No driver likes to attempt to start his or her car only to have the key simply turn in the ignition and click without any cranking, sputtering, and any sign of life. Unless you've accidentally left your headlights on overnight, this is a classic sign of a dead battery, one that likely needs to be replaced to get you back on the road. Although a lack of response is the most dramatic sign of battery issues, there are a few more subtle signs that your battery may be failing. Pay attention to these, and you can often get your battery replaced before it stops working altogether.
1. Your car cranks before starting. If your car cranks and cranks when you turn the key before eventually starting, it's a sign that your car isn't getting the power it needs from the battery. This is especially likely on cold mornings when the car has been sitting outside overnight. You may only get one or two rough starts before the battery fails completely.
2. Your car accessories are acting strangely. Your battery doesn't just power your car engine. It provides the power for car accessories like your radio/CD player, your windshield wipers, your power seats and windows, and your headlights. If you notice that one or more of these accessories are acting oddly, it's likely that they are not getting the power they need to operate properly.
3. The battery icon is illuminated on your dashboard. Many cars have warning lights that indicate when your car battery is low on power. Familiarize yourself with your car manual, so you'll know what the symbols mean.
4. There is corrosion around your battery terminals. Corrosion around the terminals of your battery is another sure sign that your battery is nearing the end of its useful life. Not only does corrosion (that white stuff) indicate that your battery is slowly leaking, but it puts a barrier between the battery terminals and the battery cables, further lessening the power that is available to your engine.
5. Your battery smells funny. An ageing battery often smells like rotten eggs, a very distinctive odor.
No driver wants to get stranded with a dead battery (even at home.) Avoid being stuck with a battery that doesn't respond by paying attention to the signs like cranking before the car starts, corrosion around your battery terminals, and your car accessories acting oddly.
If you need to replace your battery, contact an auto wrecker like City Auto Wreckers to find used parts.