quickly drain your battery. Consequently, you will be left with a dead car battery. You will have to find a replacement sooner than expected.

Also, you can keep an eye on the alternator to know about the car battery's life. The alternator is an essential component and requires proper attention.

What is the Cost of Replacing a Car's Battery?

Different factors come into play when determining the cost of replacing a battery. It depends on factors, how much power your engine needs, the size, and the quality of the batteries.

Usually, the cost of a replacement battery can be anywhere from $50 to $245. For an exact price quote, you can head over to the nearest dealership or car service store. They can check your current battery and alternator condition to give you an exact amount.

Getting the batteries replaced on time will ensure the car's electronic components don't get damaged. It will save you from the huge financial burden and hassle of getting these damaged parts repaired.

Benefits of Getting a New Car Battery

Getting new batteries for your car can offer various benefits, such as:

  • Lower Maintenance Cost: Helps you to enhance the life and performance of your car

  • Longevity: The energy is used more efficiently, saving the electric components from any damage.

  • Charges Quickly: The new car battery takes less time to charge than an old one.

What are The Causes of Car Battery Damage?

A car battery can get damaged by multiple factors. Most notably, cold climates are the biggest cause of car battery damage. Whether you are living in areas with hot temperatures or cold climates throughout the year, both can harm car batteries.

The driving habits of a person can also take a toll on the car battery's health. If you leave the lights on, even if the car is idle, it will cause the battery to drain quickly. As a result, it can cause serious damage to the battery and other critical components.

Moreover, if the age of the battery is more than 6 or 7 years, it is likely going to wear down soon. Car batteries have a lifespan of 72 to 84 months and need a replacement after that time frame. If you continue to drive with an old battery, it can ultimately damage the engine or other parts.

Furthermore, deriving short distances does not give the alternator enough time to recharge the battery. The battery will start to lose its energy soon and will need a replacement.

Get Your Car Batteries Replaced Today!

Having a car gives you the peace of mind to travel anywhere at any time you want. It saves you from the hassle of going through different public transport or waiting for an Uber. However, it is equally important for you to ensure your car is in working condition.

Since the car battery is an integral part of the vehicle, you should pay close attention to it. Since it connects and powers critical components of vehicles, getting car batteries replaced on time is vital. So, check out the five signs mentioned in this article to know if it is time to replace your old car battery.

Not only will you enjoy optimal performance, but it will also ensure the car's electrical component does not inflict any damage. Consequently, it will save you from going through a massive expenditure.

These are indicators that work as signs your car battery is failing. Therefore, it can help you replace your bad battery with a new one that improves the car driving experience.