Is It a Short, or Is It the Battery?

November 15, 2021 9:33 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When a car won’t start, sometimes the real culprit is elusive. You turn the key on your car, boat or other vehicle, and all you hear is a click—and this always seems to happen at the worst time.

But what’s causing the issue? Is it a battery short? Here’s what you need to know.

Parasitic drains

Most likely, the problem with your battery short was in the making long before you experienced the no-start issue. Many vehicles of all types have an electrical draw on the battery even when the key is turned off. These parasitic drains, as they are called, make constant demands for energy even when the key is turned off.

How can you tell if this affects your vehicle? Due to the sensitive nature of this effect, you must use an inductive amp meter to test for signs of a bad battery. See the image below for an example. Watch for our next blog for tips on using an inductive amp meter.

Battery short

This picture shows a dual-terminal battery (a battery that features top and side post terminals), with one negative terminal removed. The digital meter is set to DC voltage and placed between the disconnected negative for the vehicle and the negative on the battery. The digital meter is showing 12.54 volts (V). This vehicle has a short on the system. The completion of a current will indicate voltage instead of zero (0.0).

When there is a short on a vehicle, the battery will be discharged as long as the short remains. If the discharge continues below 10.25 V, the battery will most likely be unable to start the vehicle, and the battery will be permanently damaged.

Signs of a bad battery

To avoid a no-start situation, watch for signs that your battery is nearing the end of its life. Look for the following signs of a bad battery to determine what repairs must be made to keep your vehicle running smoothly:

  • Dim headlights: A battery that is on its last leg will not be strong enough to fully power all the electrical components of the vehicle. Watch for headlights that look dim or weak compared to their usual performance.
  • Clicking: If you turn the key in the ignition and are greeted with a clicking sound, you probably have a battery issue. The starter is not receiving enough power from the battery to start the car, and the result is the clicking sound you hear.
  • Sluggish start: If your engine starts more slowly than usual, this is a sign of a bad battery. Don’t ignore this change in starting behavior. Contact a battery specialist right away for repairs or replacement, so you don’t end up stranded in the future.

We’re here to help

For more information on battery shorts or signs of a bad battery, contact the team at Texford Battery Co. We offer the industry’s top products at the lowest cost. Reach us today at 713-222-0125 with any questions or to schedule your next expert service.

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