Your car won't start properly without a fully charged car battery. These batteries have a finite lifespan so it's important to know the signs that you need a new one installed before you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
1. Slow Starts
One of the first signs of a failing battery is an engine that is slow to crank to a start. Sometimes the car will start after turning and holding the key for a minute or so, while in other cases the starter may try to fire but the car won't start. You may also need frequent jumpstarts to get the car running.
2. Battery Case Bloating
The battery case should never be swollen or misshapen. Not only does this impede the battery's function, but it can also lead to a bursting battery and the spillage of caustic and dangerous battery acid. A bloated case that bursts can lead to acid corrosion of nearby components in the engine compartment, not to mention the dangers to anyone that comes in contact with it. If your battery case looks bloated then replace it immediately.
3. Warning Lights
Most cars made in the last few decades will flash a warning light if the battery is no longer working at an optimum level. In some cars, this may be no more than a check engine light, while other models may show a specific warning light that resembles a small battery (a positive and negative indicator inside a small rectangle). If your car only shows an engine light, an auto parts store can use a device to determine if the battery is the cause of the light.
4. Fluid Leaks
Most modern car batteries are sealed, which means they don't need to be topped off with water and that they should never leak fluid. If you notice fluid leaking from the battery or if the fluid level is low, then it is time to replace the battery before it quits working completely.
5. Date Indicators
Batteries come with a sticker on the exterior that indicates the date of production or installation. Either written on or near the sticker will also be a lifespan indicator, which may be presented in mileage or months. If your battery is outside of the range of use indicated on the indicator sticker, then chances are you need to start shopping for a new battery. Keep in mind that determining the lifespan of the battery is not an exact science, though, as exposure to extreme temperatures both hot and cold can shorten the expected battery life.
Contact an auto battery installation service, like Electro Battery Inc., if you suspect that your car is ready for a new battery.