Car batteries don't last forever. Typically you need to replace them every few years. Sometimes, your battery gives you signs that it is failing, and you need to have it looked at or replaced. What should you look out for?
1. Your Car Is Slow to Start
One of the more common signs of a failing car battery is a slow-down in your starting time. Your car just doesn't start as promptly as it used to. It might turn over a few times before it starts up.
While this is sometimes a sign that your battery is running low on charge, it's also a sign that it is coming to the end of its working life. If you can't think of a reason why your battery might have run down, say if you've left your lights on by accident, then it may be time to replace it.
2. Your Electrics Act Up
Car batteries don't just run your car; they also power some electrics in the vehicle. For example, they connect to things like your windscreen wipers, lights, heater, radio and electric windows.
If the battery isn't in good shape, then you'll see a change in the way these things work. They'll still work; however, they will slow down or cut out temporarily.
So, for example, when you push the button to open a window, there will be a delay before the window engages and starts to go down. Your headlights may look dimmer than usual sometimes. Your radio might cut out, and your heating may stop working for short periods.
These are all signs that your power isn't working at full capacity. Your battery may not have enough life in it to do all its jobs.
3. You Notice Changes to the Battery
Sometimes, you can smell or see changes to the battery that tell you it might need replacing. For example, when you open your bonnet, you might pick up a rotten egg smell that comes from the battery area.
In some cases, the battery itself doesn't look right. It may bulge out in parts or look distorted and swollen.
While this is often a sign that you have a sulphuric acid problem, such as a leak in the battery area that needs dealing with itself, it also often means that the battery will need replacing, too. It may have acid damage.
If you aren't sure if your battery needs replacing or not, ask your car service shop for advice. They can check out your system and change your battery if necessary.