5 Signs You Need A New Car Battery

The car's battery is primarily used to provide the initial spark that starts your vehicle, but it may also supply a trickle of power to the headlights and other parts of the electrical system. A failed battery means you can't drive, so it's helpful to know the signs so you can have it tested prior to a complete failure.

1. Sluggish Starts

Ideally, when you turn the ignition key the engine springs to life immediately. If your battery is starting to fail, the engine may turn over slowly or even turn over a couple of times before firing up. In some instances, the key may only click the first few times you turn it before finally turning over the engine. All of these are warning signs that something could be wrong with the battery.

2. Dim Lighting

If your headlights seem to be dimmer than they used to be, the problem may not be the light bulbs. As a car battery fails, sometimes the first place you notice the weakening charge is in the headlights. They may be consistently dim or they may only seem to dim when other electronics are in use, such as the windshield wipers or radio. 

3. Frequent Jumps

The need for an occasional jumpstart doesn't necessarily mean that there is a problem with the battery. Leaving a light on, or a door ajar, can drain even a brand new battery. It's a problem if you are having to get jumps often, or if the car will only start if you have it jumped first. 

4. Key Failure

Many modern cars use an electronic key or key fob to unlock the doors or arm the alarm remotely. If you are using the fob and the car isn't responding, there is likely a battery issue somewhere. The problem could be as simple as needing to replace the fob battery, or it may be time to have the car battery replaced. Testing the car battery for a charge can help you determine if it is the cause.

5. Physical Issues

It's a good idea to look under the hood occasionally to perform a visual check of the battery itself. If the battery appears swollen or if it is leaking fluid, then you need to replace it immediately. Not only is failure imminent, a swollen or leaking battery is dangerous.

Take your car into a mechanic for car battery testing. They can verify that the issue is with the battery and not being caused by an alternator or wiring issue. For more information about battery testing, contact an auto service center or mechanic in your area.