8 Unmistakable Signs Your Car Battery Is Failing

  • May 13,2024
5 Unmistakable Signs Your Car Battery is Failing 5 Unmistakable Signs Your Car Battery is Failing

Getting stranded with a dead battery in an unfamiliar place is always inconvenient. Thankfully, batteries usually give us a few warning signs that they’re about to fail, so you can get a replacement battery before you’re stranded. Watch for these eight telltale signs of a failing battery so you don't end up stranded on the side of the road!


Like all components in your car, your battery has a limited lifespan. Most car batteries last between 3 to 5 years, depending on factors like driving habits, climate, and maintenance. If your battery is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, start monitoring it closely for signs of failure. To find the age of your battery, inspect the casing for a sticker with date information printed on it.


If your car battery is failing, it’s not going to be able to fully power your vehicle’s electrical components – including your headlights, radio, air conditioning, and power windows. As the battery's capacity diminishes, it struggles to meet the demands of these electrical accessories, potentially resulting in reduced performance. So, if you notice these features operating sluggishly or your headlights seem dim and weaker than usual, take note! Not only is reduced light a safety issue, but it may also mean your car battery is almost kaput.


When you turn your key in the ignition, your car battery sends electrical current to an electrical component, called the starter solenoid, to get things going. A failing battery will have difficulty performing this function, and the electrical current sent to the starter will be weaker. When the starter receives reduced or insufficient power from the battery, it often makes the clicking noise you’re hearing.



Pro-Tip: Remember, jumpstarting can often bring a dead battery back to life temporarily, but it isn’t a long-term fix. Make sure you understand how to jumpstart your vehicle if you’re stuck somewhere with a dead battery, but don’t plan on relying on this for long!


Drivers become attuned to the normal sounds of their vehicles. If you notice that your engine cranks more slowly or sluggishly than normal when you turn the key, your battery may be nearing its demise. Don’t ignore this red flag!


Your vehicle may be equipped with a battery or charging system warning light on the dash. When this light illuminates, a battery or charging system issue has been detected. Do not ignore this light. Stop by Tires Plus and have your battery and charging system inspected by a professional.


If you're having to jumpstart your car more frequently than usual, your battery may be struggling to hold a charge. Over time, a battery's ability to hold a charge can weaken due to factors like age, extreme temperatures, or even parasitic drain from accessories like the radio or dome light. While jumpstarting your car can be a quick fix for a dead battery, it’s not a long-term solution and won’t address the underlying issue. If your battery is feeling drained more often than not, you may want to stop by Tires Plus for a free battery check. Our technicians can help get to the root of the problem. 


A swollen battery case is a serious red flag you shouldn't ignore. Battery swelling is often caused by excessive heat buildup within the battery, which can occur due to overcharging or prolonged exposure to high temperatures. A swollen battery case can lead to leaks, which can not only damage surrounding components but may also pose a safety hazard. If you notice any bulging or swelling of your battery case, have it checked out by a professional immediately.


Take a peek under the hood. If you notice fluffy blue buildup on your battery terminals, trouble may be brewing. If there's a clear film across the top of the battery case, this could also point toward a battery issue. These visual cues might suggest that the battery is leaking battery acid or emitting acidic fumes. Not only does corrosion hinder the battery's ability to conduct electricity effectively, but it can also cause long-term damage if left unchecked.


If you can’t bring your car in for a battery test for whatever reason, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to help avoid a totally dead battery. One helpful trick? Cleaning your batteries! Cleaning off corrosion around the battery terminals can help re-establish a connection until you can get your battery tested and/or replaced.

A dying battery may not seem like an urgent safety issue, but a completely dead battery certainly is. If you notice any of the above signs, get a replacement battery before it’s too late! Stop by your nearest Tires Plus for a free battery test to see exactly how much life is left in your battery and – if needed – buy a replacement battery!

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