How Can I Tell If My Car Battery Needs Replacing? | YourMechanic Advice

How Can I Tell If My Car Battery Needs Replacing?

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There are few things more frightening than hearing buzzing or clicking from your car when you’re trying to start it. It could mean any number of things, but chances are that it means you have a faulty car battery. You need to test your car battery, and it might be time to replace the battery, or maybe just do some car battery maintenance.

Do I have a bad car battery?

Maybe or maybe not. A car battery doesn’t last forever, but sometimes the problem isn’t really the battery – it’s simple hygiene. So the very first thing you do is simply disconnect the battery cables (negative first). Now, take a look. Do the posts and connectors look clean, or are they covered with a whitish substance? This is corrosion, and it’s preventing your car battery from communicating effectively with your car’s electrical system. So get a brush, or some steel wool, and start removing it. Don’t worry about damaging the posts and connections – that’s not going to happen. Follow up your cleaning with a coating of grease on the cable clamps and posts – plain old Vaseline will do the trick quite nicely.

Battery still won’t take a charge?

The battery’s electrolyte level could be low. This is the balance of water and sulfuric acid that delivers the charge to the rest of your car’s electrical system. YourMechanic can test your car battery using a device called a hydrometer. If the electrolyte level is low, your battery might be over-charging.

If the hydrometer reveals that the battery is fully discharged, YourMechanic will hook the battery up to a charger. If the battery won’t hold a charge, then you can probably safely assume that you have a bad car battery that needs to be replaced.

Still no start?

If you’ve performed these car battery maintenance tasks, and your car still won’t start, you’ll need to explore other possibilities. A proper battery inspection by a mechanic could be helpful in this situation.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1861 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper Clubman - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Silverado, California
He arrived early, went straight to work, and it should have been quoted higher as it’s a Mini which takes longer than the average break job. He didn’t try to get more than the quoted amount. He even set out to replace a running light for me when he was finished. I thought there would hard sales telling me I needed more work but there wasn’t. Because he didn’t try to sell me more work, I will use him again. When I hired a mechanic I don’t want a salesman. 
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Irvine, California
Chris again has provided great Service. Everything was great. I was very happy with the work and will definitely have him return for any other work.

Bryant

11 years of experience
408 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant has done great work on my car before, the latest work is no exception. He's very flexible, and goes the extra mile to get you back on the road.
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

Edmar

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Edmar
21 years of experience
Chrysler 200 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Euless, Texas
Edmar always does a very good job. He's done a few different things on my car the last two years. Each job was performed very fast and top quality. Thank you once again.

Mazyar

7 years of experience
255 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Jaguar XF - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
He was early, courtesy and actually helped me save some money since i didn't need all the work that i thought i needed done. Honest guy. Very knowledgeable. Great attitude.

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