5 Symptoms of a Bad Battery in a Car

As you turn the key to start up your vehicle’s engine, the battery of the vehicle produces an electrical current which goes into the ignition system and starter motor. If another current is needed which the alternator cannot provide, then the battery will provide this extra current. After all, the battery is the vehicle’s reservoir of electricity.

The lead-acid storage battery, aka the automotive battery, generates the voltage needed to start the vehicle and then delivers it. The action of this electrochemical device is reversed as the vehicle runs the battery. As a result, the battery gets recharged so it can continue to service the vehicle for years.

Bad Battery Symptoms

If your battery is starting to go bad or fail, there are some recognizable symptoms to look out for. Once you experience these symptoms, you should replace your battery right away. Otherwise, a bad battery will cause extra problems in your vehicle that will cost you more money to fix.

1) Warning Light for Battery

On the dashboard, you should see a battery warning light come on if you have a bad battery. The light should be shaped to look like a battery and it will turn on if the battery is not recharged adequately or the battery has some internal issue. Alternatively, this warning light could mean there is an issue with the alternator or any area of the electrical system. The best thing you can do when this light comes on is to take it to the mechanic and have them inspect the electrical system of the vehicle.

2) Engine is Slow to Crank

If it takes longer than usual to start your car, this is an early warning sign that your battery is almost dead. You’ll experience a long whirr as you try to start the car. The next thing you’ll know, the electronics of your vehicle will not power on either. A failed battery is often the cause of a slow engine crank. So, if your car still turns on after it whirrs for a little bit, then take your car to the mechanic and have them replace the battery before all the electronics in your vehicle stop working.

Aside from the whirring, you could also verify the battery is bad by checking the level of battery fluid and seeing if it’s low. You may also have a battery case which is swollen too. Of course, the most easily recognizable sign is the smell of rotten eggs after you lift the hood up. This smell is the result of sulfur leaking out of the battery. This causes the cable connections to have corrosion form on them. This corrosion needs to be cleaned prior to starting the vehicle.

3) Smell of Rotten Eggs

Most car batteries contained a combination of sulfuric acid and water. When the battery starts to get worn out, both elements of the mixture could evaporate and cause problems for the rest of the mixture. As a result, the battery will begin to boil from overheating and cause that horrible rotten egg smell to fill the air around it. You may even see smoke come out if it gets bad enough.

4) Problem w/ Electrical Components

The battery of a car needs to do more than just power the engine. It also has to power the electrical components of the car as well. These days, cars are loaded with all kinds of electrical components and accessories. You have power seats, power windows, dashboard lights, radios, windshield wipers, and headlights. These all function from the power of the battery. If they stop working, then that is a sign something is wrong with the battery.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of Low Transmission Fluid

5) Bloated Battery Case

The battery in an automobile exists inside of a box. This battery goes through a chemical reaction to provide power to the vehicle. However, there could be situations where the chemical reaction doesn’t perform as it’s supposed to. Perhaps there is too much cold or heat around the battery which is causing this to happen. If that’s the case, the sides of the battery (which are normally flat) will start swelling up. This is often the case for people who live in colder regions and don’t drive their vehicles very much. What happens is their car batteries begin to freeze up and then swell because they haven’t been turned on in so long. This will result in the battery needing to be replaced because once the battery swells, you mine as well kiss it goodbye because it’s dead.


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