There’s never a convenient time to learn your car battery is dead. Putting your key in the ignition or pushing the button and hearing nothing can cause an uncomfortable feeling.
Extreme hot and cold temperatures both impact a battery’s performance. In cold weather, its capacity to hold a charge is reduced, which can make it more difficult to start your car. In hot weather, corrosion is accelerated inside the battery causing water to evaporate out of the battery’s liquid electrolyte, making it more difficult to start your car.
Here are some signs it may be time to replace your battery:
1. Old age. On average, your car’s battery should last three to five years. If yours is in that age range, now would be a good time to think about replacing it. To see how your battery is holding up, stop by your local auto parts store. They can run diagnostics on it.
2. Your car is acting strange. If you’re driving down a dark road at night and you’re having difficulty seeing, it may be that your headlights aren’t shining as brightly as they should. Or if your interior lights, power windows, or radio are acting strange, this may be a sign that your battery is worn-out and doesn’t have enough power to run your car efficiently.
3. Your car is experiencing a slow engine crank. A worn-out battery will turn over your car at a slower rate. If your car doesn’t sound right or it takes longer to start, this could be a telltale sign.
4. It smells like rotten eggs. There are several reasons why you might experience a rotten egg smell. However, one of them is due to an old car battery. This could be a sign that your battery is leaking. If this is the case, get it replaced immediately.
5. Your car has been jump-started numerous times. Hooking up jumper cables and having your car jump-started doesn’t always mean your battery is in trouble. However, if it occurs several times in a month, then it’s time for a new one.
6. Excessive corrosion. Today’s batteries are mostly maintenance-free. If you notice corrosion on the battery terminals or cables, it could mean that your battery is leaking.
7. Dashboard warning light. If battery power is weak, a warning light may appear on your dashboard. In newer cars, this may show as a battery symbol. If this light goes on while you’re driving, don’t turn off your car! If your car doesn’t have a warning light but it’s hard to get it started, keep the car running until you get to your destination.
Some battery packs in electric vehicles are designed to last a decade or more. However, there have been some situations where that hasn’t happened.
If you have an electric vehicle, here are some signs that your batteries may be degrading:
1. Reduced range. If after a charge, you notice your vehicle can’t go as far as it could before, this may be a sign that something may be wrong with the battery pack.
2. Slow charging. If your vehicle takes longer to charge than it did when it was new, this could be another sign.
3. Dashboard warning light. Most electric vehicles have a battery management system that monitors the batteries’ health and performance. If you notice that a warning light is on, there could be a problem.
4. Old age. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. If your car is several years old, it may be time to have your battery pack replaced or inspected.