Getting stranded with a dead battery in an unfamiliar place is always inconvenient, but getting stranded with a dead battery in the middle of winter can be dangerous. Thankfully, batteries usually give us a few warning signs that they’re about to fail, so you can get a replacement battery before you’re stranded. Watch for these five telltale signs of a bad battery so you aren’t caught out in the cold!
1. Dim headlights
If your car battery is failing, it’s not going to be able to fully power your vehicle’s electrical components – including your headlights. If you notice that your headlights seem dim and weaker than usual, take note! Not only is the reduced light a safety issue, it also means your car battery is almost kaput.
2. Clicking sound when you turn the key
When you turn your key in the ignition, your car battery sends a current to an electrical component, called the starter solenoid, to get things going. A failing battery will have difficulty performing this function and the electrical current sent to the starter will be weaker. When the starter receives reduced or insufficient power from the battery, it often makes the clicking noise you’re hearing.
Pro-Tip: Remember, jumpstarting can bring a dead battery back to life temporarily, but it isn’t a long-term fix. Make sure you understand how to jumpstart your vehicle if you’re stuck somewhere with a dead battery, but don’t plan on relying on this for long!
3. Slow crank
Drivers become attuned to the normal sounds of their vehicles. If you notice that your engine cranks more slowly or sluggishly than normal when you turn the key, your battery may be nearing its death. Don’t ignore this red flag!
4. Needing to press on the gas pedal to start
You shouldn’t need to give your car gas to get it to start. If you find that your car is only starting when you press your foot on the gas pedal, you may be dealing with a failing battery.
This is one warning sign you can’t miss! A failing car battery can cause intermittent sparks. These sporadic sparks can lead to fuel accumulating in the cylinders. When this built up fuel is ignited, it’s ignited suddenly and with increased force, causing your car to backfire. Keep in mind that backfiring can be a symptom of several different problems, so a battery test is key here!
If you can’t bring your car in for a battery test for whatever reason, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to avoid a totally dead battery. One helpful trick? Cleaning your batteries! Cleaning off corrosion around the battery terminals can help re-establish a connection until you can get your battery tested and/or replaced.
A dying battery may not seem like an urgent safety issue, but a completely dead battery certainly is. If you notice any of the above signs, get a replacement battery before it’s too late! Stop by your nearest Tires Plus for a free battery test to see exactly how much life is left in your battery and – if needed – buy a replacement battery!