I recently had the delightful experience of having a dead battery. Sounds easy enough, the car won’t start, it must be the battery. But, the real issue I faced was, I didn’t know if I actually had a bad battery, bad battery cables, a bad starter, a bad alternator or even something else. Perhaps I just had bad karma. I checked the battery water to make sure the cells were all holding water. That’s the first thing I thought, was that I had neglected checking my battery. I paid just under $100 for my last battery, so I really needed to take care of that battery.

Here are a few symptoms to pinpoint the problem:

If your car will not crank at all and you hear a clicking noise, which slowly fades away to nothing, it may be either your battery is dead/dying or you have bad cable or terminal connections. You can take the battery out and take it to a mechanic (which would be cheaper than having your car towed). Or, you can clean your battery cable connections with a wire brush (and I used a fizzy soft drink) until the connections are clean and then reconnect them and try it again.

If the lights are dim when you try to start the car, the radio does not come on and the windshield wipers don’t work, it’s likely a dead battery.

Most vehicles have a battery light somewhere on the dashboard that indicates battery life. If this light comes on, the battery is fairly new and holds a charge well when tested, and you’ve ruled out an electrical short, then the problem might be the alternator.

The battery, alternator and voltage regulator all work together to keep electrical components of the car powered properly. It can be costly to replace the alternator if the battery or regulator really are the problem. So have these three parts tested separately to find out which component is failing.

So, if you find your car won’t start, keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully it’s just a dead battery. Taking care of your car battery, will take care of you.

Until next week.

Daun T
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Take Care of That Battery from ComedyDefensiveDriving.com