How to tell if your battery is damaged

If you’re like most Americans, then you will probably wait until your car battery is completely dead before you change it. This approach, which has been seen ever since batteries were invented, is definitely not the safest one. A survey of 1,000 drivers, sponsored by Eric’s Car Care, showed that 53% of the group waited until they were stranded by a dead battery and then had to call for roadside assistance.

Here at Eric’s Car Care, we get a lot of calls for dead batteries. Or customers asking us “how do I know if my car battery is almost dead?”. And more often than not, the battery is already dead.

Bulging Battery Case

Extreme weather–including both hot and freezing temperatures–can cause the battery case to start swelling up. The result is that the battery inside the case ends up dying and needs to be replaced. This is one battery problem that should just take a quick glance under the hood to notice, so it’s pretty clear when the car’s owner knows what to look for.

If there is a strange smell coming from under the hood of the car, it could be due to a battery problem. This is because the battery may be leaking, causing a rotten egg smell. Not only does this issue require a new battery, but it could also affect other engine components, since sulfuric acid that leaks from the battery can quickly corrode car parts.

Can you drive with a bad alternator or battery?

While your car can run with a faulty alternator for a short period of time, doing so includes risks and can be dangerous for you and everyone else on the road. Driving on a bad alternator can cause a variety of issues in other parts of your car, including the engine and electrical components. Also, your car’s battery will deplete eventually, causing your car to die. If you don’t have the resources available to jump your car and find yourself in a remote area, this could leave you stranded. Your vehicle can also lose power on its power steering, which can result in you losing control of your car. For these reasons, it’s best to get your alternator fixed to protect yourself and other drivers on the road.³

Fixing your battery or alternator can be an expensive repair. See how you can find the right mechanic to work on your vehicle. Make sure you have roadside assistance so you can get help if your car won’t start.

This Article Contains

  • 10 Signs Of A Dead Car Battery
  • How To Jump Start A Dead Car Battery (Step-by-Step Guide)
  • 7 Dead Car Battery FAQs
    • What Causes A Dead Car Battery?
    • Why Does The Starter Motor Grind Or Click?
    • Why Does The Battery Die Again After A Jump Start?
    • Can I Recharge A Dead Car Battery?
    • When Is A Dead Car Battery Truly Dead?
    • What Are The Signs Of A Bad Alternator?
    • What’s An Easy Solution To A Dead Car Battery?
  • What Causes A Dead Car Battery?
  • Why Does The Starter Motor Grind Or Click?
  • Why Does The Battery Die Again After A Jump Start?
  • Can I Recharge A Dead Car Battery?
  • When Is A Dead Car Battery Truly Dead?
  • What Are The Signs Of A Bad Alternator?
  • What’s An Easy Solution To A Dead Car Battery?

Electrical Malfunctions

If your power windows or door locks suddenly don’t seem as responsive as normal, your battery might be weakening. Issues with electric seats and your car’s stereo can also indicate battery issues. The battery powers all of the electrical components in your car – even your phone when your plug it in to charge. If the battery begins to weaken, it won’t be able to power these parts as well as it usually can. Test your electronic components and see if they are all having issues. Any strange occurrences involving electrical components of your car need checking out, so make sure to visit a local auto repair shop right away. You should also consider how many electricity-powered components you use regularly in relation to the last time your battery was replaced. The more electricity you use, the quicker your battery is going to drain.

In general, car batteries do not perform well in the cold. Drivers that live in regions that see snow or other cold weather conditions must be especially mindful of their car battery health during the winter. If it gets cold enough, your battery can actually freeze. Its chemical reactions will start to slow down. Maximum current is demanded from the car battery in cold weather due to slow-moving engine oil. This will quickly drain the life out of a battery as it requires much more power to start the engine. During the winter, if you begin to notice poor performance from your vehicle when starting, your battery may be weakening. According to Jeff Barron of Interstate Batteries Lab, “If it’s going to get cold, you want to get it checked. Drive it to a shop and get it checked, just like you want to check your anti-freeze.” Newer batteries can manage colder weather more efficiently, so it is a good rule of thumb to have your battery replaced by a mechanic ahead of the cold weather season.

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