7 Signs Your Car Battery is Dying and What to Do

Top Signs Your Car Battery is Dying & Tips for Replacing It

If you catch your car battery when it’s dying instead of after it’s already dead, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress. Here’s how to spot 7 signs of a dying car battery so you can get your car's battery replaced before it's too late. 

Sturtevant Auto's junkyard in Milwaukee-area services the following auto manufacturers:

Sign #1 - Dim Headlights 

Signs of Car Battery FailureA clicking noise when you turn the key means your battery is either dying or already dead.

Testing your headlights is one of the easiest ways to tell if your car battery is dying. If your headlights dim while you’re idling and brighten when you accelerate, you likely have a weakening or dying car battery.

Sign #2 - Clicking Sound When You Try to Start Your Car

If you hear a fast, repetitive clicking when you turn your car on, it’s a sign of a dying car battery, a dirty or damaged car battery, or a faulty alternator. The clicking could be coming from the starter motor, indicating insufficient power. 

Sign #3 - Slow Engine Crank

If your starter cranks slowly when you start your car, you have a battery issue. Slow engine cranking indicates low battery voltage or a draining battery.

Sign #4 - No Chime or No Dome Lights

If you start your car and you don’t hear its regular ‘welcome’ sound many new cars have, or your interior lights don’t come on, your car battery is close to needing replacement.

Sign #5 - Backfiring

If your battery is on its way out, your car might backfire- meaning your spark plugs aren’t firing normally- causing sparks to leave a buildup of fuel in your engine cylinders.

Sign #6 - Rotten Egg Smell or a Swollen, Bloated Battery

Rotten Egg Smell 

If you smell rotten eggs when you pop your hood, your battery is leaking. You might be able to squeak by with other signs of a dying car battery, but don’t attempt to drive a car with a leaking battery- the acid leaking from the battery is a health, fire, and environmental hazard, and it can cause further damage to your car.

Swollen/Bloated Battery

A swollen car battery is caused by overcharging, which can happen if there’s an underlying problem with your alternator. Do not drive your car with a swollen or bloated car battery- it can easily explode, causing serious danger to you and major damage to your car.

Sign #7 - Corroded Battery Terminals

Greenish-blue or white dust can build up on your car’s battery, signaling corrosion. If you notice a corroded car battery, take it to the auto shop to get cleaned and ask them to inspect your battery, as a corroded car battery could be a sign of under or overcharging. 

Preserving Your Car Battery Until You Can Replace It

When your car’s battery is dying, call your mechanic if you’re unsure if your car is safe to drive and to rule out problems with your alternator. If your car is safe to drive until you can get a replacement battery, driving for about 30 minutes at a time can help keep the battery charged. Monitor your battery for signs of damage, keep a car battery charger and a battery tester handy, and avoid storing your car in the cold as much as possible.

Tips for Replacing Your Car's Battery

When you’re buying a new car battery, get a few quotes from different auto shops. Don’t attempt to install the battery yourself unless you know what you’re doing- you could cause danger to yourself, damage your car, and void the battery’s warranty. 

Ask your mechanic about the types of car batteries they carry, which cold cranking amps (CCA’s) are best for your car, and be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if the BCI (Battery Council International) number they’re recommending matches the BCI number in your owner’s manual. More reliable car batteries usually have better warranties- most car batteries last 3-5 years.

Jumper Cables for Dying BatteryYou'll want to keep a set of jumper cables regardless of your battery's charge.

Get a Cheap Used Battery from Sturtevant Auto

When you need a used car battery on a budget, Sturtevant Auto is ready to help. We have a huge selection of affordable used car batteries with a 90-day warranty to keep you moving at a price you can afford. Stop by our massive salvage yard 7 days a week and contact us to find the right used battery for your car.