i. Weak/Slow Engine Crank
When you attempt to start the vehicle, the engine is able to crank but in a very weak manner. If your battery is dying, you may also notice that the engine cranks more slowly than usual.
There is a minor chance that your starter is faulty, but almost all the time, the cause lies with your battery. It is important that you pick this up as a warning sign, as sometimes you may only get one shot at a slow start before the engine refuses to crank anymore.
ii. No Crank, No lights & Engine unable to start
This situation is rather straight-forward to diagnose, and an even stronger indication of a dead car battery. The car battery is like the heart of your vehicle, powering all the accessories and lights in your car, especially when your engine and alternator are turned off. Hence, if your car seems to be completely ‘dead', you should definitely check your car battery.
If your car won't start and you hear a 'clicking' sound from the engine, it is likely to be a dead battery.
If your car won't start but the headlights work, it is possible that there may be some issues with the starter or engine itself.
iii. Intermittent Problems in Starting Engine
If you encounter problems in starting in car every other day or week, this is a sign that your battery terminals and cables may be loose, broken or corroded. It may also be caused by in-car electronic gadgets draining excessive power from your car battery, especially if you leave them turned on when the engine is off. You may also notice that your headlights are dimmer than usual.
Inspect your battery terminals and cables carefully for broken ends, loose connections and corrosion/sulfation. Make sure the battery clamps fit firmly and securely.
iv. Cold Cranking is Difficult.
Cold Cranking refers to starting your car engine for the first time of the day. If you find yourself having to regularly spend extra time and efforts starting your vehicle (e.g. stepping on gas pedal, turning the key a few times, and waiting for a while before it finally starts all of a sudden), chances are that your battery is running out of juice.
Another possibility is that your current battery was never sufficient or suitable for your specific car brand and model in the first place. More often than not, car owners end up using an 'under-spec' battery for their car, at the incorrect advice of mechanics or aquaintances etc., lured in by its relatively cheaper price.
Battery Express always informs and recommends the suitable battery size/spes to our customers, ensuring that customers know what they are paying for before they make their decisions. We believe in price transparency and creating the best value for our customers.
v. Frequent Jump-Starts
The simple rule is: If you have to jump-start your vehicle more than 2 to 3 times in a single week, it's time to replace your car battery. Even a brand new battery can fail quickly, if you frequently jump-start it.
Using jumper cables is really hard on your battery, as they literally ‘shock' your battery back to life. This is meant to be an emergency or last resort kind of measure and should not be done repeatedly over a short period of time.
You might even end up 'killing' your starter or alternator. So save yourself the headache and money, and replace the car battery as soon as possible.
vi. Old Battery Age
In Singapore, the average car battery lasts about 1.5-2.5 years. With proper maintenance or the use of battery desulfator/lifespan extender, you can prolong the service life of your battery.
That being said, it is a good idea to get your battery tested during your scheduled car maintenance or servicing, especially if the battery is already past the one-year mark, just to make sure it still has sufficient cranking power and voltage.
Battery Express also offers on-site battery testing service, using our battery analysers, which are able to accurately pin-point if your battery is dying/dead. The results will be shown to you, afterwhich you can then decide if you require a battery replacement or not.
vii. Swollen or Bloated Battery Case
Swollen or bloated battery case is an indication that your battery has been exposed to excess heat. This is often due to overcharging due to incorrect alternator settings, resulting in an 'electrically-dead' car battery. Such car batteries cannot be recovered and will require immediate replacement.
• Other Useful Tips
i. Drive your vehicle regularly. Even if you have no need to drive much, always try to take your vehicle for a spin for say, 20 minutes, at least 1-2times per week.
ii. Regularly inspect and your car battery, or send your car for scheduled maintenance and servicing, always making sure that the battery is being examined.
iii. Keep the top of the battery case and the battery compartment tray clean from dirt and grime.
iv. Take note of corrosion and sulphation on battery terminals and rectify them before it is too late.
v. Do not attempt to jump-start a flat battery if you do not have the know-how. You risk damaging the battery, starter, alternator and most importantly, yourself.
vi. Jump-starting will only work on a weak battery, but not if your battery is completely dead.
vii. Follow standard sequence in disconnecting and reconnecting your car battery, for safety purposes.
viii. Take note of system indicator lights such as check engine light, battery warning light or low coolant lights, if your vehicle is equipped with them. They may indicate potential issues with your battery.
ix. A stink or strong smell is an obvious sign of leakage in your battery case. Check thoroughly and replace your car battery if there is indeed a leakage.
x. Do not use your car lights or accessories/gadgets for extended period of time, with the engine turned off. This only discharges the battery at a higher rate and reduces its lifespan.
xi. Keep in mind the installation date of your car battery. On average, car batteries last about 1.5-2.5 years. As such, it is advisable to schedule a car battery replacement at your own convenience while it still works, rather than waiting till a roadside breakdown happens.
xii. Disconnect the car battery terminals and the cables if you plan not to use your car for an extended period of time (e.g. one or two weeks).