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What Is Wrong With My Battery?

battery with corrosionYou’re ready to head off to work or your next adventure in your car. You jump in, place the key in the ignition, and something doesn’t quite feel right. Maybe you notice that your car is slow to start, makes a clicking sound, or worse, doesn’t start at all. These are just a few indications of a declining or dead battery. Here’s how to determine what could be wrong with your battery, based on certain symptoms, and how to remedy the situation.

What Is a Battery?

A vehicle’s battery is a crucial component that turns over the starter to engage the vehicle by converting chemical energy into electrical energy that is used to power your car. In newer vehicles, the battery is also responsible for surge protection by stabilizing the energy supply to keep the engine powered and protect, perhaps the most important part in the vehicle, the computer. The battery and alternator work together to maintain electrical power for your vehicle. The battery is designed to be partially drained of amps/volts when cranking the engine over but must be refilled by the alternator.

You may notice that your vehicle starts exhibiting some unusual behavior when the battery is beginning to fail, such as:

  • Slow cranking or no cranking
  • Dimming lights when turning accessories on
  • Battery indicator light on dashboard illuminates
  • Identification of battery acid leak (moisture around the battery case)
  • Swollen battery case
  • Corrosion on the battery cables

What Could Be Wrong

There are several reasons that your battery’s charge is declining or has quit entirely. The most common reasons batteries have trouble include:

Human Error –  We all make mistakes and sometimes overlook things in our busy lives. Did you leave the headlights on? After just two to three hours of leaving your lights on, with a newer battery, your vehicle will not have enough power to assist in turning the engine over.

Parasitic Drain – A continuous discharge of power after the key has disengaged and the engine has shut down. Often caused by a short circuit or an electrical-dependent device left on such as the trunk, glove compartment light, switch, or computer module.

Wrong Size or Poor-Quality Battery – Your vehicle may have the incorrect battery installed and is simply not big enough to power the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask a trusted mechanic for the appropriate battery size and type for your vehicle.   

Poor Connections – After a period of time corrosion can affect the terminal condition, requiring cleaning for a better connection.

Age – As batteries age, they have trouble maintaining a charge. Most often in the severe desert climate of Arizona, a battery’s life expectancy is between 2-3 years.

Alternator – It’s possible that your battery is struggling as a result of the alternator is not replenishing the electricity needed for the battery to maintain its charge.

Take Caution

If your battery is dead, you may immediately seek to jump-start your car so that you may get it running again. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in most newer vehicles the battery is a surge protector. If the battery is completely dead, the surge of electricity can cause severe damage to the alternator and/or the vehicle’s computer. Most importantly, if using a jumper box, be sure that the jumper cables are installed correctly. Failure to do so could be detrimental to the electrical system or vehicle’s computer.

Seek Professional Help

Expert technicians, like the kind you’ll find at Sun Devil Auto, are equipped with the proper tools and state-of-the-art equipment used in battery care and maintenance every day. If you’ve noticed that your car, truck, or SUV is slow to start or the lights have dimmed while using accessories, bring your vehicle into a location near you, for a free battery test, today! Our technicians will provide an accurate reading of your battery’s amps and volts to inform you of your battery’s health.

Batteries in Arizona don’t last long. Because of the extreme heat of the desert climate, the average battery lasts between 2 and 3 years. That’s why Sun Devil Auto offers an unheard of 5-year free replacement warranty on most batteries! Plus, with our same-day service, we’ll get your battery replaced in no-time and you’ll be back on the road and ready to go. Don’t let a declining battery interrupt your busy life, visit a Sun Devil Auto location today.