Car Battery – What Should You Know


The car battery is actually the heart and soul and when it comes to batteries, knowledge is power. You would never want to be stranded with a dead battery.


If you are well versed with the electrical system and the car batteries, you are very less likely to get stuck. Though the car battery lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years, exposure to extreme elements and driving habits can shorten the life of the car battery.

How does the car battery work?

The electricity from the car battery powers all the electrical components in the vehicle. Without the battery, the car would not start. A chemical reaction offers the electrical energy that puts the car in action by delivering voltage to the starter.

Not only that, but the battery is also responsible for keeping the voltage stable. Though the battery is small, the power provided by the battery is huge.

Would there be any warning signs given by the battery?

There could be various indications that a replacement might be needed by the battery:

A slow engine crank

The cranking of the engine would be much more sluggish and would take a longer time to start than usual. It would also make the weird sound for a longer time.

Check engine light

Sometimes the check engine light appears when the battery power is weak. The system indicator lights, like the ‘check engine’ and the ‘low coolant’ lights turning on could mean that there is a problem with the battery.

Low battery fluid

The car batteries generally have a part of the casing that is translucent which allows you to keep an eye on the battery fluid. They can be inspected by removing the black and red caps if they are not sealed.

Swelling battery case

If the battery looks puffed up, it might indicate that the battery has gone bad. It might be the excessive heat that is decreasing the life of the battery.

A stinky smell

There might be a pungent smell from the battery, the odour of sulphur. The cause leaks from the battery. Leaking would also cause corrosion around the ports.

Battery older than 3 years

If the battery is older than 3 years, it is a good idea to keep an out for battery issues. Driving habits, the weather and the frequent short trips could drastically shorten the actual life of the battery.

How to decide if the battery is too old?

There is generally a four or five digit code on the cover of the battery case. The initial part is the key. You need to look for the letter and the digit. The letter is for the month and the digit for the year. A would signify January, B would mean February and so on. 1 could mean 2011, 2 would mean 2012 and 9 would mean 2009. The date is actually the manufacturer shipping date.

Also Check: Tips for Car Maintenance

The bad battery can harm the charging system and the starter by drawing excessive voltage to compensate for the lack of battery power. It might lead to the need for replacing extra electrical parts if you keep the problem festering for too long.

Also Check: Used Car Maintenance Tips

It also works the other way around. If there are flickering warning lights, it indicates that the battery power has been drained. if the alternator is faulty, the battery is momenta away from going ‘kaput’.

Also Check: Car Care Tips For Summers

If the car takes a while to start, it could also be a sign that your alternator is not charging the battery properly. You should rush to the nearest car service as you might be moments away from a disrupted car battery and alternator.

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