Testing A Car Battery

Testing a Car Battery

Spotting Vital Signs of Weakness and Testing a Car Battery for Performance Problems

Finding signs that your battery needs replacing is just as important when it comes to testing a car battery as is the assessment that the battery might already be dead. If you detect problems in time, there might be a chance to avoid having your battery die out any time soon, and you might also be able to avoid having your car let you down while you’re on an important journey. The first thing to do, however, is to actually test your car. But how do you know when it’s time to test it? Also, what is the right testing procedure, and how can you accurately assess the situation and prepare to replace your battery, if needed? These and many other questions will be addressed below. Which battery is right for your vehcile.

When Is It Time to Test the Car Battery?

Testing a car battery shouldn’t just be an emergency task you only perform when you notice some serious problems with your vehicle. Most experts agree that it should be done frequently as a precautionary method, and that it should primarily be performed when the battery gets older. This is typically the time when problems are most likely to appear, and the likelihood that any of those problems might have serious repercussions increases as your battery gets older. Test your car battery proactively at least twice per year.

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Signs of Problems That Might Not Be Related to Your Battery

The battery might be the culprit if the car doesn’t start right away, the battery goes dead after only a short time with the radio or other accessories on and engine off, or the engine cranks more slowly than usual. But in some cases, testing a car battery will reveal that the problem wasn’t with the battery at all. In this case, you will also have to check other areas and components of your car, including the alternator, the ignition system and the starter. If the starter goes bad, you’ll notice the car’s headlights being brighter than usual, but the car not starting at all. A faulty alternator will fail to charge the battery at all; as the vehicle runs strictly on battery power, it will soon exhaust the battery and stop running. Moreover, if the ignition system fails, your vehicle might not start at all. (EDITOR’S NOTE: most vehicles got away from ignition coils and distributors and went to a coil-on-plug system 20 years ago or more)

Performing a Load Test and Checking the Voltage

To make sure your car battery is at its peak performance, you have to perform a load test. To do this, testing a car battery has to be done on a warmer day, when the temperature is 70 F or higher. Measure the voltage for 15 seconds at a high state of charge and at half of the car’s normal CCA rating. If your battery can maintain at least a voltage of 9.6 volts in these conditions, then it has passed the load test. Popular battery accessories: AutoCraft Booster Cables 12'.

How to Deal with a Dead or Dying Car Battery

If your car battery is dead, there isn’t much you can do with it except to dispose of it in a clean manner, or have it recycled. Automotive lead-acid batteries are environmental hazards and should be handled as such. Some methods of recharging are said to revive even dead batteries, but they are not proven and might not work for all types of batteries. Regardless, anything you do at this point is just buying you a little time. If your battery isn’t dead yet, you might want to look for a replacement. A portable jumper or a charger will help you restore its functioning capacity for a while, and you could consider a few pulse charging methods to partially restore its performance. For this purpose, testing a car battery correctly will be an essential part of the process.

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Last updated June 6, 2018