We all take car batteries for granted. For the most part, they’re relatively inexpensive and last a long time. Some of us have even had the same battery for five years or more. But there are signs that we should be aware of, which could mean heading to your Master Muffler Murray mechanic to have your battery changed sooner than you might think is necessary.

Let’s Talk About How They Work

Before we hop into the clear signs that it’s time to have your car’s battery replaced, let’s look at how they work.

It’s important to note that a car battery is rechargeable. The “juice” of your battery is maintained by the vehicle’s alternator, which is in part, used to start your car. The noise you hear as you turn on your vehicle is the alternator working on starting the battery. The alternator provides an electric current to start the motor, which begins the engine’s internal combustion. This tiny—but vital—part in your car also acts to power the car’s computers, and provide power to lights, wipers, and sound system, even when the engine is switched off.

So, what components are necessary to create this chain of reaction?

  • The battery
  • The ignition switch
  • The relay
  • The motor

1. Your Engine Doesn’t Start Up Like Before

If you’re having trouble starting the ignition or turning over your car’s engine, that’s a clear sign your car’s battery needs to be replaced. Over time, the components inside the battery begin to wear out and become less effective.

When this happens, the battery takes longer and longer to receive its necessary charge from the alternator. You might think this is simply an inconvenience; after all, your car is still starting, even if it’s taking a bit longer. But when this begins to happen, don’t wait till you’re stranded in a parking lot or on the side of the road before you think to buy a battery replacement. If you notice that slow start, a weak start, or a clicking sound as your alternator tries to bring the battery to life, it’s time to contact your mechanic.

2. Your Car Hasn’t Been Used in Some Time

Several factors go into how long a car battery will last, but typically, modern batteries last five years. So if you start your car regularly and drive it, the battery should last for the duration of its lifespan. However, if you’ve let your car sit for a long time and it’s not starting up, that could signify that internal components have worn out or become damaged.

3. Dashboard Lights Flicker & So Do Your Headlights

One of a driver’s greatest fears is seeing the check engine light come on, but don’t be alarmed! It might not be a warning of an issue with the engine at all, but rather the battery or alternator. Don’t ignore that little red light. Even if that engine light indicates another issue, we’ll be sure to check the battery and alternator to work that one is charging the other.

A significant issue is a flickering dashboard of lights or dimming headlights. If your battery has been weakened or is failing altogether, it’s likely to use a large amount of energy to keep your interior and exterior lights running. If your car is suddenly flashing morse-code on the road at night, that’s a clear sign that your battery is on its way out. This won’t only harm the performance of your vehicle but is hazardous. So be sure to take the dimming of your dashboard and headlights seriously.

Ready for a Replacement Battery?

Not sure if your battery is on its way out? Come by Master Muffler Murray and let one of our trusted mechanics test out your car battery and alternator. We’ll make sure your battery is working at 100% efficiency so you can stay safe on the road.