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Common Battery Failures: Symptoms, Solutions and More!

Almost every driver experiences some of the common battery symptoms or failures , at some point. You know what happens: you go to start the car, but the engine barely turns or does not turn at all. Sometimes starting the car helps, at least for a while.

In other cases, the battery is too depleted to respond to a start. These types of problems are a clear warning sign that the battery may have gone bad or is completely damaged.

Symptoms and common failures of a damaged battery

The battery supplies power to your car’s starter motor to start the engine. In addition, the battery powers the vehicle’s electrical system when the engine is off.

Car batteries typically last three to five years before needing to be replaced. If you have this part in poor condition, these are some of the common battery failures that you can find in your car:

1- The engine does not start

If the engine does not start, the battery may be bad . In this case, when you turn the ignition key, you will either hear a clicking noise or not at all, indicating a loss of battery power.

2- The engine hardly turns

A weak battery often results in an engine that starts slowly and has a hard time starting. Also, in some cases, the engine may crank a couple of revs but the car won’t start.

3- Dim lighting

A weak or bad battery will usually (but not always) cause the interior and exterior lights to be dim when the engine is off.

4- Engine starts and stays running after a jump start

If the engine starts (and runs for a long period of time) after a jump start, the battery is probably bad . But before you jump to conclusions, you’ll want to make sure the battery hasn’t simply been discharged.

The battery can be discharged if something (such as the headlights) has been left on . It is a good idea to take the car to an auto parts store to have the battery checked. The service is usually free and they will give you a definitive answer.

5- Illuminated instrument panel lights

In some cases, a bad battery can cause warning lights on the instrument panel to come on, such as the check engine light and charging system light.

How to know if the battery is failing?

Many people blame the battery when their car or truck won’t start. But it’s important to note that there are two main types of no-start conditions.

In a ” crank-no-start “ situation , the engine cranks normally (or faster than normal), but does not start. On the other hand, in a no-crank-no-start situation , the engine barely starts or does not start at all.

1- Crank without starter

If it’s a no-crank starting situation, you can rule out the battery altogether. This is because the battery supplies power to the starter to start the engine . So if the engine starts normally, that indicates that the battery is good.

A common battery problem is no cranking, it usually indicates a problem with the air/fuel supply, spark supply or compression of the engine.

2- Do not crank, do not start

Meanwhile, a no-crank-no-crank situation often indicates a bad battery. But there are other possibilities too, ranging from loose battery terminals to internal engine failure. You will need to check the battery to make sure it is the culprit.

You can check the state of charge of the battery with a digital multimeter (DMM). However, it is important to note that the State of Charge test does not tell you if the battery is good or bad, it simply tells you how much charge the battery currently has.

To determine the real state of the battery it is necessary to carry out a load test of the same. A professional can perform one of these battery tests with a portable digital analyzer. Most auto parts stores perform a load test for free. You can choose to leave the battery in your car for testing, or you can remove it if the vehicle won’t start.

How much does it cost to change the battery?

Typically, a traditional lead acid battery costs between $50 and $120 if you install them yourself. Expect to pay more if your car requires an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery or another special type of battery.

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