How to know when your battery has died

There are a number of reasons why car batteries die or fail to power the starter motor.

Some common ones include:

  • Leaving headlights, interior lights, indicators, and the radio on when the car isn’t running
  • Using the air conditioner when the car is not running
  • Using your car over an extended period of time for lots of short trips where you’re stopping and restarting continuously
  • Not starting a car for long periods of time (e.g., while it’s in storage)
  • Failure of the alternator charging the battery while the car is running
  • Dirt and debris stuck in battery terminals
  • Corroded or loose battery terminals


There’s nothing worse than sitting inside your lifeless car, in your own driveway, just 20 minutes before you’re due to be in the office. There’s that old saying that rings very true, and it goes like this: ‘Prevention is better than a cure’.

Here are some signs to look out for before that dreaded day arrives.

1. The starter motor crank sounds laboured or slow

Without realising it, you are probably familiar with the sound your car usually makes when you start it up, and you will most likely notice if that sound changes. If it suddenly sounds laboured or slow, it may indicate either a problem with the battery or the starter motor. The most likely cause being insufficient battery charge to properly operate the starter motor. If you notice a change in the sound or speed of the starter motor before the battery dies, giving your car a decent run may help by allowing the alternator to recharge the battery properly.

2. Car won’t start unless you give it gas

If you find yourself having to pump the accelerator in order to help the engine start, it could mean your battery is on its way out so get it checked as soon as possible.

3. Your headlights and/or dash lights are dim

Your battery does not have enough charge to power your lights sufficiently – there may be something draining your battery or an issue with your alternator. In any case, don’t ignore any of this signs and just hope for the best. Not only are dim lights are safety hazard, it’s much easier to get your battery issues fixed while your car can still run – drive straight to Newcastle Roadside Assist or call us on 0477 004 159 and we’ll come to you.


  • The car won’t unlock using the remote, you’ve had to insert the key and unlock it manually
  • The interior light and indicators do not come on or flash as usual
  • When you insert the key, no dashboard lights illuminate and the radio does not come on
  • Your car makes a clicking sound when you turn the key
  • The engine fails to crank or turn over at all

If you hear nothing at all when you turn the ignition key, that’s a good indicator that the starter motor isn’t getting any power. When combined with other signs, like not working or dim dash and headlights, a dead battery is the likely culprit.

The car won’t start after sitting overnight

You’ve accidentally left your headlights or interior light on overnight and it has drained the battery.

Before buying a new battery…

Check that the battery terminals are free from dirt and connected properly. If they are loose, tighten them up and see if the problem goes away.