Signs of a Dead Battery

by Milenna Russell

Car batteries require routine maintenance and upkeep in order to work correctly. When your battery is not working properly, it affects the entire vehicle. Batteries have a limited lifespan, so if you have not replaced your battery for a few years, you may need to replace it to keep your car running. Regularly checking the water level in your battery, if applicable, can help to prolong its life.

Clicking Sound

A clicking sound when you turn the key, instead of engine ignition, is a common sign that your battery is weak or dead. The clicking sound comes from the starter motor; it usually indicates that the battery does not have enough power to start the engine.

No Sound

If there is no sound at all when you turn the key, and the dome lights and radio are not working, this usually indicates that the battery is completely dead. This may mean that it's time to replace the battery, but it could also indicate a problem with the alternator or the battery cables. If you are stranded somewhere, you may be able to jump-start the dead battery with the assistance of a working vehicle and a pair of jumper cables. If the car starts with jumper cables, this confirms that the problem was a dead battery.

Dimming Lights

If the lights on the interior and exterior of the car dim when you start the engine, this could be a sign that the battery is going dead or does not have a full charge. Check the battery to make sure it is connected securely, and there is no corrosion or buildup on the terminals.

Engine Changes Pitch

Your battery may be losing its charge if your car seems to lose power, or the engine changes pitch, when you turn on the air conditioner or heater. These systems rely on power from the battery to operate. If the battery is not at full power, it may not be able to run these devices.

Loose or Corroded Connections

One cause of battery problems could be the cable connections. If the battery cables are loose, they will not transmit the full charge to the engine when you try to start it. Make sure the cables are connected securely, and the wires are in intact and in good shape. Also, look for corrosion on the terminals, which can prevent the vehicle from starting. If the connections are secure and clean, but the car still won't start, this may indicate a dead battery.

References

About the Author

Milenna Russell has a Bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of Utah. She has been a freelance writer since 2004 and writes for several web-content sites including Lifetips, Ehow and Associated Content.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera car guages image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com