Lets Check Battery Connectors
Once you locate your battery, before you grab any tools, theres two quick things that we could test out. The first thing is to make sure the terminal connectors are nice and tight. Give them a nice wiggle, see if it lifts up.
If your connectors move at all, make sure you tighten it up and that could solve your issue.
Even just a little bit of looseness here could cause the electricity not to flow properly, and that could cause your car not to start.
The next thing to look for is to make sure your terminals are clean and corrosion-free. You should see no corrosion on them and they shouldnt look dirty. If you do see corrosion or dirt, its important that you clean it. You can get the instruction here: How to clean battery terminal posts and connectors
How To Test A Car Battery For A Dead Cell
The batteries used in cars contain six separate cells. If a cell goes dead, the battery may appear to fully charge but wont function properly. Once a cell goes dead, the battery is bad and must be replaced. The best method to test a car battery for a dead cell is to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte fluid. Specific gravity is the density of the electrolyte fluid compared to water. The specific gravity for the electrolyte is ideally 1.265. A low specific gravity in one cell compared to other cells means it is dead.
Put safety first. Car batteries contain sulfuric acid, which can harm the eyes and skin. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses and work in a well-ventilated area. Keep open flames away from the battery.
Disconnect the battery cables using a crescent wrench, starting with the negative battery terminal . Connect the battery to a battery charger and allow it to charge to capacity. For best results use a three-phase battery charger designed for lead acid batteries. When charging is complete, disconnect the leads to the battery charger.
Use a screwdriver to pry the plastic caps off the top of the battery. Take your time doing this so you dont damage the caps.
Read the specific gravity from the hydrometer indicator. Squeeze the bulb afterward to return the battery fluid to the cell and write the reading down.
Use The Virtual Battery Tester
The internets awesomeness is beyond dispute at this point. One reason? It has everythingand keeps getting cool, new stuff!
One example: you can now test your battery online with a virtual battery tester on Firestone Complete Auto Cares website.
The virtual battery tester tells you the batterys expected lifespan. Keep in mind that factors such as corrosion or weather can alter your batterys life expectancy and influence the tests accuracy.
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Load Test The Battery
If the battery’s state-of-charge is at 75 percent or higher or has a “good” built-in hydrometer indication, then you can load test a car battery by one of the following methods:
During the load test, the voltage on a good battery will NOT drop below the following table’s indicated voltage for the electrolyte at the temperatures shown:
Replacing The Car Battery Without Losing Your Settings
Instruction how to replace your battery you can find here: How to replace a car battery even without losing your settings
I hope this article was helpful. Remember, you want to try to avoid vibrations, avoid the heat, and avoid draining your battery and keeping it drained. Always keep it topped off, and thatll keep your battery lasting a good long time. Hopefully, the article was helpful. If it was, remember to chare it. And all the tools and products I used in this article are linked in the article below.
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When Your Car Wont Start A Flat Battery Is Often The Culprit Testing The Condition Of Your Battery Regularly Can Avoid Problems
While attempting to start their cars, many drivers will be familiar with the silence or muffled ignition click that indicates a flat battery. The click is audible because a flat car battery may have just enough power left to operate the switch that activates the engine starter motor but not enough to start the engine. In this guide, we explain how you can safely test a car battery to help avoid this scenario.
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
If you hear the click of the switch without the engine turning over, theres a very good chance your battery could be the problem. If youre lucky, it could be a simple connection problem that can be fixed with a spanner and a dab of grease but more often than not youll need to charge the battery or replace it with a new one.
Your battery may be flat for an obvious reason, such as leaving lights or other electrical systems switched on overnight. If not, investigation will be required to determine whether theres a problem elsewhere with your car or whether the battery itself has reached the end of its life.
If youre experiencing other problems when starting your car, such as the engine turning over sluggishly when you turn the ignition key, you can ask a garage to perform a battery drop test which will highlight any problems. If the battery is nearing the end of its life, it may well be worth replacing it to avoid problems in the future.
Troubleshooting Other Causes You Should Check
If the battery is not reading the proper voltage with the multimeter, the first thing you should check is whether there is corrosion on the posts. If there is, you can disconnect the battery cable ends and terminals with sandpaper or a wire brush. Reconnect the battery cables, always starting with the positive cable first and retesting the battery, starting with step 3 on this list. Please make sure the cables are tight enough and cant be pulled off of the posts easily by hand.
Before testing your battery, make sure everything is off, including the radio, lights, and any other electronics that could pull energy from the battery. You also want to see if you have a device that is drawing electricity from the battery even when it is supposed off, called a parasitic draw. This video explains how to do this test with a multimeter.
This process will help you diagnose your battery problems and help you narrow down whether it is your battery or something else.
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How Do You Perform A Load Test
To pass a load test, the battery must maintain 9.6 volts at 15 seconds when tested at one-half the CCA rating and 70°F . This test must be done with a true load and not one of the hand-held testers that work off a conductance algorithm. The test must be run with the battery in a high state of charge. Be sure to read and follow all safety and handling instructions on the battery, this website and your battery tester. If you would like your battery tested, use our Find a Retailer for a location near you.
What Causes Battery Failure
- Not driving often enough, or running electronics when the engine is not on, or otherwise depleting the battery.
- If your battery is consistently charged at less than 80%, acid stratification can occur. This means that the electrolyte collects at the bottom of the battery, causing the upper half to be acid-poor. Acid stratification reduces the batterys performance and may cause it to fail.
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How To Test A Car Battery
Car batteries can be tested at home or in an auto service shop with a multimeter. Or, if you fancy yourself a bit of a DIY mechanic, you can buy a multimeter online for about $10 and test your battery at home. How to test your car battery with a multimeter?
Set the multimeter to 15-20 volts, hook up the multimeter to the positive and negative battery terminals, and read the voltage. Your owner’s manual will give you a clearer understanding of where your battery voltage should be, but in most cases, you’re looking for approximately 12.6 volts. A battery might need replacement if its volts suggest it’s gone bad.
As your battery ages, it loses its capacity to hold an electrical charge. An old battery can cause some identifiable issues, especially when you’re starting your car. If your battery isn’t dying, but you’re concerned for your battery life, look for the sound of a lazy engine â meaning it takes longer to turn over when you’re starting your vehicle â or flickering overhead lights when you’re starting your vehicle. If you hear or notice these signs, that’s a clear indication that your battery is weakening and that it may be time for a new one. Consider having the battery tested for a definitive answer.
How To Replace A Dead Car Battery
While you could always have your battery replaced in an auto shop, replacing a dead car battery is something you can easily do at home. If you decide to go the DIY route, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.
First, always check your owner’s manual for any safety precautions that might be listed.
Second, always wear gloves and eye protection as battery acid can be quite harmful to the skin.
Third, always disconnect your battery’s negative terminal before the positive.
Fourth, never touch a metal tool to the battery posts or terminals.
Finally, be cautious of sparking both from the battery and around the battery.
With these safety tips in mind, here’s how to replace a dead car battery:
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How To Check A Car Battery With A Multimeter
The first test with your multimeter will measure DC voltage, indicated with a solid line and a dashed line above a letter V. Set the dial to 20, which will allow you to accurately measure between 0-20 Volts.
Touch the red probe to the positive terminal, and the black probe to the negative terminal. The terminals will be marked + and -. If you get a reading with a minus in front of it you’ve got the probes the wrong way round!
The resting voltage should ideally be no lower than 12.6V. A battery that reads 12.2V is actually only 50% charged, and is classed as discharged below 12V.
One thing to bear in mind is that all modern cars experience ‘parasitic loss’, which is when something electrical drains the battery even with the engine turned off. So, systems such as the clock, computer and alarm use some power. If you suspect this is killing your battery during storage, you might be wise to disconnect the battery or remove it entirely.
If the multimeter reads less than 12.6 volts, disconnect the battery and fully charge it using a battery charger. Then let it rest overnight. If it holds a charge when it’s not connected to the car something is draining the battery far faster than the computer memory and digital clock.
Check The Multimeters Display
When connected to a fully charged battery, the multimeter will highlight your batterys voltage as being between 12.5V to 12.6V if everything is working as it should be.
Remember, the outside temperature and the type of battery you have will affect the battery voltage.
- For a standard lead acid battery at around 80 , a good battery thats fully charged will be in the 12.2 12.6 volt range. Whereas a fully charged AGM battery will have an open circuit voltage of about 12.8V to 12.9V.
- At 30 , the battery voltage will be around 12.58V and 12.51V.
- At 0 , your volt reading will be a little less if you have a good battery.
For reference, a lead acid battery thats about 75% charged will have a volt reading of around 12.45V. Anything below 12V suggests something is wrong with your battery and probably wont start your car.
If the multimeter displays the batterys voltage as anything between 12.3V and 12.5V, it could use a charge. If it doesnt start at all, you can jump-start your car from someone elses with a pair of jumper cables. Once your vehicle is running, the alternator can charge your battery. Alternatively, a battery charger will also work.
Anything below 12.2V suggests the batterys resting voltage is weak and youll need a replacement.
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How To Carry Out The Charging System Test
This last test we would discuss is necessary to test your batterys charging system. Just as you have done for the load test, adjust the volt range on the direct current to 20 volts, place the terminals positive to positive negative to negative, start your motorcycle.
Now bring your engine to about 3,000 RPM, then check the voltage reading on your multimeter and compare it to the specification on the owners manual. For a good charging system, the voltage should read between 13.8 and 14.5 volts.
Connect The Multimeter To The Battery
Make sure to identify the positive and negative terminals on your battery. They should be marked with a + or sign. The red terminal is the positive, and the negative terminal is the black one. Note that the terminal position is not always a good indicator of which one is positive or negative. Some batteries have the positive terminal on the right, and others have the positive terminal on the left. Also, some batteries have posts on the sides.
Remove the terminal caps. The multimeter has probes on the ends of the cable. You will see holes in the tops of the battery terminal posts. This is where you will insert the multimeter probes. When connecting the probes, start with the positive terminal first and hook up the negative terminal second. This prevents sparks. When disconnecting the probes, the process is reversed. You should unhook the negative terminal first and then the positive. When you have the negative probe in position, you should see movement on the needle of the multimeter or the digital readout display.
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Cost Of A New Car Battery
When it is clear you need a new battery, then luckily there are many places you can pick up a new one. As with most parts of a car, a new battery for your vehicle comes with a range of prices and battery brands. You can pick up a brand new battery for anywhere between $50 and $150. There are also some premium batteries that may cost you as much as $300 or more. This is not necessarily something you need for your car and certainly not standard or required by any means.
It is also worth noting you can save yourself some money on your car battery by replacing it yourself rather than heading to a mechanic. A lot of people are intimidated by doing any kind of work on their vehicle but replacing the battery is one of the easiest things you can do, and its not going to take a lot of time either.
How To Test A Car Battery At Home
When it comes to starting your car, silence is one of the worst sounds you can hear.
Thats why its essential to act immediately if you:
You wont even have to leave your driveway to conduct a quick battery check. Well show you how to test a car battery from home in four simple steps.
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Physical Inspection Of The Battery
A physical examination of the car battery is essential to detect any cracks. To do this, you must first disconnect the battery terminals and then remove the battery from the car. Place the battery on a flat surface and check that no bulge has formed on the surface of the battery. Doming of the battery is the result of overcharging. Next, inspect the battery terminals and look at the insulation. If the battery has cracks, you must replace it.Before you put the battery back in the battery carrier, you must clean it. Cleaning the battery is easy. All you need is some baking soda, water and a soft brush. Pour the ingredients into a container and wash the top and side of the battery with the soft brush. Wipe off excess liquid with a dry cloth. Repeat the procedure with the connectors.Check the battery carrier for signs of corrosion and make sure there are no mixing screws. Place the cleaned battery on the battery compartment and screw it in place. Make sure that the battery does not rock sideways. Replace the terminals, starting with the positive terminals. Apply some Vaseline or grease to the poles before closing the cover to prevent corrosion.
How To Properly Diagnose And Replace A Bad Battery In Your Car Or Truck
Last updated on by Chris Magello
I wrote diagnose first, because its very important to figure out why your battery went dead. Is it because the battery itself is bad, or do you have another problem in the car causing a draw? So Im going to show you:
- how to test your alternator,
- how to test for a parasitic draw,
- how to properly clean your terminals to make sure theres a perfect electrical connection.
That way you know if your battery is bad or if its something else. If you do have a bad battery, dont worry, replacing a battery is super simple.
Car Gift Ideas
I know most of you guys could probably do it with your eyes closed. Even if youre a pro at replacing batteries, this article will hopefully teach you something new with all the tips and tricks I have.
For example, when you go to buy a battery, you can see different types of batteries, which battery is right for you? Can you buy the least expensive battery, or do you need to buy the most expensive battery? Im going to talk about the different tiers and which one is right for you.
Another cool thing that I did that I really like is I cut open an old battery that is bad. Never do this at home, the battery acid is not safe, but the acid has been removed. Im going to teach you how a battery works. This is going to be really cool to see because you normally dont get to see this, and you can see on the picture below is a bad cell:
And Im going to teach you what causes a battery to go bad:
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