Signs Your Car Battery is Going Bad  - Audi Gilbert Service Information

When you think of a car battery, you might think of it as just a bigger version of the disposable batteries in your smoke detector or TV remote. In actual fact, it's a rechargeable battery, but you don't have to plug it in to recharge. It gets recharged by the engine as you drive.

However, the battery can only handle so much charging and discharging before it wears out and needs to be replaced. Once the battery is dead entirely, you'll need a jump start to start your car until the battery can be swapped out. Don't get yourself stranded! Instead, take a look at these 5 signs you might notice before your battery completely gives up the ghost.

Jumper cables have been hooked up to this vehicle's battery so it can jump start another vehicle

5. Your Battery Is More Than 4 Years Old

On average, a car battery's useful lifespan is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years. It's difficult to say exactly how long your battery will last because everyone's driving conditions are unique. However, if your car hasn't started up with the ease you're used to lately, and your car battery is 4+ years old, the battery may simply be on its last legs. To know for sure, stop by the Audi Gilbert service center and let us perform a battery load test.

 
A man performs a test on this battery to determine its health and longevity

4. Slow Crank When Starting

This is the sign most drivers notice first when their car's battery starts to go bad. That repetitive chirping noise that your car makes when the key is turned to start is known as "cranking." If you have to crank the engine longer and longer before it starts, it could be because of a weak battery. However, your battery could simply be low on charge due to a bad alternator, or a weak battery connection to the rest of the vehicle. The only way to know for sure is to have the battery tested. If the battery is in good shape, but the vehicle still won't start, you'll want a technician to take a close look at your vehicle's charging system and starter.

3. Difficulty Starting The Car On Cold Days

Now, this bullet point might not affect too many Phoenix-area drivers, but it's something to keep in mind if your travels take you to colder regions: on very cold days, your car battery has to work a lot harder to start your car. Sometimes a very cold temperature is enough to finish a weak battery off for good. If you know you'll be doing some winter weather driving, it's smart to test your battery first and make sure it's rated for enough cold cranking amps to start your car.

If too much of this corrosion builds up on the terminals of your battery, electrical problems could result

2. Electrical Accessories Not Working Properly

A weak battery or a poor, intermittent battery connection can cause all sorts of problems with your car's electronics. This might cause a helpful battery warning light to come on in your car's dashboard -- it might also cause problems with the stereo, power windows, lights and other components. A ground fault caused by a poor battery connection can even cause some downright bizarre problems, like accessories that seem to turn on and off at random! While such problems aren't often caused by a bad battery, electrical systems are notoriously complex. It's important to test the entire system thoroughly to correctly isolate the problem. Turn to the pros at Audi Gilbert for expert help in diagnosing your car's electrical woes.

1. Battery Case Is Swelling Or Bulging

In general, you won't need to do any routine maintenance on your car's battery. But, for the best battery performance, it's not a bad idea to pop the hood and glance at the battery from time to time.

For one, you're looking for a buildup of corrosion on the battery's terminals. Corrosion can build up as a white, blue or green powdery substance on your car's battery. This corrosion can interrupt or degrade the battery connection, leading to the issues described above.

You'll also want to visually inspect the battery's case. A leaking battery is a major safety hazard, but modern car batteries don't leak often. However, they can also be overcharged due to a faulty alternator. This will cause the battery to create hydrogen gas inside faster than the gas can be released by the battery's tiny vents. This buildup of gas can even lead to an explosion. For that reason, a battery with a swelling, bulging or cracked case should be replaced immediately.

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