5 signs that your car battery is failing

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Having trouble starting your car? If so, your car battery probably needs replacing. If your car displays any of these five symptoms, it is likely time to change its battery.

The battery is one of the most important components of any vehicle. Without it, your car won't be able to perform any of its functions. When your car battery is worn or faulty, it will display critical warning signs to alert the driver that it requires a change.

Some of these signs, however, might go unnoticed by the average driver. Therefore, we have this list highlighting five warning signs of a dead or dying car battery.

1. Electrical components not functioning as well as before

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Are your headlights getting noticeably dimmer? Is your radio quieter than before? Does your car window take longer to wind down? If your car exhibits these signs, it could indicate that your car battery is dying.

This is equivalent to using weak or dying batteries in a torchlight. If the batteries are running out of juice, the torchlight may start flickering, and give off a weak light. Similarly, electronic components in a car will also be affected by a bad battery. Some examples include power seats, windshield wipers, brake lights, as well as dashboard lights.

If you notice these components having issues, it's important to get your car battery checked or replaced. After all, you wouldn't want to be caught driving without your headlights at night or during heavy rain. Not only is this a traffic offence, but you'll also be a danger to other road users, who might not notice your presence on the road.

2. Bad smell and corrosion

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Do you detect a pungent, "rotten-egg" smell from your vehicle's' bonnet area? If you do, there's a good chance that your car battery is leaking. Another indicator of a leaking or faulty battery is corrosion around the battery terminals. Usually found on the "+" and "–" cable connectors, corrosion affects the current flow from the battery to the rest of the vehicle. Although the corrosion can be cleaned, it's only a temporary solution to the problem.

Another thing to take note about a leaking battery is that the acid could eat away at other engine components, which will end up costing more money to replace. If you suspect that your car battery is leaking, it's best to get it checked out as soon as possible.

3. Difficulty starting your car

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Another sign of a failing car battery is a slow engine crank. This means that the cranking of your engine has become sluggish, and your car will take longer to start up. If you are struggling to start your car, book an appointment at your workshop immediately to replace your battery.

However, if there is no cranking at all from your engine, then your car battery is either dead or the power is too low to start the engine. When that happens, it will make a repeated clicking noise instead. In this situation, it's probably best to jump-start your car or tow it to a workshop.

4. Warning light in the dashboard

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One of the simplest ways to identify a battery problem is to look at your car's dashboard cluster. Most cars these days possess accurate indicators that allow drivers to identify faulty components in their vehicles. If your car's battery is running low or becoming faulty, a warning sign, usually red and in the shape of a battery, will light up in your dashboard display.

Just like the "Check Engine" sign, the battery warning light could also signify a problem with the alternator (a little onboard generator to charge the battery and power the electrical system when the engine is running). It could also indicate problems with the various electronic components of the car.

Ignoring this obvious warning sign could cost you over the long run if the problem is not remedied as soon as possible.

5. Battery lifespan

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The average car battery has a typical lifespan of three years and it is advisable to get it replaced every two and a half years. If your battery is reaching the end of its operational lifespan, you might run into problems if you don't replace it promptly.

Car battery prices generally range from PHP 6,000 to 8,000, depending on the brand, model, and capacity, though some cost less. This amount is negligible compared to the sum you might pay for more severe repair work due to a battery problem.

Even if your car is running well after the three-year mark, it is wise to have its battery checked as a precaution.

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