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How to tell if a car battery is dead

12th April 2021

Running into a flat car battery can be irritating at the best of times – but especially when you’re in a rush, leaving for work or heading to appointment. Let’s be honest, experiencing a dead car battery at any time is likely to put a stop to your plans for the day. So, why do car batteries go flat? And how can you tell if a car battery is dead?

Why does my car battery keep dying?

Car batteries can become flat for a number of reasons, such as a drop in temperature - which is one of the most common reasons, as the cold weather can freeze the battery solution and limit ability to transfer full power to the battery. Another common reason why your battery may be flat could be due to lack of use – if you leave your car on the drive for a few weeks or months without using it, your car’s battery will gradually lose its charge, which can lead to battery failure.

However, if your battery keeps dying persistently, it could mean there is a fault, and it may be time to invest in a new car battery. Book in for your free battery check at your local Merityre Specialists branch where we can diagnose your battery issues, and advise whether your battery needs repairing or replacing.

Signs of a dead car battery

So, how can you tell if a car battery is dead?

  • Dashboard – if your car battery is flat, an illuminated battery symbol will appear on the dashboard of your vehicle. Familiarise yourself with the symbol (likely to be a rectangular battery with a plus and minus either side, and a lightning bolt in the middle) as this is the best indicator that your car battery has died.
  • Car won’t start – another common way to suggest your car battery has become flat is if your vehicle won’t start, or it may take longer to start. However, it’s likely you’ll only have a couple of these warnings before your car battery dies completely. If your battery is completely flat, your vehicle will not be able to start at all – and you will just hear a clicking noise instead.
  • Electric controlled elements not working in the vehicle – such as windows, radio, lights and air conditioning, as this is all controlled by the car’s battery. If your battery is failing, this may affect these elements slightly – such as causing your headlights to appear dimmer.

If your car battery has died, there are ways to boost it back to life again – such as jump starting your vehicle. However, visit our dedicated batteries page for more information on replacement or repair of your current car battery.

How long do car batteries last

Typically, the average car battery is set to last around 3-5 years – but this is very dependent on a number of factors, such as the climate of your residency (as heat or extreme cold temperatures causes the rate of battery degradation to increase), how often you use your vehicle and what type of battery you have.

Ready to book in for your free car battery check at Merityre Specialists? Our team of experts are on hand to provide you with repair or replacement information, as well as more advice on how to tell if a battery is dead.