Car Battery Test (Car Battery Check)

For many car owners, obviously, the goal is for the battery to hold optimal charge all the time, and more importantly, for it to not fail. This is especially true if you intend to go on a long trip where there is no room for any battery problem. To be prepared for the worst, it is important to regularly perform a car battery test/car battery check. There are tests that you can do on your own, but there are also some that should be completed by professional mechanics, especially when special tools are required.

car battery test

Why exactly is a car battery test necessary? The following are some of the reasons why it is a requirement:

  • Ensure Its Best Physical Condition: This is most probably one of the most important reasons why testing a car battery is important. This will provide you with the assurance that the battery is structurally-sound, which means that there must be no leaks and all of the parts are working properly, including whatever accessories are attached to it.
  • Determine Its Voltage: The state of charge of a battery can be determined based on its voltage reading. If the battery has 100% charge, this means that the voltage will generally be from 12.7 to 13.2. When testing the voltage, a simple reading will not be enough. There is also a need to analyze various conditions. For instance, if the battery is fully charged, but the voltage is lower than normal, the battery can possibly be sulfated.
  • Determine Its Current: Aside from being able to determine the voltage of a battery, testing is also necessary to be able to determine its current. This is going to be done with the use of an ammeter. Simply put, it is a combination of two words, amperes and meters. Ampere refers to the unit of current that is present in a battery and such is measured with an ammeter.

Testing a Battery’s Physical Condition

Even at the comfort of your own home and without the need to visit a mechanic within the neighborhood, there are some basic ways by which it will be possible to check your car battery. This is one thing that should be done regularly to be able to avoid problems in unexpected situations. To be able to tell the physical condition of a battery, the following things should be done:

  • Check if there is a bump or crack in the case, especially if it is made from a plastic housing. Plastic is more brittle, and hence, it can crack easily. If there are any structural damages, replace the battery even before it leaks or before other more serious problems happen.
  • Inspect if there are broken or loose terminals. They should be tightened. If they can no longer be tightened, have them replaced before they can minimize the functionality of the car battery. They can also lead into having a short circuit.
  • Check the level of water, especially if it is a wet-cell battery. If it is already low, having it refilled with water will be helpful, but not when it has already dried up for an extended period.

Testing a Battery’s Voltage

When it comes to the functionality of car batteries, another important thing that should be measured would be its voltage, which will have an impact on its performance. The state of charge will have an effect on the voltage of the battery. In order to test the voltage of a battery, here are the things that you should do:

  • The first thing that you have to do is to make sure that the ignition and the lights are off before performing the test.
  • Next, connect the positive voltmeter test lead to the positive terminal of your battery. The positive test lead from the voltmeter is the one with red color while in the battery, the terminal has a “+” sign.
  • After which, connect the negative voltmeter test lead to the negative terminal of your battery. The negative test lead from the voltmeter is the one with black color while in the battery, the terminal has a “-”sign.
  • Next, start reading the display in the voltmeter. If the readings showed that it has below 12.45 volts, this simply means that the battery is running low and it should be recharged.

Testing a Battery’s Current

Similar to the voltage of a car battery, its current should also be evaluated. One of the tools that will be needed to test the current of the battery is an ammeter. Simply put, it is going to measure the current that will go in and out of the car’s battery. If the battery has excellent and reliable charging system, the readings should not have any problem. If the reading is low or negative, on the other hand, it is a sign that something could lead into a serious problem. To measure the current of a car’s battery, here are the things that should be done:

  • More often than not, your car will have an ammeter installed. This will make it easy to measure the amperes of your car’s battery.
  • If there is no ammeter and if the battery should be tested independently away from the car, the first thing that you have to do is to disconnect battery terminals.
  • With your ammeter in hand, connect the wires to the appropriate terminals. Positive to positive and negative to negative.
  • Next, have the ammeter connected to your alternator. Have all fittings tightened and you can now start measuring current.

Conclusion

Consider your car’s battery as a part of a human body. Let’s say that it is your heart. For the whole body to function properly, your heart should be healthy. In the case of a car battery, for the car to work properly, the battery should also be in an excellent condition. Also, keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. Any potential problem should be diagnosed early to prevent further implications. It is important for every car owner to know how they can test their battery to avoid problems on the road.

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