Ten common signs your car battery is dead

Nobody wants to be stranded with a completely dead car battery that won’t start again in a driveway or parking lot. Depending on your location, how frequently you drive the car, and its make and model, a battery normally lasts between three and five years. Many car owners might not be aware of how frequently they need to be replaced until serious problems emerge.

Can you extend your car warranty another year after battery jumping? We’ll talk about how to identify a dead car battery and what to look for while attempting to determine if it’s entirely gone. A bad starter or alternator can cause similar issues such as dim headlights, electrical problems, trouble starting, and a constantly depleted battery. On the dashboard, an alternator, however, frequently has a separate alternator light. Additionally, your car can make strange vibrations and noises. It might be a good idea to check your alternator concurrently if you’ve recently replaced your battery or are considering doing so.

However, a poor starter exhibits a whole different set of signs. For instance, when you try to turn the key, you frequently hear a single click rather than several quick clicks. The motor won’t turn over on its own. When attempting to start it, you can hear a grinding sound or perhaps see smoke. Of course, there are instances when a battery is changed while these other issues persist. In this case, you should consult your mechanic.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the ten most common signs your car battery is dead.

Now let’s dive in!

signs your car battery is dead

Read more: How long does it take to charge a car battery?

What are common signs your car battery is dead?

There are a few warning indications that the battery in your car is likely to die (or has failed). The followings listed below are the common signs:

  • Ignition is not responding
  • The Starter motor cranks but won’t start
  • A sudden slower start
  • Engine start but dies instantly
  • Electrical issues
  • Dim headlights
  • The check engine light is on
  • Swollen battery size
  • The odd smell from the battery
  • Corroded battery terminals


Ignition is not responding

When you turn the ignition key, if your car doesn’t start, it most likely implies the battery is dead and the starter motor isn’t receiving any electricity.

The Starter motor cranks but won’t start

The starter motor may occasionally turn slowly, but the engine may not start. This can indicate a bad starter or a dead car battery. You probably have a decent battery, however, there are problems with the gasoline or spark plug if the starting cranks at the normal rate but the engine still won’t start.

Your radio and lights turn on, but when you press the key, you hear a buzz or click. You may also have very poor headlights. The battery’s job is to start the engine by giving the starter a full charge of high-amperage electricity. Even when the battery is low, it can frequently still provide adequate power for lights or other accessories that don’t need a lot of amperages.

Keep in mind that in these circumstances, jump-starting the car should only be done in an emergency. Do not rely on the alternator to recharge the battery; instead, have it inspected as soon as you can!

Read more: How to choose the perfect battery for your car?

A sudden slower start

Any car’s starting cadence will often slow down when the temperature drops below 20 degrees. It becomes much slower as you approach zero. Get your battery examined as soon as you can and don’t ignore it if you discover this behavior unexpectedly and the temperature hasn’t dropped—a slow, dragging start suddenly starts. The automobile won’t start at some point.

It’s possible that a parasitic drain or draw is depleting the battery when the car is parked in a slow-starting battery that appears to be able to accept a charge and test properly. The electrical system will need to be examined.

Engine start but dies instantly

This is a pretty strange problem that can occur on specific makes and models of cars. The battery will have sufficient voltage to start the car, but it will quickly stop working and won’t even idle.

Numerous things could be wrong if you experience this problem, but the first and simplest place to look is at your batteries. This is due to the fact that when a battery fails, the consistent signals it gives to the ECU may get interrupted. If the battery is able to start the car, the sensors that control engine speed, fuelling, and idle have already lost signal, so the car instantly shuts off.

Electrical issues

General electrical issues, which could essentially affect your entire dashboard or electrical system, are a huge indicator that your battery is dying. Here are a few other indications of a failing car battery:

  • You can’t turn on the heated seats.
  • Your radio or dashboard may operate intermittently or not at all.
  • The dashboard’s lights are flickering, winking, or not turning on at all.
  • Your windows’ electric systems are broken. Your sunroof can be impacted as well.
  • When you plug your phone in, nothing happens.

Of course, none of them may indicate a faulty battery, so it’s better to look behind the hood.

Read more: Most common reasons why your car won’t start

Dim headlights

When your battery is weak, your car will suddenly develop electrical problems. One sign could be a sudden decrease in the brightness of your headlights. Perhaps even blinking.

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This occurs when the battery is barely charged enough to run the headlights but not the engine. You most certainly have a dead car battery if the headlights don’t turn on at all.

The check engine light is on

The check engine light flashes or remains illuminated all the time. This light typically indicates major issues with your engine that will cost money to fix. However, you might strike it lucky and learn that all your automobile needs are a new battery.

Numerous reasons, ranging from a malfunctioning alternator to problems with the fuel mixture, could cause the Check Engine light to illuminate. If this light comes on, don’t ignore it. Hire a mechanic right now to troubleshoot it.

Swollen battery size

A defective battery is evidently indicated by a swollen or bloated battery, which is brought on by a buildup of hydrogen gases. This occurs when the alternator of the car is overcharging and the battery is unable to quickly release the gases.

The battery is enlarged, or fat. Your battery was built with a precise footprint in mind, and if it grows in size, you should be able to see it.

If your battery is swollen, the alternator’s voltage regulator is broken and has overcharged your battery.

The battery is overcharging as a result of hydrogen gases accumulating more quickly than they can be expelled by the battery. The battery is already damaged and cannot be repaired.

Read more: Understanding electric cars and how they work

The odd smell from the battery

Your battery acid is leaking if it smells putrid odor. One of the most obvious symptoms that a car battery is failing is leaking battery acid. Hydrogen sulfide gas, which has a smell similar to that of well water, rotten eggs, and sewers, is produced while a lead battery is decaying. If you observe fluid coming from your lead acid battery, it’s most likely battery acid and not distilled water. Avoid touching it.

Corroded battery terminals

The easiest way to determine whether a car battery needs to be replaced is as follows: Look where the battery is connected to the terminals under the hood (the positive and negative caps). It’s time to change your automobile batteries if you notice a blue-green powder or something that resembles crystals caked on those connections.

While dead batteries can be cleaned or wiped down, battery acid leaks are a warning indicator. It must be changed right away or very soon. For additional details on how to clean the battery terminals on a car?

Read more: How to change car engine oil?


What are the causes of a dead car battery?

There are numerous causes of a dead car battery, including the following:

When the engine was off, an electrical part (such as the headlights) continued to operate.

The vehicle has not recently been used or driven (a fully charged battery will slowly self-discharge)

The alternator of the car isn’t recharging the battery.

The battery can receive less charge due to corroded connections.

The battery may have frozen due to low temperatures during the cold weather.

The battery may have been weakened by extremely high temperatures in the heat.

Why does a starter motor grind or click?

A faulty starter motor or an issue with the starter solenoid can be indicated by ignition clicks accompanied by a no-start. If a no-start condition is accompanied by grinding noises, the flywheel’s (or the flex plate’s) teeth on the starter motor may be to blame. Continuous cranking can cause more serious, expensive damage in this circumstance.

Read more: Understanding battery used in automobiles

Why does car battery die instantly after a jump start?

After its successful jump-start, your car battery may not maintain a charge for the following reasons:

The battery couldn’t fully recharge because the automobile wasn’t driven for long enough.

There is an issue with the vehicle’s charging system, such as a defective voltage regulator or alternator.

The battery was drained because an electrical device was left on.

The battery is too old and simply unable to maintain a charge.

Can I recharge a dead battery?

The term “dead car battery” is frequently used to describe a fully discharged battery whose voltage is below the recommended 12V. To allow the alternator to recharge the battery, you can drive the dead vehicle after jump-starting it. You can also connect a battery charger to the dead battery as an alternative. Use a trickle charger if the automobile battery voltage is under 12.2V to prevent overcharging or overheating.

When is a dead battery truly dead?

At 11.9V, a car battery is considered to be totally drained. The lead plates are most likely almost completely covered by lead sulfate if the voltage falls to about 10.5V, though. A battery can sustain long-term harm if it is discharged below 10.5V.

Lead sulfate eventually crystallizes into solid crystals that cannot be broken up by an alternator current or a typical automobile battery charger if the battery is left dead. You might need to purchase a new battery at this time.

Read more: Why do you have to change your car engine oil?

What are the signs of a bad alternator?

If any of the following apply to your car you have a bad alternator:

Because of the fluctuating alternator current to the battery, the headlights are dull or excessively bright.

Regularly pauses or struggles to start

Has a broken electrical part since the alternator isn’t giving the battery enough current

Has sounds from an unaligned alternator belt, such as whining or growling

What is the easy solution to a car dead battery?

It can be really frustrating to discover a dead car battery beneath your hood but try not to let it get to you. Calling a professional to diagnose problems or even installing a new battery are simple fixes.

Read more: How much car insurance do I need?

In summary

Car owners or drivers need to consider is health and functionality of their car battery as it can leave them stranded on the roadside. There are top common signs they must notice that indicates their car battery is failing. That is all for this article, where the ten common signs your car battery is dead are being discussed. I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading see you around!