We all have been there before, wondering if only we knew sooner. Fortunately, there are various symptoms that your battery may need to be replaced that you can look out for.
1. Slow engine crank. When you try to start your vehicle, the cranking of the engine may be sluggish and takes longer than normal to start. You could best describe it as the “rur rur” starting noise sound, except more than normal.
2. Check engine light. The check engine light may appear when your battery power is weak. Strange system indicator lights – like the check engine or low coolant lights – could mean an issue with the battery. Or, it could mean you need more coolant. Either way, both mean it’s time for a trip to the mechanic.
3. Low battery fluid level. Car batteries have a part of the casing that’s translucent, which means you can keep an eye on the battery fluid level. You can also inspect it by removing the red and black caps if they are not sealed. Most modern car batteries permanently seal these parts.
4. Swelling/bloating battery case. If your battery case looks like it is an unusual size, it could mean the battery has gone bad. Excessive heat can cause the battery case to swell, which decreases your battery life.
5. Smelly, rotten egg smell. If you notice a pungent, rotten egg smell (sulfur odor) around the battery, it may mean a battery leak. Leaking can also cause corrosion around the posts where the + and – cable connections are located. The build up will need to be removed or the car may not start.
6. Three years or older battery age. Your battery can last beyond three years, but at the least, you should have it inspected on a yearly basis when it reaches the three-year mark. Battery life cycles range from three-to-five years depending on the battery and the brand. Driving habits like weather and frequent short trips can shorten the actual life of the car battery.