Whether you drive a brand new car or a decades-old jalopy, when your battery dies, you are not going anywhere. Few things are as frustrating as heading out to the garage and discovering a dead battery.
That sinking feeling when you turn the key and hear only silence is a familiar one for most drivers, but you do not have to suffer the same fate.
If you know what to look for, you can probably spot the signs of a weak battery early, long before that dreaded silence takes hold. Here are seven warning signs that could mean your car battery is on its last legs.
Hard starting is a classic sign of an impending battery failure. If your vehicle is harder to start than it used to be, it is time to make an appointment with your mechanic.
You might think that your car stereo is just being quirky, but malfunctioning electronics could be a sign of battery trouble. Pay attention to these seemingly small things, and take the warning for what it is worth.
If your nighttime driving has suddenly become more difficult, the problem could be with your battery. Dim headlights could indicate a failing battery. More importantly, the lack of light can put your safety at risk.
Even the best battery has a limited lifespan, and keeping track of its age is very important. Your battery should have a sticker that indicates when it was purchased, as well as a rating for the number of months it should last. If time is getting short, you need to have your battery tested right away.
If the fluid level in your battery is low, it may be time for a new one. A low fluid level is a classic early warning sign, and one you should not ignore.
Watch out for corrosion around the battery terminals and connections. That corrosion could be an early warning sign that you need a new battery.
If your battery is getting ready to die, you may notice a swelling in the battery case. Check the case each time you open the hood, and have the battery tested if you spot the telltale swelling.
The best time to spot a battery problem is now, before your car refuses to start. If you think your battery is on the cusp, there is still time to have it tested. If the battery is fine, you can drive off with peace of mind. If not, you can drive out with a brand new battery.
If you are shopping for a new batter, read Best Car Battery Buying Guide by Consumer Reports.