A dead car battery is a common cause of vehicle breakdowns. Although this happens more often during the colder months, it can happen unexpectedly and can cause disruption and inconvenience when you least expect it. In this article, we will discuss how to identify a flat car battery, the options for reviving or replacing it, as well as how to maintain your battery so that it lasts longer.
How do I know if my car battery is dead?
Check engine/ battery warning light is on
If you notice the battery warning light illuminate on the dashboard it can indicate either an issue with the battery or the alternator. The check engine light can sometimes also point towards a problem with the battery.
Failing to get any ignition
If your car won’t start or is producing a sluggish sound when you try to start it, it may be a sign that your car battery is dead and needs to be replaced.
Engine starts but immediately dies
This is a sign that the battery is so low that it can get the engine started but not maintain the charge to keep the car idling.
No lights turn on when you first get into the car
The car’s entire electrical system runs off of the main battery which includes the light system so the lights are a good indicator that the battery is not powering the car properly.
The car’s headlights require battery power to shine so if they are dim they are not functioning at full brightness due to a nearly dead battery.
Corroded Battery terminal
If there is blue or green powder around the battery it is a sign that the battery is not receiving a charge. When battery terminals become corroded, they can build up a layer of this insulating material on the surface that can prevent the flow of electricity between the battery and the rest of the electrical system in a vehicle.
Can I jump-start a dead battery?
If you have experience jump-starting a car and are aware of the risks, then it’s worth trying this method to bring your battery back to life. We have step-by-step guide to follow if you want to attempt to jump-start your car yourself. This is dangerous as you’re dealing with an electrical device so it’s critical to follow all safety instructions.
Cracked batteries can be dangerous and can leak battery acid, leading to a potential of sparks, fire, or other safety hazards if the jump start is done incorrectly. We advise that you do not attempt to jump-start if you notice anything amiss and replace the battery as soon as possible.
Who to call when car battery dies
The first thing to do if you suspect you have a flat or dead battery is to double-check it is indeed the battery and not something else such as low fuel. Next, if you have jump leads available and feel confident enough to jump start the car yourself, you can try this approach to start the car.
If a jumpstart is not possible then get in touch with a garage or mobile mechanic to inspect your car battery and replace it if needed. If you’re stuck on the road the best thing to do is call recovery or roadside assistance. ClickMechanic’s mobile mechanics can come to assist you if your vehicle is at an accessible location such as your home or office. The mechanic will inspect the electrical system and replace the battery if necessary and also ensure the battery’s cables have not corroded or are damaged before putting them back
How much does it cost to replace car battery?
Unfortunately, given how important the battery is, it is not the cheapest car part to replace. The average battery replacement will cost around £150 and can go up to around £300. You can expect a battery to last at least 3 years so it’s not an expense to worry about too much. Most battery manufacturers come with a warranty of 2-3 years.
How to make my car battery last longer?
- Turn off unnecessary lights and devices when not in use: If a device or light in your car is not in use, make sure to turn it off as devices such as radios or even headlights can drain the battery when left on.
- Park your car in a shaded area: The constant heat from sitting in direct sunlight can slowly degrade the life of your battery. Parking it in a shaded area will help keep it cooler and potentially make it last longer. The same applies to the colder months of the year; park the car in a warmer area if possible.
- Avoid short trips: When you take short trips, your alternator doesn’t have enough time to completely recharge the battery, resulting in slow battery degradation. Try to take longer trips (around 20 mins or so) at least once a week if possible.
- Check and replace corroded connections: Visually inspect the battery terminals and cable ends for any rust or corrosion. If you find any, clean it off with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and a wire brush.
- Get regular maintenance checks: Have a professional mechanic inspect your battery at least once a year for any wear and tear, or replacement needs if needed for optimal performance. This is usually part of an annual service checklist.