You’re driving home late at night, and suddenly, your car’s headlights dim. Next, the engine cranks slower than usual. These are telltale signs your car’s battery is failing.
It’s crucial you know these early warning signs so you’re not left stranded. In this article, we’ll dive into these symptoms, what they mean, and how to fix them.
Understanding your car’s battery and charging system can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. Let’s get your ride back on track.
Visit our local auto repair shop if you are experiencing battery failure problems.
Recognizing the Early Warning Signs
Pay attention to all the early warning signs to avoid getting stuck with a dead battery.
If you’re noticing that your vehicle’s engine has a slow crank, that’s a significant red flag. It’s the first indication that your battery could be on the decline.
Similarly, if your headlights dim when the vehicle is idling but brighten when you rev the engine, your battery might be struggling to maintain a charge. This could be a result of your alternator’s poor performance.
Another telltale sign is a battery warning light on your dashboard. Don’t ignore this! It’s likely indicating a problem with the battery or the alternator.
Make sure you have your charging system checked before you replace the battery. If you replace your battery and your charging system is under efficient, you will likely have to replace your battery again.
Lastly, if you’ve had to jump-start your car more than once a week, it’s time to consult with a knowledgeable auto technician.
Swollen Battery Case: What It Means
If your car’s battery case is swollen, it’s a serious issue and could indicate a failing battery. Overcharging or heat exposure can cause the battery to swell, and it’s not something you should ignore. Swelling means the battery’s internal components are under stress, which can lead to a sudden failure. This could leave you stranded or even cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical system.
You need to check the battery’s voltage and amperage output with a multimeter, and check your load with a battery load tester. If they’re not within the manufacturer’s specifications, it’s time to replace the battery. Also, inspect the battery terminals for corrosion, which can further indicate a failing battery. Don’t forget to check the battery case for any cracks or leaks, as they’re also signs of a problem.
Slow Engine Crank and Battery Failure
Every time you’re dealing with a slow engine crank, it’s a potential sign of battery failure, and you shouldn’t overlook it. This symptom is a warning that your battery mightn’t be providing enough power to crank the engine optimally.
Battery Failure Indicators:
- Slow Engine Crank: When the engine cranks slowly when you start the car, it might indicate that the battery is weak.
- Check Engine Light: The check engine light can also come on when the battery power is low.
You need to be proactive about these signs. Regular battery checks are a must, especially before long trips. If you’re experiencing a slow engine crank, you’re better off consulting a professional. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your vehicle’s battery health.
You Notice Dimmed Headlights
Someone’s mentioned dimmed headlights, and it’s another sign you can’t ignore. When your headlights aren’t as bright as they should be, it’s often an indication of a weakening battery. You see, your vehicle’s electrical system depends on the battery to function. If it’s not providing enough power, you’ll start to notice things like dimmed headlights.
Your car’s headlights draw power directly from the battery when the engine isn’t running. If they’re dimmer than normal, it’s a clear sign that the battery isn’t supplying enough voltage. It’s not just a cosmetic issue, either. Dimmed lights reduce visibility on the road, making driving at night dangerous.
Electrical Component Failures and Battery Health
You’re now dealing with electrical component failures, which is a strong indicator that your battery’s health is deteriorating. It’s crucial to understand how these failures connect to your battery’s performance.
Here are the primary causes and effects:
- Battery drain: This often results from continuous usage of electrical components when the engine’s off.
Effect: You’ll notice a sluggish start or complete failure to start.
- Corrosion: This happens when sulphuric acid escapes the battery.
Effect: It creates a poor connection between the battery and the rest of your vehicle’s electrical system.
You need to address these issues promptly. Negligence can lead to irreversible damage, affecting your vehicle’s overall performance.
Battery Warning Light: More Than Just a Sign
The battery warning light on your dashboard isn’t just an indicator but a crucial signal that there may be a serious issue with your car’s electrical system. When this light illuminates, it’s your car’s way of telling you that the battery isn’t recharging properly. It’s not an issue you can afford to brush off. Unresolved, it’ll lead to a complete electrical system shutdown.
The culprit could be a malfunctioning alternator, a component that plays a key role in charging your battery. It might also be a belt issue, as a slack or damaged serpentine belt can’t efficiently drive the alternator. Also, corrosion on battery terminals can impede proper charging.
Don’t ignore this light; bring your car to a professional. The problem’s complexity requires expert diagnosis and repair.
AGM vs Lead Acid Batteries
Most newer model cars these days use AGM batteries. These batteries are not supposed to be charged the same way as conventional lead acid batteries. Using a standard battery charger can cause damage to your battery and can cause performance issues with your vehicle’s electronics. It is important to properly perform and AGM battery recharge before testing.
New vehicles, particularly vehicles with push start buttons, are a little more complicated when it comes to replacing the battery. The vehicle’s intelligent charging system can recognize the charging state of the battery and the charging output of the alternator. A common mistake is when a battery fails, the owner will install a replacement battery without properly plugging in a computer to the vehicle and registering (performing adaptation) the new battery to the vehicle so that the vehicle’s charging system performs efficiently and does not over or under charge the replacement battery.
The most forgotten battery is the Aux Battery! Many drivers do not know this, but if your Subaru is a 2017 or newer, chances are that it has a secondary battery known as the Auxiliary Battery. This is a small battery much like that of a motor cycle battery. This battery, in layman’s, maintains low voltage in the vehicles modules to keep these computers from completely shutting down. If the aux battery fails, you will typically see a warning light that will need to be decoded.
The Age Factor in Battery Performance
As your car battery ages, you’ll notice its performance declines. This isn’t merely an inconvenience; it’s a critical sign your battery is nearing the end of its lifespan. Observing this degradation is paramount for timely replacement and uninterrupted vehicle operation.
You’re advised to inspect your battery regularly, especially as it nears the three-year mark. Being proactive ensures your car remains reliable and ready when you need it most.
Trafton’s Foreign Auto Can Help You Fix Your Battery Problems
Should you find yourself dealing with battery problems, don’t worry because Trafton’s Foreign Auto can help you fix them. With our distinct aptitude for Subaru models, we’re proficient in diagnosing battery issues in Outback, Legacy, WRX, Ascent, or Crosstrek. Whether it’s a sudden power loss, slow engine crank, or battery warning light, we’ve got you covered.
Our ASE-certified technicians employ advanced diagnostic tools to identify the problem accurately and swiftly. You’re not just receiving a battery fix but a comprehensive service that includes checking the charging system and alternator. Age can significantly impact battery performance, but with our expert intervention and maintenance, you’ll get the longevity you expect.
Trust in Trafton’s Foreign Auto, where we combine technical prowess with hands-on experience to keep your Subaru in peak condition. Contact us today for exceptional customer service.
Exceptional services we provide:
- Maintenance Services
- Engine Light Diagnostics
- Wheel Alignment
- Brake Pad Repairs
- Battery Services
- Fluid Services
- Suspension Services
- Heating & A/C
- And More
Visit our About Us page for more information about our professional auto services.