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10 Signs Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced



10 Signs Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

If you’re anything like me, having to buy a new car battery is gross. I mean, it’s not like a set of wiper blades or even an air filter — those are things you can do yourself in your driveway. The battery? That requires someone to stop what they’re doing and come out and physically swap it for another one (unless you have a super fun car with a top-access battery).

It also requires some cash — not necessarily a substantial amount, but enough that you want to make sure it needs replacing before calling someone. So how do you know when it’s time for a new car battery? Here are ten signs:

1. Difficulty Starting the Car

If your car is challenging to start, it’s a sign that the battery is dying. Pull the jumper cables from your car and let it sit for 15 minutes to test this theory. Next, try to start your car again. If it cranks up with ease, it’s time to replace your battery!

2. Stalling and Sputtering

There are several signs of a dying car battery, but the most obvious is when your engine starts to sputter and stall. If you turn the key and nothing happens except for a few clicks, it’s probably time to replace your battery.

You may not even be able to get your car started if this happens, so it’s essential to check it when you’re near home or work and can quickly get help if needed!

Another sign of a failing battery is rough idling or stalling while driving. This can happen when using power accessories like air-conditioning or headlights while moving at low speeds (especially on hills).

To test whether this is due to a weak battery or faulty alternator: drive at 55 mph without any accessories turned on; if the problem persists, then it’s likely an issue with either part—in which case you’ll need professional service from an auto mechanic

3. Dim Headlights

Dim headlights are a sign of a low battery. When the car battery is low, you’ll notice dim headlights and other electrical problems throughout your vehicle. The car battery is used to power the car’s electrical systems and start the engine. You may experience dim headlights or no radio sound if it’s running out of juice.

If your headlights are dimmed, check your dashboard for warning lights indicating that something isn’t working right in your vehicle’s electrical system.

If there are no warnings on the dash or if there aren’t any other signs of trouble with your car’s electrical system (such as malfunctioning door locks), then it’s time to recharge your battery!

4. Clicking Sound When Trying to Start the Car

You turn the key and hear a clicking sound from your car’s starter motor. This could be caused by a dead or weak battery or related to something else entirely. To find out for sure, test your battery with a multimeter.

A healthy battery will produce 12 volts at rest (no current flowing) and deliver at least 9 volts with a load (current flowing). If you think the problem lies with your vehicle’s electrical system rather than its battery, have an automotive technician inspect the wiring and fuses for any damage or electrical faults that might have occurred during use.

5. Dash Warning Lights

Dash warning lights are another good indicator that your battery is failing. Check engine, battery, and ABS lights may come on simultaneously. If you see any of these indicators flash on and off quickly, it could indicate that your car needs a new battery.

6. Battery Fluid Leaks

A battery leaking acid is an obvious sign it needs to be replaced, and a vehicle with battery fluid stains in the engine compartment or undercarriage. If you notice any signs of corrosion around your car’s battery terminals, get them cleaned up immediately.

While it may seem like a simple enough task to clean up spilled battery acid with baking soda, vinegar, and water (or a similar mixture), it’s essential that you act quickly or risk permanent damage to your vehicle’s electrical system.

7. Battery Case Bulges or Bloats

If your battery case bulges or bloats, it’s time for a new one. Bulging and bloating can be caused by a failing battery, leading to an explosion that could injure passengers. Don’t risk it: replace the battery immediately!

If your car’s manufacturer covers batteries under warranty, they may cover this replacement, but don’t assume so; check with them first before replacing the battery yourself and paying out-of-pocket costs.

8. The Battery is 3 Years Old or Older

If your car battery is more than three years old, it may be time to change. A typical car battery lasts 3-5 years, depending on driving habits and climate (batteries don’t do well in hot weather). However, if you drive short distances often—say, under 20 miles per day—you could have a shorter life span.

9. The Car Won’t Turn On, But Headlights Still Work

If your car won’t start, but your headlights and accessories still work, the starter or alternator is likely. These parts are responsible for getting the engine running. Try starting the car with a jump from another vehicle to see if it helps—if not, call a tow truck!

10. Corrosion Around Battery Terminals

Corrosion around the battery terminals is one of the most common signs that a car battery needs to be replaced. If you notice rust on the posts or cables, get it taken care of ASAP—the longer you wait, the more difficult removing it will become and the greater the chance of damaging your vehicle’s electrical system.

To clean corrosive buildup from a battery terminal:

Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove loose rust around the post and cable clamp.

Spray both parts with an automotive battery cleaner/degreaser such as CRC Battery Cleaner (buy here). Let sit for about 15 minutes or so until some corrosion starts to wipe off easily with slight pressure applied by your fingernail (or other tools).

You may need to repeat this process if there’s still a lot of built-up corrosion on either part; just make sure not to let any liquid contact moving parts like those inside your engine compartment where they might cause damage such as shorting out electrical components—you’ll know if something happens because sparks will fly!


These signs point to the same conclusion: it’s time to get a new battery. Replacing your old one can give you peace of mind, knowing you have one less thing to worry about when driving.

Christian Edet is a movie and gaming freak. An experienced writer whose interests include games, cars, insurance, and tech provides relevant information to all interested. He graduated from Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, United Kingdom, and studied Business Information Systems (BSc.)