Car Battery Replacement: How Do You Know if it’s Needed?
Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong?
You sleep through your alarm, your hot water doesn’t work, you’ve run out of coffee…
This is going to be the day your battery is dead and your car won’t start.
Sadly, we don’t have any tips for how to avoid bad luck or how to avoid forgetting to set your alarm – but we can definitely help with the battery. In fact, in less than 2 minutes, we can help you spot some common signs your car battery might be on its way out – and how to make sure you get a great deal if you need a new one.
Why do car batteries need replacing?
There’s a lot of science going on inside your car battery – but we promised we’d keep this short – so we won’t bore you with information about technical info about ‘cold-cranking amps’ or different battery sizes.
When you buy a battery, it’s fully charged and ready to start your car. It uses a lead-acid chemical reaction within the battery to create an electrical current to do this. When you start your car, you drain a lot of power from the battery – then, when you’re driving, the electrical system in the vehicle recharges it.
When a battery gets old, it can become inefficient – not creating or storing as much power as it did when it was new. Eventually, it won’t even store or create enough power to start your engine – and on that day, you’re going to be late for work.
The good news is – there are warning signs that’ll help you spot a battery that’s past its best – so you can act before you need to call roadside assistance.
A slow starting engine
It’s hard to say that it’s definitely your battery to blame here – but, chances are, if your engine sounds like it’s struggling to start, it’s probably not getting enough power from the battery.
A lack of power from the car battery could mean you get no electrics at all and you need jump-starting – or it might just result in a vehicle that takes a little longer to crank. Either way, it’s worth investigating before it gets worse.
Check engine light
Again, warning lights can come on for literally hundreds of reasons – but a lack of power through the electrical system is definitely one of them. Your check engine light comes on when you first switch the electrics on in your car – but if it stays on or flickers while you’re starting the car, it could be a battery problem.
Your battery’s at the heart of your car’s electrical system, so if you’re noticing electrical gremlins – especially when you’ve got a lot of electric things running (think A/C, stereo, wipers, etc) then it could be that there’s a problem with the battery holding power or recharging.
‘Furry’ battery terminals
Think back to school chemistry lessons for a second then take a look at this:
Cu (s) + 2 H2SO4 (ℓ) → CuSO4 (aq) + 2 H2O (ℓ) + SO2 (g)
You’re right! That is the chemical reaction that occurs when the copper of a battery clamp reacts with the lead in the positive battery terminal. Nice work. The result for your car? A furry, powdery substance building up around the terminal. A similar thing happens on the negative terminal too – and it’s an indication that things aren’t working exactly as they should be. It might just need a clean – but it could also be a sign that your battery is on its way out.
A strange smell
Remember we talked about a lead-acid reaction in your battery? Well, the acid in there is sulphuric acid – and when it boils, overheats or leaks, it stinks – like rotten eggs to be exact.
Leaking or overheating battery acid is really bad news – so if you’re getting a strong smell from the engine area, you need to avoid using the car and look into getting a new battery ASAP.
Experiencing any of these car battery symptoms?
Car batteries are generally expected to last around 5 years – but the different ways we use our vehicles means this can vary enormously. For instance, lots of short journeys can put a greater strain on the battery – requiring it to discharge and recharge more frequently.
Don’t worry though – it won’t be guesswork when you talk to a workshop. An experienced mechanic can run a series of simple electrical tests to quickly find out what the problem is.
Compare Car Battery Replacement Prices from local Mechanics with Auto Hero!
Whether you need help to find the right battery for your car – or you’re looking for a mobile car battery replacement, we can help.
When you use Auto Hero to get quotes from mechanics or mobile battery services near you, we’ll connect you with professional local companies that are motivated and eager for your business. No unnecessary work or inflated costs – just great service and trustworthy expert help to get you back on the road.
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