How do you know if your car battery is low?

What happens when a car battery starts to die? Something strange is happening to my car, but I have a feeling it might just need a new battery. I don’t want to take it to a mechanic if I don’t have to.

Hana Sabah · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
“Good call—if your battery is low, then replacing it early on could prevent a bigger hassle in the future.
Here are some tell-tale signs your car battery is dying:
Dim headlights: If your car battery is dying, the first thing you may notice is your headlights aren’t as bright. Electrical components like lights will be one of the first things to appear weaker than usual.
Clicking sound when you turn the key: When you turn your key in the ignition, your car battery sends an electrical current to get things going. But if your battery is failing, you may hear a clicking sound as opposed to the engine starting up.
Slow crank: Another huge red flag is if your engine cranks more slowly or sluggish than normal when you’re turning your key. This is a key indicator that your battery is on its deathbed.
Needing to press on the gas pedal to start: You should not need to give your car gas to get it to start. If you find that is the only way to get your car going, then you may be dealing with a failing battery.
Backfiring: This might sound like your car is yelling at you. A dying car battery can cause intermittent sparks, and these can lead to fuel accumulating in the cylinders. When that’s ignited, it causes your car to backfire.
Note that each symptom could be tied to other issues, as well. It might not be your battery at all. To be sure, you can have your battery tested at an auto parts store or a mechanic. They’ll know for sure if it’s failing to hold a charge and should be replaced.
Also, remember that jumpstarting your car is only a temporary solution. If you find yourself jumping your car a couple of times in close succession, you most definitely need to get a replacement battery.
If your car is getting older, Jerry has your back. With
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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