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Three Signs You Need a New Car Battery

Updated on October 19, 2019
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Seth Morgan is a contractor and former mechanic based out of Maine. He has taken up gardening and landscaping as a hobby.

A dead car battery can leave you stranded on the side of the road.
A dead car battery can leave you stranded on the side of the road. | Source

The battery within your car is always on, powering every single other system under the hood. Without a properly functioning battery, everything from your engine to your headlights would be unable to function properly. Just like all other parts of your car, your battery can begin to degrade over time due to regular use, and will need to be replaced to ensure that your car can continue to operate effectively and efficiently. Understanding what three of the more common signs of battery troubles are can make it easier for you to determine when you should talk to your mechanic about replacement.

Ignition Issues

One of the most common, and also one of the easiest to notice, signs that your vehicle’s battery is on its last legs is if you struggle to start your car. This can point to a battery that is no longer able to properly hold a charge, or at the very least an issue with the alternator that means that the battery isn’t being charge while you drive. Having to have your car jumped repeatedly within a short period of time is a clear indication that you should consider replacing your battery with a new model.

Physical Damage

Another sign that you should talk to a mechanic about installing a new battery is if you can spot signs of physical damage when you pop open the hood. Older batteries that have been exposed to extensive wear and tear can begin to physically morph and become damaged, swelling upwards against their restraints and developing a greenish corrosive buildup around the terminals and other exposed metal parts. Avoid touching the battery and head straight to a mechanic if possible: damaged batteries may be leaking battery acid, which can be harmful if it touches your skin, and can cause corrosion to adjacent auto parts.

Strong Smell

Another sign of issues with your car battery is the presence of a strong and overpowering smell of rotten eggs that just won’t go away, whether the windows are open or not. This is the smell of battery acid, and if you can smell it while driving or while your car is idle within your driveway, your battery is leaking a significant amount of that acid. Again, avoid touching the battery or driving at all: you will likely have to have someone come to get your vehicle in order to prevent the leaking acid from damaging other components within your vehicle.

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