5 Signs Your Battery is Dying

5 Sure Signs Your Battery is Dying

Man stranded by car with a dead battery
Ignoring the signs of a dying battery will leave you stranded.

You know that scene in almost every horror movie where someone is frantically trying to get away from a homicidal maniac and their car won’t start? Yes, a dead battery is a hassle--even if the only drama is that it’s a workday and your car won’t start. 

The thing is, batteries don’t usually just stop working without first giving some indication of their impending demise. They almost always give you clues that there’s a problem. If you know what to look and listen for, you can save yourself a lot of grief. 

These warning signs should tell you it’s time to replace your battery:

1. Slow cranking. You turn the key and instead of the engine firing up you get a crunk, crunk, crunk, crunk sound. Could be you have a loose connection at a battery terminal, so check that first and tighten the battery cable connection to the terminal if it’s loose.  If your battery is still slow to start the engine but you’re lucky enough to get the engine started, consider it a lucky break and make Ravenswood your first stop. 

2. Dimming headlights. If you’ve noticed your headlights aren’t as bright as they used to be, it could be an indication your battery is losing power. Batteries power all the electrical systems in a car, and if they’re nearing the end of their service life there may not be enough amperage to adequately power everything. At night, you may also notice your interior lights dim when starting up the car. Dimmer lights and slow cranking mean it’s very likely your battery is failing.

3. Warning light on your dashboard. Virtually all modern cars have a dashboard warning light in the shape of a battery. If you see it illuminated in red, that’s an obvious sign there’s a problem with your battery—although it could indicate a problem with the alternator or something else in the electrical system. This isn’t a warning light to ignore. Get your vehicle to our service center and have it checked out. 

4. Swollen battery case. Even though most people have no idea what they’re doing, they’ll pop the hood when the car won’t start. After checking to make sure the battery cables are firmly connected to the terminals, take a look at the sides of the battery. If they’re swelling outward, or cracked, that’s a sign your battery has frozen. This usually happens when it’s really cold and the battery is low on charge, although it can also happen from overcharging. Bottom line: You need a new battery…NOW!

5. Battery nearing its expiration date. In our climate, batteries usually last 3 to 5 years. If your car is kept in a heated garage over the winter, you might get 6 or 7 years out of a battery. All batteries have either a sticker or an impression in the plastic case indicating the month and year they were made. Can’t remember when your battery was put in? Look for the date of manufacture. If yours is 4 or more years old and you leave your car outdoors through winter, this would be a good time to think about replacing it. 

Get Your Car’s Battery Checked for Free at Ravenswood Auto

old car batterySuspect your battery may be going bad? Come by our New Berlin auto care center for a free battery check. We use a computerized battery tester that will show whether your battery just needs to be recharged or if it needs to be replaced. 

If all your battery needs is a recharge, we can do that. If you need a new battery, we have batteries for virtually every vehicle in stock and ready to go. Whatever you do, don’t put off having your battery checked if you notice any of the 5 warning signs covered here, or you may find yourself stranded somewhere.

Contact the New Berlin auto care professionals at Ravenswood for information on battery testing and batteries we carry.