(Updated on April 10, 2020)
To start the engine and drive your vehicle, you need to crank it first. This requires the assistance of the ignition system and starter motor. However, they will need their own electrical current before they can begin to function. This is where the battery comes into play.
The function of the battery is to create this necessary electrical current for the ignition system and the motor. The electrical current gets sent from the battery as soon as you turn the key in the ignition system.
In rare cases, the battery will serve as a backup power supply if the alternator fails. But the battery won’t be able to supply the necessary amount of power needed for very long because it cannot handle this kind of energy demand.
Common Symptoms of a Bad Car Battery
Most car batteries will last between 2 to 5 years, depending on how often you drive your vehicle. If you use a lot of extra electronic accessories like the radio with subwoofer or air conditioner, they will also drain the power of the battery quicker.
Eventually, your battery will start to weaken and hold less of a charge and then finally go completely dead. It is best to replace your battery before it goes completely dead or else you could find yourself stranded somewhere.
Below are the top 5 symptoms letting you know if your car battery is going bad. Let these be warning signs that you need to get your battery replaced soon.
1) Flickering or Dimming Lights
The battery supplies the power for all the lights in your dashboard and the accessories in your vehicle. Even your headlights will require battery power too.
If any of these lights start to flicker, dim, or shut off completely, this is a warning sign that your battery is low on power. Replace it soon before all the lights stay off for good.
2) Car Doesn’t Start
You may turn the key in your ignition and get the engine to crank over, but that doesn’t always mean it will start the car. If you have a failing battery, your car will slowly crank the engine to try to start it but without success.
This problem will just occur randomly, and you probably won’t even see it coming until you’re faced with it. Cold temperatures will affect this even more.
How often do you check your battery terminals? One clear sign of an old battery is when corrosion can be found on these terminals. When a car battery has been used for a while, the battery acids will release hydrogen gas that seeps onto the terminals and causes this corrosion to form.
Some people will just say that you need to clean the corrosion off and that’s it. What they don’t tell you is the corrosion problem will continue to reappear if you keep using the same battery. That is why you need to think about replacement soon.
4) Warning Light
Most cars have a battery warning light on the dashboard. If you see your battery warning light illuminating, then you should obviously investigate the situation by using a car battery tester to see how much power the battery has left.
Keep in mind that the problem may actually be a bad alternator so proper diagnostics is necessary.
5) Engine Shuts Off
Your battery may have enough power to turn over the engine but then your engine will simply die shortly afterwards. If you find yourself having to get a jump start on a regular basis, then you really need to consider getting your battery replaced soon.
However, you may want to have a mechanic look over your vehicle and see if another component may be draining your battery power too.
Car Battery Replacement Cost
The good news is that car batteries do not cost that much to replace. You can get a new car battery from between $60 and $150 on average. Of course, if you are driving a hybrid vehicle then that is a different story.
The battery is also one of the few components of a vehicle that is easy enough for anyone to replace. This way, you don’t have to spend an extra $45 on labor costs just to have someone take out your old battery and put in a new one. It shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to do this yourself.
Many auto parts stores will install a car battery for free if you purchase it from them. Keep in mind that while all car batteries come with warranties (ie: 48 month, 60 month, 96 month), they almost never last that long.
Fortunately, most car battery brands will replace a faulty battery until about the 2 year mark and then give you a partial credit if it doesn’t make it until the warranty time frame.