5 Signs That It May Be Time To Change Your Battery

No car battery lasts forever. It’s important to stay alert for signs that your own power pack might need to be replaced before it ends up letting you down in a random parking lot at some point in the near future.

Fortunately, there are a number of signs that a new battery is on the horizon that you can spot well before that fateful day where you end up stranded and waiting for a tow. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common indications that it maybe time to change your battery.

1. Bulging Battery Case

One of the most obvious indications that your battery is in bad shape is if you discover any unusual bulges in its casing. This is usually caused by a battery that has been overcharged, which leads to a build-up of hydrogen gas inside that damages the plastic. An overheated battery can also cause a misshapen case. Either way, it’s a dangerous situation that could in theory lead to an explosion under the hood if not addressed, and a sure sign that it’s time to replace your battery and have your charging system evaluated.

2. Dim Lights, Slow Accessories

Your vehicle’s electrical system operates on a 12-volt charge, and a good condition battery can more than handle running its accessories with the ignition off for a reasonable length of time. If you notice that the power windows are slow, the lights inside the car are dim, or the radio pulses while the ignition is in the ‘accessory’ position, this can indicate that your battery isn’t able to hold a healthy enough charge, and might need to be replaced soon.

3. Your Battery Is 5 Years Old

Car batteries have a definite lifespan, especially in the Canadian climate where cold weather puts vehicle electrical systems through the wringer. The most you can reasonably expect from a standard car battery is 5 years of reliability – anything past that and you’re most likely on borrowed time. Don’t roll the dice, replace.

4. Your Starter Turns Slowly

If your starter isn’t getting enough power to turn your engine over with authority, this is usually a sign that your battery needs to be replaced. It might not be in poor enough condition to cause any other electrical problems, but given that the starter is the largest draw a battery will have to deal with, once it starts slowing down your starter it’s time to check your electrical system – starting with the battery.

5. Your Car Won’t Start During A Cold Snap

This final sign that it’s time to change your battery has to do with the dreaded no-start scenario on a cold day. If you’ve woken up to chilly weather, turned the key on your car, and been greeted with total silence – or perhaps the subtle ‘click’ of the starter solenoid – this is a strong indicator that your battery is on the way out.

If your battery starts your car one day, but can’t the next, it usually points to a problem with power delivery. Sometimes this indicates a bad battery cable – one that is corroded inside, or at the terminal – but combined with cold, it can also be caused by a battery that can’t maintain the necessary charge in winter weather.

Check out all the engine electrical products available on or trust one of our 600 NAPA AUTOPRO shops for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your vehicle’s battery, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Benjamin Hunting