How To Test A Car Battery
As passenger cars continue to get more complicated, do-it-yourself mechanics like yourself are becoming more scarce every day, some jobs are just not possible to do from home. Fortunately for you, determining the state of your battery not one of these jobs. In the profession, we recommend replacing your battery every five years, but as long as your battery is holding a charge, there is really no reason to replace it.
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If you are suspecting there may be something wrong with your battery and want to learn how to determine this without the help of a mechanic, you will need a multimeter. Any multimeter will do, as voltage is a standard across the industry.
Step 1: Set multimeter to 20 volts. The way they are set up varies sometimes, but as long as you see a capital V, you are good to go.
Step 2: Connect positive and negative terminals with corresponding terminals on your battery.
Step 3: Observe and assess.
If your battery is showing more than 12 volts while the car is off, you have a fully charged battery. If it drops below 12 volts while the car is turning over (we call this a full load), your battery is due for a change. You may need a second pair of hands to turn the key while you watch the multimeter readout, but chances are, if this is the case, your car won’t start anyway. While the car is on, you should see voltage more in the ballpark of 14 to 16 volts thanks to the extra help from the alternator. If you have any questions about your car battery, leave a comment below and we will get back to you!