How Do I Know if I Need a New Car Battery?

March 4, 2019

Raise your hand if your car has 100,000 miles.

Keep it raised if you have 200,000 miles.

For those of us old enough to remember, no commercial was more daunting or ominous than a car battery commercial. The setting was always a frigid abandoned parking lot (presumably in Cleveland, although they never said that officially) and it was always a worst-case scenario. You are the last car in the lot, there is no one around, there are no cell phones, and your car battery has picked the coldest night on record to stop working!

Your car battery can go out at any time – it doesn’t always have to be under these dramatic scenarios, but no matter when it happens, it’s going to be inconvenient. Our new cars try their best to give us warnings, but you know how today’s car owners are. As such, those warnings often go unheeded. Sometimes intuition can go a long way in determining whether your car battery is going to get you home or tap out in a parking lot. If you aren’t going to listen to your dashboard, then listen to some other things your car might be telling you to let you know it’s time for new battery. Here are some indicators that you might be receiving without knowing:

• The crank isn’t cranking!
One of the first things you’ll notice when your battery is about to go out is the time it takes for your car to start. If your crank time is slower than normal, that could be a sign that it’s time to bring your battery in to be tested by a professional.

• The battery fluid is low.
This is one of a few visual tests that can provide clues to the health of your battery. Most battery casings are at least partially translucent, and that means you can see the battery fluid inside. If the fluid is below the lead plates, which are energy conductors, it could be an indication that your battery is in need of being replaced.

• You see bloating.
While you are checking the fluid, you might notice that your battery casing is bloated or bubbled. If that is the case, it’s probably from extreme heat. That overheating can be an indication that your battery needs to be swapped out.

• The battery is leaking.
If you see corrosion around your posts and terminals, that could be a result of your battery fluid leaking out. Your short-term solution is to remove the corrosion and keep your terminals clean. Long term, it could mean that you need a replacement.

• It’s getting up there in age.
If your battery is older than 3 years old, you should at the very least have it inspected. It might not be time to replace it just yet, but it’s time to have it checked out!

Your neighborhood Rad Air Car Care Center is ready to help you check out the health of your battery. Bring your car in and let us take a look. If it needs to be replaced, we’ll let you know and help you find a solution. If it’s not time yet, we’ll let you know that too! We only fix what needs to be fixed and replace what needs to be replaced. And, that’s why you can trust your neighborhood Rad Air. Schedule your spring vehicle maintenance inspection today!

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