The origins of the first battery are shrouded in mystery and myths to this day; some say the first battery was invented 2000 years ago by placing an iron rod in the middle of copper cylinder inside a clay mold, some say it was invented in 1799 by an Italian scientist by stacking zinc, silver, and cloth. The rapid evolution of batteries started with Volta’s battery, with it being the first battery that could generate a constant flow of electricity. Batteries then continued being developed and around 1920 the first car battery which used electric starters to function has been invented. The typical modern car battery used nowadays is a 12V sealed battery that starts with electric starters and gets fed mechanical energy by an alternator which then it transforms it back to electrical energy.
Batteries are essential for the smooth operation of your car; if a battery dies out for any reason, you won’t be able to get the car running until the battery starts. An aging car battery or a random loose cable can cause a lot of electrical trouble which in turn causes a myriad of issues with the operation of your car. It may sometimes stump even the most experienced and professional mechanics to actually identify that a little battery misbehavior is the root of the mechanical issue at hand. Since without the battery your car would be useless, we’ll be demonstrating the most telltale signs that can help you identify, that your battery is starting to die on you.
1. Engine Not Starting
One of the most common battery problems that are usually triggered by saying “Can this day get any worse?”. When you turn the key and your engine cranks, yet still doesn’t start, this is a sign that there is something wrong with a battery, it could be caused by other mechanical failures but most of the time the battery turns out to be the culprit. Sometimes your ammeter may indicate that the battery is in good standing but that still doesn’t mean that your battery is putting out the right voltage. The good ol’ fashioned way to fix this is by using jumper cables with another running car battery to get it starting and then letting the alternator charge it up for about half an hour. But if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no available help on the horizon, there is another way to recharge your battery, a portable car battery or a jump starter will act as a power bank and charge your battery so you could at least temporarily drive to your destination or to the nearest mechanic.
2. No Sign of Life, Chief
If your car isn’t cranking, starting, and all the lights are off, then you should start pointing your finger, insulting the car battery, and kicking the car. That isn’t really a solution, but it may help you cool off depending on your situation. If the accessories in your car are all not working, then it’s the battery that is at fault 100%. If the battery is unable to crank the engine or turn on a headlight then you can start shifting some blame on the alternator as well. Headlights on but you still can’t crank the engine? Chances are that there is a mechanical issue at work here.
3. Intermittent Starting
When you find yourself hosting gambling events with bookies taking bets on whether your car is going to start today or not, then your battery could be facing a few issues; could be an issue with the cable terminals, broken or misplace; parasitic draw, where your battery is simply being drained for no apparent reason, a cable could be touching something that is draining it infinitely until it complete dead. You may need to do some manual work and roll your sleeves up and check the cables since most likely cables are the prime suspects, plus it is easy to check them yourself, confirm that all the cables are fitting with no wiggle room and that the terminals aren’t burnt out. If the terminals are at wrong here, do not hesitate to replace them as soon as possible. Parasitic draw is usually the culprit if it fails to start after it’s left idle for a day or two. If a cable check doesn’t resolve the situation then you may need to take it to a professional.
4. Time to Put It Down
The life expectancy of car batteries is from 4 to 6 years, once your battery hits the 3-year mark it is time to keep a close eye on your battery by having it professionally checked every 6 to 12 months to make sure it doesn’t betray you when you’re least expecting it to. The environment that the battery is in also is an important factor when judging the life expectancy; extreme heats can cause the battery fluids to evaporate, causing the internal structure to be put under constant stress that may shorten its lifespan drastically; cold weather makes the batteries’ job harder since the engine takes more energy to crank, while the battery is handicapped due to the cold weather it produces less energy as well. Constantly check for signs of weather damage to know the state of your battery at any given time.
5. Trying Too Hard
You may simply be a forgetful person, leaving headlights or internal lights on for a few hours, a bad alternator or a starter, there is no shame in jump starting your battery a couple of times, but if you find yourself constantly jump starting it, it could indicate that it is time to put it down and get a new one, even new batteries can fail if you jump start a few times in less than a week. Jump starting causes a toll on your batteries that you should avoid except for dire situations.
A Failing Battery Can Cause Mayhem | Some drivers can be fooled that just because the battery is new it won’t cause problems, over-jumping the battery can cause problems in alternators or starters. Keeping a portable battery charger is a very sound idea. Emergencies arise at random and having a backup plan can save you from a lot of hassle. Make a routine out of checking the battery every day or two so you don’t wind up jump starting it every couple of days. Take good care of your battery and your battery shall take good care of you.