The health of your car battery is of vital importance. Car batteries have a useful lifespan of about three to five years, and when they reach the end of it, there is usually little that can be done to revive them.
However, there are other reasons why a battery may die down, such as carelessness in leaving on the components that it powers, such as the radio or lights.
If this is the case, it is often possible to restart your car battery. Otherwise, it may be necessary to choose a replacement.
Signs the Car Battery Is Dead or Dying
One of the most obvious signs of a dead battery is the fact that the car will not start. Keep in mind, however, that inability to start the car could be symptomatic of several other problems besides a dead battery. It may be necessary to have a mechanic perform a check to correctly identify the real issue.
Sometimes there are indications that the car battery is dying prior to the point that it gives out completely. Your engine may crank more slowly, or you may need to press the gas pedal to get it to start. The radio may not work, or the headlights may dim. You may hear a clicking sound when you turn the key, or the engine may backfire due to the combination of fuel accumulating in the cylinders and intermittent sparks from a failing car battery. You may notice warning lights on your dashboard. The battery may give off a bad smell or swell in size.
Steps To Recharge the Battery
Unless you have access to a car battery charger, the most common way to restart a dead battery is with a jump from another vehicle.
It is very important to jump start a vehicle correctly. Otherwise, an accident that could cause injury could result. It is a good idea to be prepared with safety equipment, such as gloves and goggles, in your car and to put on the gear for protection before attempting to jump start the vehicle.
Make sure that the two cars are parked near enough so that the jumper cables can reach between them but that they are not touching. The jumper cables and the battery terminals are color-coded so that you can match them up correctly. Nevertheless, it is important to connect the cables in the correct order:
- First red clamp to the dead battery’s positive terminal
- Second red clamp to the good battery’s positive terminal
- First black clamp on the good battery’s negative terminal
- Second black clamp on a piece of grounded metal on the dead car, not connected to the battery.
Once the connections are made, start the car with the good battery and let it idle. After 30 to 60 seconds, try starting the disabled car. If successful, keep the engine running and remove the jumper cables in the reverse order that you attached them.
Depending on what caused the battery to die in the first place, this may resolve the problem completely. However, if the battery itself is bad, it may only be a temporary fix to allow you to get the car to a mechanic or auto supply shop where the staff can give you advice on how to choose a car battery to replace the old one.