Car Battery Needs REPLACING?
Find out below how to identify what is at fault in your car.
And if your car battery is the PROBLEM, then...
Whenever the car cannot start, it's a car battery problem?
Well, yes it commonly is. Because a car battery is a wear and tear part, just like tyres and brake pads.
You use them repeatedly and, as you would expect, over time car batteries get old and weaken.
And one day when it is too weak, it will not be able to start your car.
Most drivers imagine that the other parts of the car last way longer and that's true!
Statistically, the most common problem when you cannot start your car is due to a car battery issue.
But as we will see here below, there are other reasons why your car will not start. Other parts of the car can fail too.
So, if it is not the car battery [we will teach you how to diagnose if it is the car battery further below], what else could it be?
Is This Tricky To Identify? [ Honda Jazz ]
Take a look at this video sent us by a customer. Can you tell if this is a car battery issue? Or not?
Hint: Listen to hear when the key is turned, and the sound the car makes.
Read on to find out how to read these symptoms to properly identify the issues.
How About This One? [ Subaru Forester ]
The Forester is a little different as the car will first do a speedometer display sweep, and dash then lights up, before starting the car. In this video, the driver attempted to start two times. Is this a car battery issue?
If you are unsure, then let's go through and find out what the most common problems are for when a car refuses to start.
Car Cannot Start, Problem 1: Starting Procedure
Older model cars are easy cars. They do not have so many fail safe conditions to meet before they will crank and start up.
In a new car, unlike old manual gearbox, turn the key to crank type of car, you need to first check the following.
- The car gearshift is in 'P'.
- You have stepped on the brake pedal.
- You car has detected your keyless remote fob.
The above three are the minimum that current generation cars require in order to allow cranking.
How do you tell if it is one of these three issues above?
The car will refuse to crank at all, there is no cranking sound whatsoever. And yet, other electrical in car works as normal, such as the symbols and lights in the speedometer display which are as bright as usual.
That the car is in P is easy to see. But some owners have failed to step on their brake pedals hard enough for the car to sense it. It should sink in approximately an inch before the car detects it.
It can sometimes feel like the brake pedal is stiff to step on, especially when parked overnight. This is actually a symptom of brake system problems - a slow leak in brake cylinder pressure.
In such cases, step harder to get your car started, and go get the brake checked out.
Also, if the remote key battery is weak, it may become hard for the car to detect it to allow starting.
You can probably get the car to detect better by bringing the key really close to the push start button in some models. In others, such as some Mercedes and BMW, insert the key into its slot on the dashboard.
So do make sure the battery in the remote is replaced with a good one.
(Sorry, Fastfix does not replace remote key batteries.)
Car Cannot Start, Problem 2: Fuel Pump
The fuel pump is a part of the car which brings the petrol from your tank to the engine for it to combust and fire up.
So if the fuel pump is not running, then the fuel never reaches the engine and it will not start up.
How do you tell it is a fuel pump problem?
When you try to start, the cranking of the starter motor is fast and strong, not sluggish, but after repeated cranks, it still does not start up.
That is likely because there is no fuel for the engine to burn.
This problem is more common in older cars, but can also happen in newer cars if you like to run the car till the fuel tank is almost empty before topping up.
Fuel lubricates the fuel pump and helps it run smoothly, so an almost empty tank sometimes throws some bubbles at the pump (as air enters the fuel line) which causes it to lose lubrication and seize or damage.
It is therefore good advice to pump before fuel is almost drained. Especially if you like hard cornering (like me, I learnt the hard way).
Car Cannot Start, Problem 3: Lack of Ignition Spark
In any combustion of fuel within the engine, there are three elements required, fuel, air and spark.
At the mention of spark, you will go "ah, spark plugs!"
Yes, and if these have not been changed and or gapped at the recommended interval, they can start to lose their efficiency, resulting in weaker spark or worse, no spark.
I mentioned as "lack of ignition spark" in this section because I did not want to create a new section for each of these items that help with the spark in your engine. And there are quite a number of other items that cause the spark to fail.
These are the other items that contribute to proper ignition, other than the spark plug:
- Spark plug cable
- Ignition coils
- Crank position sensor
The cable that brings electricity to the spark plug also needs to work well in order for the spark to occur. The connector of the spark plug should be checked and if corroded or worn such that is impedes electrical flow, should be replaced.
Cables, being passive items do not fail often unless the connector ends are stressed (have been twisted or bent at unnatural angles), or exposed to chemicals that may cause corrosion to the electrical contact surfaces.
Newer cars have the cable loom connected directly to the integrated spark plug coils which are mounted on top of the spark plug.
These coils can fail with time and should also be checked, especially in an older car, if you have strong crank but engine does not fire up.
The crank position sensor helps the spark to occur at the right time, and if it sparks at the wrong time, you are likely to get uneven idle on the engine.
And the engine may die off after a few short seconds, which some owners think is a battery problem, but it is not. You may also get this symptom with a dirty throttle body.
How to tell it is an ignition problem?
The cranking is strong, and engine may or may not start. But if it does start, can stutter and die shortly after starting.
If engine can be kept alive when a little bit of throttle is applied, then this is due to other issues such as a dirty throttle body, or crank position sensor.
If it dies after starting engine, then it is not a car battery problem.
Car Cannot Start, Problem 4: Starter Motor Failure
For the engine to crank start, an electric motor is usually used to turn it over.
This motor is called the starter motor and the car battery powers it when you press the start button or in older cars, turn the key.
However, in cars that are older, typically 6-7 years or more, this starter motor can fail and not crank even when the battery power is connected to it (through a electrical relay).
How do you tell it is a starter motor issue?
Typically, you will hear a single click, which is the electrical relay activating to connect the power, but silence after that, no cranking sounds.
Also, the speedometer display lights do not dim or flicker.
In this case, it would be a starter motor issue, and the motor will need to be replaced for reliable daily starting.
Some starter motors can be intermittent, able to start sometimes, but not at other times.
In such cases, if you really need to get moving, sometimes tapping on the motor with a metal tool can get it to work. But for many car models, this is not accessible from above.
But get it replaced, or it will inconvenience you soon as you least expect it.
Car Cannot Start, Problem 5: Car Battery!
And now, we get to the main part of what Fastfix does for you, the car battery!
We often get customer to send us videos of how it looks like when their cars cannot start, and we are supposed to analyse this by watching.
Sometimes, customers do not take the correct things we want to identify in order to know so we still have to call them to ask for details.
But some of these videos taken by customers are quite useful! And they show exactly what happens when a car battery is weak!
We share here some of these for you so you can see if this is also what you experience.
So, how do you tell it is a car battery problem?
The car battery could either be weak or dead totally.
A weak battery can be a sign of wear and tear over time, or it could flattened from an electrical leak from something being left on while the engine is off.
An increasingly common problem that causes weak batteries, is parasitic current draw when the engine is off. If you want to maintain your battery to last well, here are some tips.
A Totally Dead Car Battery
That is easy to tell, the car will not even unlock using the remote control. But do confirm that the remote is working and you can usually tell this by a small LED light that blinks when you press the unlock button.
If the remote does not unlock the door, proceed by using the manual car key hidden in the remote control to open the car door.
After entering the car, try your usual starting procedure. If the dashboard refuses to light up at all with the usual starting procedure, then your battery is totally dead.
This Is Quite Dead
You may hear some beeps, dash does not light up at all. There is still some weak residual power, but not enough to light the dash, especaily for cars with more electronics.
A battery that is left discharged to below 85% full, if left in this state for some time, will usually be damaged by a process called sulphation, which coats the lead plates and prevents full exposure of metal to acid, making it weak.
The lower the state of charge, the faster this deterioration occurs.
If you are interested in keeping your battery working for as long as possible, is important to try to keep it as close to full charge always.
This charging of the battery is a job your car manufacturer does for you, so do not undo their good work by having electrical parasites in the car.
Common causes of parasitic drain come from a short circuit (often from botched or poor aftermarket hi-fi or accessories installations), a cabin or boot light left on, or, very common nowadays, a car camera that is running 24 hours a day.
Nowadays, with car owners increasingly installing driving recorder cameras, we are helping more and more customers who find they have totally flat starter batteries.
Remember that a car starter battery is just that, for starting the engine. It is not supposed to be used to power electronics for 24 hours a day.
A driving camera should have it's own battery pack, which is made from lithium ion.
Li-on is a totally different battery technology, different from starter batteries. which does not sustain damage from being totally drained of power.
A Partially Drained Car Battery
A partially drained battery is harder to tell and may not be so obvious to some car owners because the car remote still unlocks the door, the signal lights still blink, and the speedometer display (may) look normal, up until the point when you try to crank start the engine.
Then the speedometer display will start to dim and or flicker once or many times quickly when you try to start the engine.
This is almost a sure sign of car battery weakness.
The flickering is due to the electrical (or also known as solenoid) relay requiring a voltage to hold it in place, in the closed circuit position, to continue to send power from the starter battery to the starter motor.
When a battery is weak, it's power is too quickly drained by the starter motor, which requires hundreds of amps to crank, and therefore it can no longer hold the electrical relay closed.
But once the relay opens (it is a "normally open" relay - no voltage means it stays open circuit), and the starter motor is not taking amps, the dash display lights up again.
And when it is lit, if your finger is still holding the start button, it tries again to close.
This repeats in quick succession and the open and closing results in a fast flickering and clicking sounds. Play the videos to learn more.
Toyota Estima Having Weak Car Battery
This is a classic example of what we just described above, where the speedometer lights flicker when trying to crank.
But it does not always show this way, as this depends on how weak the battery has become. Cranking repeatedly makes it even weaker!
And the car can stop cranking and display can go totally dark if the battery weakens further.
The Best Solution To A Car Starter Battery Problem?
Fastfix Car Battery Replacement has helped thousands of cars with their car batteries.
We have experience with all types of cars, from Japanese and Korean, to continental makes.
Exotic sports cars also use and trust us for ultimate service and reliability.
We can be quickly reached with the WhatsApp button on this page.
Just text us or call us at 81145500 for an honest, quick and effective solution!
Always glad to be of help!
Car Battery Needs REPLACING?
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