Signs of a dead car battery

Wednesday 20th December 2023

signs of a dead car battery

What causes a dead car battery? 

Experiencing a flat car battery can be frustrating. Flat batteries can occur due to a number of reasons, such as a drop in temperature, driving short distances or because your car has been sitting on the drive for too long without being driven. However, it’s important to know how to identify a dead car battery – and what signs to look out for.

WHat are the signs of a dead car battery?

  • Dashboard – when your battery is flat, the most obvious sign will be an illuminated battery symbol appearing on the dashboard It may look similar to the image above – but it also varies depending on your car’s make and model.
  • Difficulty starting your car – if your battery is failing, you’ll notice that the engine may take longer to start – but it’s likely you’ll only have one or two of these warnings before your battery actually dies. When your battery has gone completely flat, you will not be able to start the car’s engine, but instead you will just hear a clicking noise.
  • Headlights appearing dimmer – as well as powering your car’s engine, the battery also sends power to other electrics in the vehicle. If your battery is failing, your headlights may appear dimmer. If your car won’t start and you’re wondering why, check the lights, radio or electric windows to see if they work. If not, you’re most likely looking at a flat battery.
  • Unusual smell from the battery – your car battery should have no smell, so an unusual odour coming from your battery is a sign that your battery is ready to fail, if it hasn’t already. The unpleasant smell indicates your battery has vented gas and may have released sulfuric acid that could harm other parts of your engine.

What to do if your battery has died

If your battery has died, you may be able to jump-start it with two jump leads,  using the power from another vehicle’s engine to give out a boost of energy to kick-start your own battery. Alternatively, you may need to charge your battery using a battery charger. Learn more about how to charge a car battery here.

How long should a car battery last?

Generally, car batteries last around 3-5 years. However, this depends on various factors – such as what type of battery you have, temperature extremes, taking frequent short trips and any long periods of inactivity.

Replacing a car battery

In some instances, you may need to fully replace your car’s battery. To start, you will need to identify what car battery you will need. This will depend on various factors such as the size of the battery, whether you choose an AH or CCA battery and considering your vehicle manufacturer's requirements.

If you need more help with this, Formula One Autocentres are on-hand.. We offer a car battery replacement and a free battery check to determine your battery’s health, through a comprehensive inspection. Simply search for your nearest Formula One Autocentre to book in for your battery health check now.

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