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How To Know If The Car Battery Is Dead?

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Did you regret the last time you left your car’s headlights on unknowingly? Well, we have all been there at least once in our lives. And believe us, we understand the misery of waking up to a car that just won’t start.

Leaving your headlights or interior lights on for a prolonged time can drain your car battery which can seize your vehicle from functioning altogether. But why is that?

Well, your car’s battery is like a very loyal and obedient dog waiting for its master’s orders to get into action. As soon as it receives the signal, it begins the process of creating a lead-acid chemical reaction which further produces the power the starter motor needs to crank start the engine.

Now when the battery is dead, no signals are passed on whatsoever, and the entire process halts.

Your car battery can die due to several reasons such as extreme temperatures, failed charging system, wear and tear and more. However, it can become a painful task to spot a dead car battery within time.

This is why we’ve listed the most common signs of a dead or faulty car battery to ensure you take precautions before it comes to the worst.

Let’s go ahead and discuss the symptoms one by one.

8 Common Signs Of A Dead Car Battery

1. Electrical Problems

The power which is generated by your car’s battery is what allows your vehicle to start along with other electrical components like the radio, charging ports, power windows and more.

You might start facing electrical issues with your car when your car battery starts depleting. You might also encounter a situation where the battery is supporting the engine yet the electricals are not operating as usual.

This is because your car battery has depleted to a level where it can either support your engine or take the additional load of the electrical components.

In such a scenario it’s best to look out for other possible symptoms as well since you need assurance that the real culprit here is the battery.

In case you figure out that your battery is doing fine. Here’s a list of some other components that you can have a look at:

  • tag The alternator: it offers power while the car’s engine is running and a faulty part can cause the interior and the headlights to dim and also cease the engine from functioning.
  • tag The fuse: in cases where your car’s fuses stop functioning appropriately, you might encounter electrical issues. Thus, when your car loses all its power suddenly while driving, check if the fuses are intact or not.
  • tag Starter: a ceased engine is the most common sign of a faulty starter. Though, it doesn’t impact the electrical system that much.

2. “Check Engine” Light

The check engine light on your car dashboard can come to your rescue in many cases and become your ultimate saviour. However, it is entirely upon your discretion if you choose to take its warning seriously or not.

Those who do understand the intricacies of such matters would agree that the check engine light could reflect a number of problems with different internal components of your car.

One of the many reasons it could be flashing is a problematic car battery. It could mean that your car battery is low on fluids or even a dying battery.

Weirdly enough, the flashing light could also point towards a faulty catalytic converter, broken spark plugs or even bad oxygen sensors. Nonetheless, it is one of the earlier signs that you can notice to prevent any major damage.

3. Flickering Headlights

Your car headlights will lose their glimmer as soon as your battery starts depleting. They will go dim and flicker on the road which can be extremely dangerous as they impact driving especially in foggy season and during the night time.

Getting them the required professional attention as soon as possible is what we suggest. Because it is only the beginning - soon your car will start having ignition problems and it might also stall.

4. Swollen Car Battery

Just as your phone’s battery used to get all fat and bumpy earlier when phones didn’t go all mysterious - your car’s battery can also swell. This is a straightforward ‘no’ for anyone willing to drive this car any further with a battery so worn out.

The moment you see your battery taking up more space, changing its size and looking all weird - say a final by to it. There’s is nothing else that you should be trying here as it can be extremely dangerous.

5. Slower Ignition

Another very common symptom of a failing car battery is an engine that’s slow to start. Essentially, your car engine should start immediately in one go, but if that’s not the case, the probability of something being extremely wrong with your battery is high.

However, it can also point towards a faulty alternator or starter. So ensure to find the root cause of the problem before reaching a conclusion and taking the DIY road.

6. Ceased Engine

As described above your car battery is in a way the powerhouse of your vehicle. It will generate energy and pass it on to the internal components to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride for you.

When it depletes or gets exhausted, your engine will not receive the required power and cease functioning entirely. This will become an issue for you especially if your car stalls suddenly in the middle of nowhere.

In spite of waiting for things to get worst and become irreparable. It’s recommended that you try to catch the early symptoms and fix the issue in the early stages only.

7. Smelling Car Battery

If you’ve been noticing a weird rotten smell in your car, we think you need to check what’s going under the hood of your vehicle. It will give you the surety of whether the odour is coming from the battery or not.

Usually, when your car battery starts leaking acid, a strong sulphur-like smell takes over. It can irritate you and also give you headaches if it’s too much.

A leaking car battery is a direct sign of a dead/worn-out component which needs replacement. There are no two ways here.

8. Corrosion

The acid that your battery leaks might start getting collected near the battery and other internal components of your car. This may appear as a weird blue-green powderish component which can hamper the battery’s efficiency and keep the car from running smoothly.

Usually, this component is found near the battery terminal which resultantly impacts the battery’s ability to produce charge. Therefore, there’s no way out of this situation now. You must get your car battery replaced instead of trying to work things out with this one.


Now that you’ve discovered the potential causes of a dead car battery, hopefully, you will be able to spot these early on and fix your car before it gets too late. Similarly, other car components such as engines and transmissions can also lose their efficiency with use and time.

If you’re by any chance looking for a used engine or transmission, we recommend you try Used Engines Inc. We have a huge lot and our products are quality certified too.


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