Wyoming Off-road Racing Association

7 Signs Your Car Battery Is About To Die And Needs To Be Replaced (or reconditioned)

Without a battery, your car simply is not functional.  Among the most inconvenient things in life is if your car battery suddenly dies unexpectedly!

But the great news is… there are several ways to know if your car battery is on the verge of dying and needs to be replaced.   In this guide we’ll go over 7 signs your car battery is going to die and needs to be replaced or reconditioned.

Before we get started discussing these 7 critical signs, it is important to note that if experiencing issues with your car battery, be sure to check the battery connections and cables first because sometimes a faulty connection can seem to be a larger problem.

1) Slow Cranking – When turning the key, if your car turns over for longer than normal or takes some time to”grab,” it often is because the battery charge is low.  While the starter can be the culprit, the majority of the time the battery is to blame.  If this is happening regularly, it is a fantastic sign your car battery is going bad and it could be time to replace your battery or recondition it.

2) Assess Engine Light/Battery Warning Light – The check engine light is always a great indication of something off with your car or truck.  The battery power being feeble will trip the check engine light.  If your check engine light is on, be sure to check the battery power level.   Additionally, newer cars have a battery light, like the check engine light. This will only light up if there is a problem with the battery.

3) Age – A car battery lifespan, in ideal conditions, is about five decades.   If your battery is coming up on the five to six year mark it is time to begin searching for a replacement or recondition it to give it new life.

4) Electrical Component Issues –  One sure indication that your battery is starting to fade is if electrical components are struggling to operate (such as lighting, windshield wipers, power locks, and windows).

5) Swollen Battery Case – If you look under the hood and your battery case looks swollen, bloated, or malformed; it’s a sign that temperature has affected the chemical components of the battery, shortening the lifespan.

6) Smell –  If you smell sulfur or rotten eggs under your hood, this is frequently a symptom of leaking battery acid. This can damage other engine parts if not addressed immediately.  If you notice this, you may either bring your own battery into a store and have them look at it or you may use our reconditioning steps and do it yourself.

7) Multiple Jump starts Needed – if you are having to jump your battery to get your car started more than three times each week, it’s time to replace the battery or recondition it.  Excessive jumping can also damage other systems, so it is ideal to get the battery replaced or correct the battery yourself.

If your vehicle battery is showing any of those 7 signs, know that your battery needs to be replaced or reconditioned before your car no longer runs.


Wyoming Off Road Racing Association

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers through the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with.  However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.

Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android devices, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps.  I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).

For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger for use on another device, it’s essential that the plug  of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit.  Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually located at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall.  For the device you’re attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the manufacturer’s website.

Voltage is how much power the charger will draw into the device, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The amount of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that can be pulled by the device.  The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.

So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.  This means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).

An interesting point to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge.  That is pretty much how they work.  There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery.  When you look at your car, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers

The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, or are not built to keep a steady flow securely.  This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stay with the charger made for the device you are using.

Now You Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers

I hope this article was able to help you.  Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus.  Be certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!