It’s a classic setup. You’re late to work, and the car won’t start. Dead car battery. Again. You hurriedly connect the jumper cables with a practiced efficiency. Soon, you’re up and running.
While jump-starting your car may get you to work, it’s usually best to find out why your battery is dying and deal with the issue, before you end up stranded or other issues arise, like an alternator repair.
The battery is a critical part of starting and powering a vehicle. It provides the zap of electricity needed to put all the rest of the electrical components to work. However, like other kinds of batteries, they aren’t made to last forever, and will need to be replaced from time to time.
1. Your Vehicle Struggles When Starting
One of the most clear-cut signs that you need a car battery replacement? You are having trouble getting your car to start. Over time, the components inside a car battery wear out and become less effective. When this happens, it takes the battery longer and longer to receive a charge from the alternator. This means waiting a few more seconds for the engine to turn over.
Don’t wait for your battery to completely die before replacing it, as you could easily become stranded with a non-starting engine. If you are noticing a slow start or weak start, your battery is probably dying. If you are hearing a clicking sound when you try to turn the engine over, your battery is probably already dead. Bring your car in to us as soon as you notice difficulty starting your engine.
2. Your Car Battery Struggles in Cold Weather
In general, car batteries don’t perform well in the cold. Here in Virginia, where we see snow and other cold weather conditions, we have to be especially mindful of our car battery health during the winter. If it gets cold enough, your battery can actually freeze.
In cold weather, your battery’s chemical reactions will start to slow down. Cold, slow-moving engine oil demands maximum current from the car battery. This quickly kills a battery as it requires much more power to start the engine.
During the winter, if you begin to notice poor performance from your vehicle when starting, your battery may be weakening. Newer batteries can manage colder weather more efficiently, so if you’ve been putting it off, it is a good rule of thumb to have your car battery replaced by a mechanic ahead of the cold weather season.
3. Your Car Has Been Sitting for Too Long
If you leave your vehicle for an extended trip out of town, it could have a dead battery when you return. While you might think that driving frequently negatively impacts the health of your battery, the opposite is often true. Your battery recharges while you drive, which means an extended period of unuse could deplete its charge.
If you’re out of town and left your vehicle sitting idle, consider asking a roommate, friend, or neighbor back home to make sure it gets a spin around the block every once in a while to protect your battery and avoid a car battery replacement.
4. Electrical Malfunctions in Your Car Battery
If your power windows or door locks suddenly don’t seem as responsive as normal, your battery might be weakening. Issues with electric seats and your car’s stereo can also indicate battery issues. If your headlights seem unusually dim and weak, especially when starting the engine, it may mean your battery is on the way out, or you could have a faulty alternator, requiring an alternator replacement. Interior lights may also appear more dim than usual or might start to flicker when the car is idling or starting.
The battery powers all of the electrical components in your car – even your phone when you plug it in to charge. If the battery begins to weaken, it won’t be able to power these parts as well as it usually can. Test your electronic components and see if they are all having issues.
Any strange occurrences involving electrical components of your car need checking out, so stop in to see us at Mission Auto Repair. You should also consider how many electricity-powered components you use regularly in relation to the last time your battery was replaced. The more electricity you use, the quicker your battery is going to drain.
5. Your Car Battery Triggers a Dashboard Light
Wouldn’t it be easier if your car told you when it needs a car battery replacement? Thankfully, most newer cars do just that. A dashboard battery light illuminates when your vehicle senses a battery or starting issue.
When all else fails, you can also rely on the age of your battery to provide an estimate of when it may need to be replaced. The average car battery will last three years, though this could be affected by your battery brand, vehicle type, area’s climate, car care, and driving patterns.
Keep an eye on your check engine light. If the warning lights on your dashboard are suddenly illuminated, don’t ignore them. This can indicate that there is a problem with the battery or one of the vehicle’s computers. It could mean the alternator is no longer returning charge to it, or it could mean the battery has weakened and worn down. Either way, it is important to consult with a master mechanic. Even if it is signaling a different issue, we can test the battery and make sure it’s working at full capacity and output.
Car Battery Replacement and Alternator Repair at Mission Auto Repair
If you are experiencing battery issues, contact the experts at Mission Auto Repair. We work on all major makes and models and offer a full range of automotive maintenance and repair services, including battery replacement or alternator repair. Come on by or give us a call at (540) 546-3547.