You get in the car for your long commute to work, turn the key and nothing happens. You might hear a light clicking sound or complete silence. You try again, but it’s more of the same. What could be going on with your car?
If your car lights also fail to turn on, you’ll soon realize there’s a battery issue. What else should you look for in this case?
Beyond no response from your car, you’re dealing with a dead battery when:
- You open the door and the light or chime sound is weak or dead.
- The headlights are dark or dim.
- The radio won’t turn on.
- You hear the starter motor when you turn on the ignition, but the engine itself doesn’t start.
- You hear the engine, but it’s sluggish or cranks at a slower pace than usual.
- You only hear a fast clicking sound when you turn on the car.
- You notice a smell like rotten eggs, often coming from under the hood. This indicates the battery was overcharged, shorted or frozen and has started to vent gas. If the battery is releasing sulfuric acid, it could damage other engine parts.
- Your car won’t start in the morning without a jump.
Your dashboard may indicate if your battery is about to go. Usually, the warning light shaped like a battery illuminates, indicating internal issues or that it needs to be replaced. Bigger picture, it may point to an electrical issue or problem with your car’s alternator, which directly affects the battery’s power.
What Killed Your Car’s Battery?
You know not to leave your car lights on overnight, but other factors can overdraw battery power:
- Parasitic drain, which occurs when your vehicle continues to run after you’ve turned it off. If the operation of your car is up to par, your battery delivers enough current for the clock, radio presets and alarm. However, wiring and fuse issues or improper installation may result in your car drawing too much power from the battery, causing it to die prematurely.
- Cold weather, which affects how much current it stores and delivers to the starter motor. You’ll usually have to give it a jump first, but your car lasts the rest of the day.
- Bad connections, which could be a corroded or loose terminal creating parasitic drain.
- Altered chemical reactions, which may occur from extreme amounts of heat or cold temperatures. In either case, the sides swell or bulge, then the battery discharges and cannot be recharged.
- Old age – ideally, a car battery lasts four to five years, with temperature and number of discharges playing a factor.
- Human error, such as leaving the trunk open overnight, has potential to drain the battery.
- Issues with the alternator. The alternator and battery work together to power your car. When the alternator dies, parts like the lights and radio begin drawing their power from the battery, causing it to die far too early. Or, a bad diode in the alternator lets the car’s circuit continue to charge, even after you’ve turned off the engine.
Whether you need your car battery checked, cleaned or replaced, the team at DaSilva’s Auto Body is here for you. To set up an appointment, contact our Naugatuck shop today.