CarsCampers & MotorhomesAuto Buying & SellingAuto RepairTrucks, SUVs, & VansMotorcycles & ScootersAll-Terrain VehiclesSafe DrivingCommercial VehiclesAutomotive Industry

Five Signs Your Car Battery Is Dead (or About to Die)

Updated on October 13, 2016
WrenchWench profile image

Wrench Wench has worked for years as a mechanic and offers advice on repairs, diagnosing problems, and buying and selling cars.

$99 car battery at Walmart
$99 car battery at Walmart | Source

Your vehicle’s battery is like its heart: without it, your vehicle doesn't have the power to start, move, or do anything else. So it's important to understand at least a little bit about your battery and to know the most common signs that needs to be replaced.

The typical battery, in vehicles made in 1952 and later, is a “wet-cell” battery, a plastic cube containing sulfuric acid and lead, with two terminals coming out of the top or the side. This short guide should be reliable unless you have an aftermarket battery with special needs, such as a dry cell battery, or a hybrid like a Prius.

In my years as a mechanic, one thing I have learned is that an old battery or loose battery cables can cause really big problems that make it appear that something complicated is wrong with your vehicle. Even experienced mechanics and DIY'ers are sometimes stumped by a simple problem with a battery past its prime, until they realize they've ruled out all other potential problems (and then some!). That's one of those "d’oh!" moments, when you realize you could have saved yourself an hour of diagnostic and repair time, just by checking the battery and its cables.

If, on the other hand, it's obvious that your battery is dead and just needs a jump, here's what to do.

How to Jump-Start Your Car Battery in Ten Steps

  1. Park a car with a functioning battery so its front is as close to your car's front (pointing toward one another). Leave at least 18 inches of space between and never let the cars touch.
  2. For manual transmissions, place the car in neutral. For automatic transmissions, place car in park. Turn off engines, remove keys, and set the parking brake on each car.
  3. Get out your jumper cables. Make sure none of the metal clamps touch one another. Notice that each set of clamps has one red clamp and one black clamp.
  4. Open both car hoods. Locate the batteries and battery terminals. Terminals are usually covered in red or black, with a + or – sign on top. Make sure that you can identify which is positive and which is negative.
  5. Attach the red cable clamp to the positive (+) battery terminal of the dead battery. Make sure there is a solid connection to terminal.
  6. Next, attach the other red cable clamp to the functioning vehicle’s positive (+) battery terminal.
  7. Now connect the black cable clamp to the working battery’s negative (-) battery terminal.
  8. Do not connect the final black cable clamp to the dead battery. Instead, attach that clamp to an unpainted, metal part of the car, such as a clean nut on the engine block. This will help ensure a safe jump.
  9. Start the functioning car's engine. Wait a minute or two and try starting the car with the dead battery. Sometimes it helps to rev the functioning car's engine a bit. Once both cars are started, leave them running for a few minutes.
  10. To disconnect the jumper cables, start with the black cable clamps. Do not let them touch while any part of the cables is still attached to a car.

Five Warning Signs Your Battery Is Dead or Dying

  1. Your engine cranks but doesn't start.
  2. No crank, no start, no lights!
  3. One day it starts fine, then next day it won't.
  4. Cold cranking is hard work.
  5. You've jumped it a lot already.

Each of these scenarios will be thoroughly discussed below.

1. Engine Cranks But Doesn’t Start

If your engine cranks or turns over when you turn the key, but it won't start, I say the most likely culprit is your battery. It might be your starter, it might be something else, but 94% of the time, it's really your battery, even if the car is cranking fairly vigorously. Even if an ammeter (current-measuring device) says the battery is good, it can still be a few volts shy of what your vehicle needs to run efficiently.

When you find yourself with a car that won't crank hard enough to start, you'll want to use jumper cables or a jump-starter box to get it running again.

Once your car is running again, disconnect the cable, then let your engine run for 30 minutes so that your alternator can charge up your battery again.

After that half-hour, when you are stopped at home or in a safe place, do a little test. After you turn the engine off, wait at least a minute, then start it again. Wait another minute and start it another time or two, to make sure that you won't be stranded at the gas station or wherever you go next.

At this point, most batteries will have have charged themselves up from the running of the alternator and be fine for a day or two. Do NOT take that time for granted. Use it to hunt down a new battery and replace the old one BEFORE you end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.

2. No Crank, No Start, No Lights

This situation is pretty straightforward to diagnose, and it's an even stronger indication that your battery is at fault. Your battery powers all the accessories and lights in your car, especially when the alternator is not running. So if your car just seems to be completely void of all signs of life, then your battery is the first thing you should be looking at.

And be aware that in this situation, where your vehicle doesn't even have the juice to work the lights or turn over the engine, it could be a combination problem involving your alternator was well.

If the car won’t crank or start but the headlights do work, that may indicate some more interesting problem, maybe the starter or a mechanical problem in the engine.

3. One Day It Starts Fine, the Next Day It Won't

If starting is an intermittent problem for you, it's a sign that either 1) your battery terminals are loose, broken, corroded, or calcified or 2) you have a parasitic draw (your power is being drained by some gizmo that's on when it's supposed to be off, or by some wire that’s touching something it shouldn’t).

  • Check out the battery cables first, as they are usually the prime suspect and are easier to check yourself.
  • Make sure the cables fit firmly and securely on the battery posts. There should be zero play in them. You shouldn't be able to wiggle them even an inch when they are tight. Also make sure that the cables going to the terminals are not frayed or falling apart; if they are, replace them as soon as possible.

In this video, Eric the Car Guy shows you loose and corroded cables, and how they can cause a drop in power to the starter.

Parasitic draws from sources other than the battery cables are fairly common. Suspect a parasitic draw if the car starts right up if you drive it several days in a row, but then fails to start if you let it sit for a day. To investigate parasitic draw issues, see your favorite mechanic, or look at the last section of this article, and get ready to have fun with an ammeter or voltmeter, as these are the tools you'll need to check your alternator, accessory lights, fuses, radio, alarm, and all other components that might be draining your battery in secret.

4. Cold Cranking Is Hard Work

If you look at your battery, somewhere on it you should find a label stating a number for "Cold Cranking Amps.” Those amps are responsible for giving your engine enough energy to get started the first time of the day, generally referred to as "cold cranking.”

Thus it’s not surprising that an early sign that your battery is running out of life—a sign most people miss—is that you are regularly putting extra energy into starting the vehicle. You know what I'm talking about. You get in your car, you tap the gas pedal, you turn the key a few times, and all you get for the first few minutes is lots of weak rotations of the engine. After you’ve all but decided the car is going to make you late for work, it suddenly starts up and sustains an idle.

Now, what I mean by "regularly" is having to do this more than three times per week. That would be a sign that your battery is giving notice and getting ready to retire.

But keep in mind that if it’s really cold out, it’s fairly normal for your vehicle to hang back and start only with difficulty. Not only is gas hard to vaporize and oil gooey when it’s cold, but batteries put out only half their normal power when the temperature is 0o F (and only a third of their power when it's 32o F). So in the cold you may have to be patient. But if your car doesn’t go back to a reliable “cold” crank when the weather warms up, you’ll want to get a new battery within the next three months.

One more possibility worth noting is that your battery was never big enough for your vehicle in the first place. Even a well-seasoned mechanic has gotten the wrong battery for a specific vehicle, causing a wild-goose-chase investigation of a mysterious starting problem. Make sure you look up your car online, or ask in an auto parts store, to find out what level of Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and voltage your car needs to start and run properly.

5. You've Jumped it a Lot Already

I have a simple hard-and-fast rule that I follow when it comes to having to jump your battery. No matter what reason you had to do it—the battery was old, or maybe the starter, fuel pump, or alternator were bad, or maybe you left your headlights on or your door ajar all night, or you ran out of gas—the rule is this:

If you have to jump your vehicle more than three times in a single week, it's time to replace your battery.

Even a fairly new battery can turn into a dud really quickly if it has been jumped more than three times in a week. Using a jump box or jumper cables is hard on your battery. They work by figuratively "shocking" it back to life.

Now, you might think I'm crazy about replacing the battery after such a low jump count, but hear me out. One of the most common things I see happening in relation to vehicle battery problems is that the driver or mechanic will assume that because the battery wasn't old, or wasn't the specific culprit for the battery draining itself, they don’t need to expend time or money getting a new one. Then, when they try this and that to diagnose the problem, they keep jumping the battery until finally the alternator and starter go bad, leaving you with a need for an new alternator, starter, AND battery.

Save yourself the headache and just replace the battery if you've had to jump it more than three times in a week. You won't regret it.

How Long Does a Battery Last?

  • Batteries normally have a maximum life expectancy of two or three years, even if manufacturers say they will last five years or more. If anyone sells you a “super long life” model, keep your receipt and get a warranty. Especially if you use your battery for a lot of accessories (things other than starting your car) it’s unlikely to last as long as promised.
  • Optimally, you should replace your battery every two and a half years or so—before you have problems.
  • Other things can affect its lifespan, since a battery relies on other parts to do what it does. It needs help from your alternator, your starter, the solenoid, the battery terminals (which need to be clean and free from corrosion), and its own cables (which need to be intact). Though as I argue below, the problem is very often just age, I’ll admit it can be something else.
  • The age of a battery, even if it doesn't show any obvious signs of being old, can affect your vehicle in negative ways that will slowly add up to a big repair bill. That’s why I recommend replacing it before you have problems with it.
  • Your ordinary battery doesn't do so well in extremely cold weather, which may be why you have to pump the gas, or turn the key back to prime the fuel pump, or do a little dance to get the truck or car started on chilly mornings.

When Will You Replace Your Battery?

I'm glad you've taken the time to read all the way through this article and have started to consider when replacing your battery. Down below, I have some bonus advice about diagnosing a parasitic draw.

I'll Replace My Old Battery...

See results

How to Diagnose a Parasitic Draw

Because so many battery issues are caused by a parasitic draw that is slowly draining it dead, I thought you might like to see some videos that can help you finally kill that parasite!

Method 1: Use a Multimeter

As in the videos below, the fastest and most efficient way of finding your parasitic draw is to use a multimeter. Even the most inexperienced diagnostician can do this test in minutes to find out if you have a draw. Just make sure the vehicle is off, the car's negative battery terminal is disconnected, and the car doors are shut and other accessories turned off. Set your multimeter to 10 amps DC, touch the positive lead to your disconnected negative battery cable, and touch the ground lead to your negative battery post. If your meter shows anything above 50 milliamps, you have a parasitic draw. Watch the first video below to find out how to identify the fuse or relay that is eating away your battery, plus some possible quick fixes.

Eric the Car Guy Hunts Down a Parasitic Draw

Using a Multimeter to Find a Parasitic Draw From the Radio Circuit

Method 2: Use a Fuse Checker

On a pre-1985 vehicle, you can use a small probe called a fuse checker to look for draws. It's not as accurate as a multimeter, but will work just as well at finding out what is still on when your car is supposed to be off. This method can also work on newer vehicles if you don't have access to a multimeter. To use this method, simply make sure that the car is off, the door pins are all held down in the "closed" position, and your negative battery cable is disconnected.

Have more questions?

Thank you to everyone who has been so wonderful and left so many great comments and questions. Please, if you need more immediate information or advice and you aren't able to check in with your mechanic, feel free to email me directly at Acceleratedauto @ gmail.com

Your questions will get answered and possibly featured in a new article!

© 2012 Wrench Wench

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      GeorgeGray 2 weeks ago

      my 2002 ranger in park runs for 3 minutes an shuts off i have to jump start every time so i began to try an try one thing at a time i unplug the map it runs ok then loads up runs rough plug map in an truck goes dead if the alternator or battery are bad will truck shut off . could it be fuel filter any answers sure would help

    • Agnes JilekKeylor profile image

      Agnes Jilek-Keylor 5 weeks ago from West Caln, Chester County, Pa.

      This is a awesome article. I've looked all over for something like this. I've already put my question in. Just wanted you to know this is great.!!!

    • profile image

      Agnes JilekKeylor 5 weeks ago

      I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado crew cab pickup. I bought it brand new. I've never replaced the battery, and also I haven't had any trouble with it at all. Is it okay to keep using it as long as I have no problems? The battery is a Delco with a 6 year battery life. My mechanic that inspects my truck tells me every year I'll need to replace the battery soon, but he's told me that for the past 5 years. What do you think I should do?

    • profile image

      Denise 2 months ago

      My car will crank but won't stay on after I give it a jump. Please can anyone help me?

      Do I need a new battery or not?

    • profile image

      Roger 3 months ago

      Check out the electro plates in the battery ,low water level can damage the when charging .alot of parts places are limited to do thing likethat. We don't have full service gas stations anymore, maybe we should.

    • profile image

      Aggie 6 months ago

      Battery light is going on and off . Then she just died . Got a boost to get it home and on the way she started losing power . Headlights dimmed and the car almost didn't make it back home. Now I've had to get it boosted 3 times in one day. Checked the alternator and it read 14 volts. Then battery was reading 12 volts . Not sure what is the problem. Any advice would be great thanks.

    • profile image

      Christine A. Smilgius 8 months ago

      Last year my car has not been driven for 2 months because of hip surgery. It would not start. My son used battery cables and got it started. Because the battery was 8 years old, I decided to buy a new one. T his year same thing, had second hip replacement and now it was charged and driven by my granddaughter to a couple stores. Two weeks later, not driven, my son tried it and it was dead again. Do you think I need a new battery even though the battery is a year old? I drive a Honda but apparently it doesn't like to sit.

    • profile image

      elfree 8 months ago

      I called roadside assistance to jump start my car. They were unable to get it started. employee said normally it works if its the battery. What else could it be. Cant remove the battery because it needs a special tool. I have a 95 caddie. Any ideas.

    • profile image

      Aar Kay 9 months ago

      Hi,

      I have 2012 model SUV, and my mechanic told me last time, I need to replace my battery soon, but since it was working perfect without even a single glitch, I ignored it. Now, for almost a month I did not use my vehicle, as I had gone out of town, and when I returned I find that my vehicle is not starting with a battery indicator in the cluster. My question here is not about the battery itself. Along with this starting issue i noticed that my clutch pedal also sank down to floor and not coming up. So, my question is whether this could be due to dead battery or could this be a separate issue, primary or slave cylinder leakage..though I cannot find any oil stains on the floor and oil level is low but it is there..

    • profile image

      Jahanzeb Abrar 9 months ago

      It was all really worth it information and it helped me a lot to make a decision for replacing my battery.

      Thank you once again

    • profile image

      Dii wai 9 months ago

      I have a1991 HT-1 80 series GLX wagon. It has 2 X 12 Volt batteries. I experience 2 probloems and I am confused.

      1. All dashboard lights come on suddenly and remains illuminated until I turn off the key

      2. When I turn on light, air con or signal, the speedo meter reads zero and radio turns off and vice versa when I do the opposite.

      Please help as some say one of the batteries must be weak but I think I have an electric problem.

    • profile image

      Jaya 11 months ago

      Hmmmmm... I bought a new Toyota Echo back at the end of 2002. It is now nearing the end of 2016. I've never replaced the original battery. I don't think I've EVER replaced a battery in any car I've owned, and I've been driving for over 40 years. But I've never owned a car as long as this little Echo, either. And even though it is 12 years old, it only has around 64,000 miles on it.

    • profile image

      tee 12 months ago

      drive my car daily to work, took it for long weekend trip without problems. did not leave the lights on stopped to pick up item for 15 minutes and car wouldn't start. lights came on the dash board but only click click click... took a while to start?

    • Stacy Flit profile image

      Stacy Flit 13 months ago

      I did not notice it being mentioned but DC electrical connections which your car uses all need to be clean and tight. Battery terminals are the first and most important connections. Loose or dirty they will not supply the current needed to work correctly and the alternator will be summoned to run in order to charge (top off) the battery constantly. This leads to alternator failure. Jump starting is a bad idea and many who do this drive the vehicle to recharge the battery. IT DOES NOT CHARGE the battery. A dead battery must be charged with a battery charger, 2 amps for 12 or more hours. An unused battery should topped off with a charger every 5 days. Heat and cold are hard on batteries too.

      The gray fluffy powder on battery terminals is acid from the battery's gases. Gas seeps from the gap between the plastic and terminal post hole. Place the green and the red felt pads you can buy where battery accessories are located, soaked with a little oil first over the terminal post and then attach clamps tightly. This will stop that powder from forming. If it is raining or damp out and the battery won't crank the engine check those terminals first. If the powder is present clean those terminals thoroughly and re-clamp them. Odds are the car will then start. Never ever put baking soda on a battery to clean it. Soda will get inside the battery and kill it. I promise you it will. No battery is sealed even though it says it is!

      If you leave headlights on and drain the battery 2 3 or 4 times you might as well buy a new battery as full draining is damaging and you will be stranded soon and without warning. A jump start will not even help.

      When buying a battery such as at Walmart, find the correct one and then check the battery sides for a sticker with numbers such as 8/16 which means it is made August 2016. If the date is more than 3 months past do not buy it. Get a fresh battery. And when installing it clamp it down tight in its tray. Vibrating and bouncing kill a battery.

      Follow these practices and you will get the promised life from the battery and maybe more.

    • profile image

      Stacy Flit 13 months ago

      I did not notice it being mentioned but DC electrical connections which your car uses all need to be clean and tight. Battery terminals are the first and most important connections. Loose or dirty they will not supply the current needed to work correctly and the alternator will be summoned to run in order to charge (top off) the battery constantly. This leads to alternator failure. Jump starting is a bad idea and many who do this drive the vehicle to recharge the battery. IT DOES NOT CHARGE the battery. A dead battery must be charged with a battery charger, 2 amps for 12 or more hours. An unused battery should topped off with a charger every 5 days. Heat and cold are hard on batteries too.

      The gray fluffy powder on battery terminals is acid from the battery's gases. Gas seeps from the gap between the plastic and terminal post hole. Place the green and the red felt pads you can buy where battery accessories are located, soaked with a little oil first over the terminal post and then attach clamps tightly. This will stop that powder from forming. If it is raining or damp out and the battery won't crank the engine check those terminals first. If the powder is present clean those terminals thoroughly and re-clamp them. Odds are the car will then start. Never ever put baking soda on a battery to clean it. Soda will get inside the battery and kill it. I promise you it will. No battery is sealed even though it says it is!

      If you leave headlights on and drain the battery 2 3 or 4 times you might as well buy a new battery as full draining is damaging and you will be stranded soon and without warning. A jump start will not even help.

      When buying a battery such as at Walmart, find the correct one and then check the battery sides for a sticker with numbers such as 8/16 which means it is made August 2016. If the date is more than 3 months past do not buy it. Get a fresh battery. And when installing it clamp it down tight in its tray. Vibrating and bouncing kill a battery.

      Follow these practices and you will get the promised life from the battery and maybe more.

    • profile image

      Kim 15 months ago

      My battery died as I left my lights on... I charged it up and it started but when I took it out for a run it has started pulling back... As if it has fuel starvation... What is my problem

    • profile image

      Buddy Nuzzi 15 months ago

      When I tried to crank my 2010 Ford ranger I heard a bang under the hood now my truck is not working

    • profile image

      beth 16 months ago

      Thank you for the useful information. I need some help please.

      I parked my car for about a month, the key remote stopped working, not only that, the key can't seem to open the door manually. How do I get the key to work, to open the car so I can change the battery.

      Also, is it possible for the battery to die completely that it can't be charged. Thanks

    • profile image

      Yogesh Kumar 16 months ago

      Thanks for the Post.

    • profile image

      Bob 17 months ago

      This page is full of incorrect info. If your engine cranks but doesn't start, it's most likely NOT the battery. If you're replacing your battery every 2-3 years you're just throwing away money.

    • profile image

      kyrigkc 18 months ago

      I have a2006 Nissan Murano, it has a bundle pack connected to the positive battery cable like I've never seen before. I have went thru 3 batteries in the last 4 years. I've had the ire bundle changed out twice (supposedly) and had the alternator recently changed. (Bad bearings) I changed the radiator 4 days ago. Everything was good ( during alternator & radiator change, battery had to be removed) went to the store yesterday came home, went to leave back out an hour later. Dead as a door nail!! No inside lights, nothing, doesn't crank at all! I removed the battery checked the cables, advanced auto said batter is good, even though the cells were low. Had this problem before I had the cable bundle changed. I would be fine one minute and then go to start it ten min later and nothing. Jumping does nothing. And I can't even get it out of park to have it towed. (In garage, facing forward.

    • tyagugpt profile image

      tyagugpt 18 months ago

      Thanks for the detailed procedure

    • kevin kioni profile image

      Kevin Kioni 18 months ago from Kenya

      great

    • Bangladesh Page profile image

      Bangladesh Page 19 months ago

      Thank you very much for sharing these wonderful tips. It would really help me to understand the battery's condition and to take care of those batteries.

    • Denis Lubojanski profile image

      Denis Lubojanski 19 months ago from 7 Station Street, London

      Nice post Carter. Really informative and useful notes that you have described. Last week I changed my battery fluid and it is still working fine. But now I can understand that why sometimes my engine cranks and makes a delay to start.

    • janeroi profile image

      Jan-Erik 19 months ago from Tampere

      Here in Finland during winters, when the temperature can drop below -25 degrees celcius, many car batteries die. People don't tend to know that, which feel really dumb. Everyone should read this post!

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 19 months ago

      My car which has a nearly 3 year old battery would not start after I stopped at an ATM tonight. I had a portable charger in the trunk and used that to turn over the engine to get home. You have convinced me to just replace it tomorrow rather than trying to get more life out of a dying battery and risk damage to the car. Great hub with very useful info that just probably improved my life. Thanks A Carter for making a difference!

    • hubber8893 profile image

      hubber8893 19 months ago

      Your article about battery is very interesting to read about electric problems in an automobile. I think it is most sophisticated to check for neatness all the connections consciously prior taking the car to a mechanic as said by you. The cost and time is really a serious issue for a person considering to replace the battery.

      Moreover, my concern is regarding my two wheeler bike which takes unreasonably more kicks to start in the morning?

    • Beer Pong profile image

      James Smith 19 months ago

      There is quite a lot that I did not know here. Thanks

    • profile image

      Raghavendra 19 months ago

      My car starts okay when normally started. But when I have been on a long drive, if I shut down the engine and than restart it, the car just does not start. Usually on these drives, both the AC and Stereo would be running all through the journey. Is it a problem with the battery? This has happened twice in the last one month. Rest of the time it is okay.

    • WrenchWench profile image
      Author

      Wrench Wench 20 months ago from Seattle

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, Fisioterapeutas, more often than not, most folks don't pay much attention to their car batteries. Though times have changed a lot since cars were first put into the world. You used to have to know how to do pretty much everything with your car, because a mechanic was often a week away. Nowadays cars are pretty much marketed like they are supposed to take care of themselves, and not much education is shared with new or experienced car buyers, so no one thinks to look into until it's too late.

      That's part of why I write these hubs. At very least, once you get into a jam, you'll know how to get out of it from here on out =)

    • fisioterapeutas profile image

      Antonio fisioterapeuta 20 months ago from Madrid

      This information is very important , people do not pay attention to the condition of the battery

    • Marilyn Fritz profile image

      Marilyn 20 months ago from Nevada

      This is an excellent page! There is nothing worse than getting in your vehicle to go to work and it won't start. No reaction at all, not even a glimmer of life from lights, or gauges, and not one sound from the engine. It is much better to expect that it will not last much longer than two and a half years, and replace it so you do not have to face the despair of calling in to work late.

    • Justin boy profile image

      Richard 20 months ago from USA

      good

    • SolveMyMaze profile image

      SolveMyMaze 20 months ago

      Excellent Hub! I'm so glad that this is still on the front page (for me at least anyway) of the site. I've not had the problem yet of having a dead battery, but this Hub has been a massive help in things I should look out for when it does eventually start to go.

    • Chandra Biswal profile image

      Chandra Sekhar Biswal 20 months ago from Bhubaneswar, Odisha

      Good article..very nice

    • profile image

      Lukiz Tsjzi 20 months ago

      Very useful information, i must say.

    • Samuel Smart profile image

      Samuel Smart 20 months ago from United States

      One time the lights in my car started dimming, so I had to take it to a mechanic. He told me the car battery was almost dead, so I had to buy a new one. So yes, it's important that the car battery stays in a good condition and runs well.

      Thank you for a very fine Hub!

    • profile image

      findurdate 20 months ago

      I properly off all the switches, lights, stereo but my battery not charged if i don't ride my car 3-4 days. is there any problem with battery

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 20 months ago from Indonesia

      A very interesting, informative hub. I think I have to check the battery of my car to find out if it's close to die. Thank you for sharing.

    • WrenchWench profile image
      Author

      Wrench Wench 20 months ago from Seattle

      This comment is for all future commenters: I moderate all comments, and all every comment requires my approval before a single person sees it. If you spam this article with links and nonsense, your wasting your time and mine. If you'd like to have your service or product reviewed and seen by people, please message me. Otherwise I will report you.

      Thank you too everyone else who has commented!

    • profile image

      josefjosefe 20 months ago

      it very well could be a faulty battery

    • PoggyDobby profile image

      PoggyDobby 21 months ago from Probably Earth

      Thank you, that was really useful. It's a shame I hadn't read it before my car battery died. The old battery is still in the car though and I should replace it in the near future. If my car stays for about 2 weeks or so untouched, then it probably won't start because of the empty battery. Maybe something is draining power from it, I don't know. Anyways, the replacement is the only way I see.

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 21 months ago from Southwestern, United States

      This is very useful, thanks for sharing!

    • jonahengler profile image

      Jonah Engler 21 months ago from New York, NY

      Great tips thanks! ;)

    • emi sue profile image

      Emily Lantry 21 months ago from Tennessee

      My car wouldn't start when I went to leave my son's physical therapy appt yesterday. I got a jump.

      Looks like it's time for a new battery.

    • profile image

      infinitesoftech 21 months ago

      Thanks for this article; I happen to be having starting problems with my car which went into the garage today. A while ago the battery terminal corroded and I had a new terminal put on and a leak fixed. Unfortunately corrosion started again and it wouldn't start at all the other day, I suspect the battery is old and has packed up.

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost 21 months ago from Oregon

      Very Helpful Article... Thanks for Sharing.

    • FencesbyJohn profile image

      John 21 months ago from San Diego, Ca.

      Read this article a little late. I went through this battery/not starting thing about 4 months ago. It turned out to be the starter on my 99 Chevy Silverado. What I did discover though, was that the mobile mechanics are great guys and do a GREAT job! At least the guy I had come out did. First of all he came out on a Sunday afternoon and didn't charge anything more that on a weekday. He went through all the steps and diagnosed the problem. Bought the starter, installed it and i was a happy camper! I tipped him very good, and he was a happy camper too!

    • profile image

      Joe 21 months ago

      Excellent hints.

      A subject wasn't addressed, what about long-term parked cars.

      I had this problem and I solved it using a small charging solar panel from eBay (17$-25$), given you park the car in the sun.

      Otherwise, you can buy a 5$ charging and maintaining charger, which doesn't over charge the battery and keeps it full at all times, without consuming any significant amount of electricity.

    • profile image

      jasmineroy 21 months ago

      nice

    • profile image

      KingdomCome 21 months ago from those of the Ecclesia

      Interesting. Good info to know.

    • profile image

      CateHolt 22 months ago

      This is extremely helpful thankyou very much!

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 22 months ago from Bangladesh

      A simple but very much informative post that will help all kinds of car users. There is hardly any car user who doesn’t face problem regarding the battery. Many people have the experience of spending more than the car price just on the battery!! This is the limit to which many suffer. With proper knowledge that you get from this hub, you can easily now keep things under check with regards to your car battery. Also try to take your car to one trusted mechanic who will not deceit you in case of the car performance. A trusted mechanic can be very handy for only the battery but other car parts.

    • UmiNoor profile image

      UmiNoor 22 months ago from Malaysia

      My old car used to have difficulties starting in the morning. And then, with the help of my mechanic, we discovered a parasitic draw from my batteries. After that, my car had no problem starting. It's troublesome when you can't start your car especially if you're in a hurry to go somewhere.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 22 months ago

      This is great advice. I try to replace mine on a regular basis but have had a few of the pointers you list above happen to me. BElieve me, it is no fun to be stranded anywhere with a dead battery.

    • profile image

      Joko Santoso 22 months ago from Jl husain sastranegara komplek duta gardenia blok b6/2-3 Jurumudi baru Tangerang

      Yups. indeed in general durability of the vehicle battery reaches two and a half years, such as motor vehicle I use the age of the battery must have two and a half years.

      No gasih battery maintenance way to remain durable.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 22 months ago

      Thanks for the tips. I hope non of it will happen to me :-)

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 22 months ago from Japan

      Very important to for everyone. I am in Japan and have a Honda fit which I was told have not good batteries. Died on me twice. Would have been nice to know the signs.

    • profile image

      dff 22 months ago

      great article

    • cherylone profile image

      Cheryl Simonds 22 months ago from Connecticut

      Loved your article. Been doing most of my vehicle upkeep myself for years. Tried to teach the young ones but they don't like to get their hands dirty, LOL

    • DavidSimmons1776 profile image

      David Simmons 22 months ago

      nice hub

    • viprak profile image

      viprak web solution 22 months ago from Surat,Gujarat

      it's very help full tips.....

      Great ....

    • mesothelioma-doc profile image

      Jeremiah 23 months ago from Mars

      Nice article and very informative. It happens to me few weeks ago and i was totally dumb cause i don't know how to check when batteries are down or not. Once my car didn't start, i just start looking for the possibility of getting a new one. Thanks these tips helps me alot

    • hardlymoving profile image

      hardlymoving 23 months ago from Memphis, TN

      If the battery passes both a voltage and amperage test, there's no need for a new battery - regardless of age. It's poor electrical contact (corrosion) with the ground strap, terminals (battery acid) or failed alternator that usually causes a battery to go dead. Seen too many batteries being replaced when a full, slow re-charge may suffice.

    • profile image

      YoLex 23 months ago

      Great article! I haven't replaced my battery in almost 4 years and I've only had to jump it once but this definitely has me thinking. I just moved up north and its going to be a cold winter so I'm worried about the car not starting. Is there anything I can do to keep the car warmer so that I won't have too many problems starting it?

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 23 months ago from Michigan

      Good read.

    • profile image

      carlos 23 months ago

      I have a 1987 El Camino. It has a battery drainage problem. After charging a new battery, starts fine. For the first day. The next day its just about dead. It turns over, but wont start. I do have a burnt out dome light. Could this be my problem? Help!!!!

    • profile image

      roy 23 months ago

      Have a 2005 dodge grand caravan bought new battery put it in battery light still on

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 23 months ago

      Useful tips. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Angela 23 months ago

      Hello, I have a 2000 Dodge Intrepid. About a month ago while I wld be driving my interior lights would start flickering, and my alarm would go off randomly, this happened for about 3-5 days. Then i went to get into my vehicle the next day and the car was completely dead. No clicking when trying to turn over the key, as if it was devoid of any life. We jumped it, which took a lot longer than normal, drove down the road about 10 min, and when i came back out to leave the same problem, completely dead. Had to start the process all over. Im not sure if this is in need simply of a battery or if it in fact is a faulty alternator. Please gimme your advice. Thanku so kindly~

    • profile image

      Nataysha 23 months ago

      Hi. I am having an issue with my rusty old truck. It has always ran well and never any problem to start. The other day, I opened the hood and noticed some "fuzzy yellowish white stuff" on top of the battery. Not much but enough to notice. I topped up the washer fluid and closed her up. I also plugged it in as it was supposed to get cold, over night. Next day, I was out and about. I had a problem. I tried to start my truck. The dashboard lights came on (not sure about headlights etc) but nothing else happened. I did not hear anything. It did not struggle nor did I hear a click sound. I tried it a couple times and it started up, as it normally would. What are you thoughts, please!! I need my beater but am nervous to get stranded. Ugh help!!

    • greenmind profile image

      FCM 23 months ago from USA

      Wow this is a really cool hub and a great topic. Great advice and I learned a lot. Thanks for this excellent hub!

    • medopride19 profile image

      aHmEd 23 months ago

      good a hub :)

    • Ms LaLa2014 profile image

      Ms Quick 23 months ago from Fayetteville, NC

      What about battery acid corrosion? Is it true that Sprite will clear the acid off and extend its life?

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 23 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Amazing and informative hub, I really got so much from it. Nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your knowledgeable and interesting hubs. Every man I am sure would know this but women knowing it is equally critical. Happy to be following you. Linda

    • DaveOnline profile image

      David Edward Lynch 24 months ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      Thanks for this article; I happen to be having starting problems with my car which went into the garage today. A while ago the battery terminal corroded and I had a new terminal put on and a leak fixed. Unfortunately corrosion started again and it wouldn't start at all the other day, I suspect the battery is old and has packed up.

    • profile image

      Brian 2 years ago

      Jumped my car and it started right up took charging cables off and try to start the car and it didn't start but cranked

    • profile image

      Erma 2 years ago

      Purchased a 2013 in 2014, October. Recently was in the vehicle & had run on instead of accelerator. AAA came to jump start. Never has run same since. Lights are alternating / flickering between bright and dim. Driver side window has mind of its own-I push up it goes down.

    • profile image

      Tony 2 years ago

      My car starts fine, but my radio resets every time I start it now. I checked the appearance of the battery, it does not appear to be corrision but the terminals are wet with some substance on them. I assume it is time for a new battery ?

    • profile image

      Nate 2 years ago

      I have a 2005 acura mdx and before my car shut compleatly off while driving a few dash lights (battery)(abs) came on then the radio went in and out.all power windows were bad and it cut off... I got a jump fromm aaa and the guy said its most likely a bad battery not altenator... How can i know which?

    • profile image

      ROB 2 years ago

      So, I turn the key and the power windows suddenly will not go down when they have before. It cranks like a bitch and I have to jump on the gas pedal. It sometimes cranks so weakly as well and leaves me thinking will this start as well. I think it is the battery. Please tell me otherwise.

      Rob. York. UK

    • profile image

      hayley 2 years ago

      I can't figure out if my battery is no good.. It won't crank or any lights will come on. I've also noticed the terminals are bad. I put the battery on charge. It's staying between 5 and 10. Should I just get a new battery?

    • taylors7 profile image

      taylors7 2 years ago

      Useful info.

    • profile image

      Olivia 2 years ago

      Hi!

      I have a 2003 honda crv. One day I turned on the car and my car was having a bumpy start up. It eventually was sustained idle but I did not understand why it wasn't a smooth activation like usual. For the past week, Im having to turn my keys and step on the gas to give my car a boost for it to turn on. Is this the battery?

      So now...

      My lights and AC still turn on but now my car won't start.

    • Chance Harvey profile image

      Chance Harvey 2 years ago

      Nice hubs, thanks for sharing all this information.

    • Antonio Westley profile image

      Antonio Westley 2 years ago from New York

      These tips will certainly help me in the long run since I am currently in the process of saving up for a car. Now I can make sure to evaluate this when I am at a dealer

    • profile image

      john 2 years ago

      Parasitic Drain Remains a simple but yet complex problem.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Right now I think we're just daring our car battery to die. My husband always wants to squeeze out every ounce of battery juice before we buy a new one, which explains why we've batteries in parking lots the last three or so times we've had batteries die with no prior warning. I preferred the old days when they showed obvious symptoms. These days they just die.

    • lyoness913 profile image

      Wendi Pembridge Skilling 2 years ago from Overland Park, KS

      Great article! I don't mean to sound sexist (and I am a woman, ha!) but a lot of women AND teens don't realize it's just a simple dead battery. I am going to send this to my son in college!

    • profile image

      Astra 2 years ago

      Hi. I had a flat battery when I didn't use the car for a few weeks so I got it jump started. I then went away for a month and had to jump start it on return. I went and bout a battery charger and fully charged the battery. When I drove the car after this it felt like

      It was stalling and sounded like it was running really bad. Took it straight to

      Garage and they said it needed a new coil pack and spark plugs. It's cost a fortune. Got it back two days later. Still doesn't feel right. Plugged it into the charger and it's near flat again. I'll get a new battery but would this have affected my coil pack? Have I been ripped off? It's a 2005 Holden Astra. Done 103000km

    • profile image

      Melonie 2 years ago

      Can a loose connection cause a popping sound? I was driving my 2006 Nissan altima home when i heard a loud popping sound like popcorn. The next day my car wouldn't start. I changed the battery and it worked. The old battery was tested and still like new. Only 4 months old. The alternator tester 13.88 when car was on, reved and radio and lights on. Any thoughts?

    • profile image

      lacey 2 years ago

      Hi i have a honda civic 96 an i just changed my alternator yesterday. It wasn't a new one it was used from the junk yard. Anyway after replacing it my car started just fine an worked all day yesterday an started just fine this morning. I drove to the store an wen i can out my car was completely dead all it dose is make a clivkig sound. I tryd jumping it an nothing at all just the clicking sound my lights a radio come on just fine but the red cable wire is loose could that be my problem or is the alternator i bought just bad. Please help i have two kids and need my car.

    • profile image

      gueramunoz78@gmail 2 years ago

      I have a ford focus just got a head job about a week ago and my car still feels like it looses pressure at the stops and feels like its going to turn off the dash board often turns on the oil light even if I just put oil and the radio lights start to fade and interior lights also when this happens at the stops I paid 800 for the head jobs and am up set my car is doing this it was anicially had these symptoms when the heads were broke and know that its supposably been fixed why does this still happen??? Someone help me I am a girl I know nothing about cars

    • profile image

      ImaniC 2 years ago

      Hi,

      I accidentally left my car door open for a month while I was in college and now auto zone says it's a bad battery but I never had any issues with my car before. What do you think?

    • profile image

      Natalie L 2 years ago

      Good evening, I have a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu. My car will not start. I don't know if it's the battery or the alternator. The headlights comes on very dimly, but the horn, radio (clock always shows 12:00) and the dashboard lights doesn't work. If I turn the ignition switch after three attempts my anti theft goes off. Could you please tell me what you think the problems is?

    • The Ghostwriter profile image

      Peter Yexley 2 years ago from UK

      This hub reminded me to upgrade my battery for winter. It doesn't seem to hold it's charge much now, but it is 8 years old.

    • profile image

      kelly 2 years ago

      so i have a ford explorer since it started getting cold when try to start it turns and turns and then starts, but all the gages are jumping there have been times the battery has died. is it my battery

    • SAQIB6608 profile image

      SAQIB 2 years ago from HYDERABAD PAKISTAN

      Are there any field expedients for dead batteries?

      Secondly how has the response of MF (Maintenance Free) Batteries in automobiles in comparison to the Lead Acid Batteries?

    • profile image

      jakhamar 2 years ago

      you must have very cheap batteries where you are. my batteries always last 7-10 years and i live in canada. stop buying batteries that are made in bangladesh, spend 100 bucks for a decent one and things will be ok.