How to Test a Car Battery

Car Battery

Your car’s battery is what supplies power to the ignition system so the engine can start. Without it, the car can’t turn on, leaving you stranded in Danvers, Peabody, or Salem. A battery usually lasts about four years before needing replaced. If you think that time might be coming up, you’ll want to test it out before it stops working.

Below, we’ll tell you exactly how to test a car battery. We’ll also go over some warning signs of a failing battery. Read through our informative guide and schedule a service appointment at Ira Toyota of Danvers.

Testing a Car Battery with a Multimeter

A healthy battery should read at about 12.6 volts. One way to test the voltage of a car battery is to use a multimeter.

You’ll want to check the battery after it’s been sitting for at least an hour, but it’s ideal to leave it sit overnight. Then, complete the following steps:

Car Battery Service

  1. Set the multimeter to 20 to correctly measure between 0 and 20 volts.
  2. Connect the negative (black) battery terminal to the negative (black) meter probe.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the positive (red) one.
  4. Check the multimeter reading. If it’s at 12.6 volts, it’s 100% charged. At 12.2, it’s about 50% charged. If it’s reading less than 12 volts, there’s a good chance it’ll fail soon.

If the battery is low, you’ll want to get it looked at by a professional at our service center right away as it might have to be replaced.

Warning Signs of a Failing Battery

Other than testing a car battery, there are some other ways to determine if a battery is on its way out. Some common warning signs are:

  • Engine is slow to start: When you turn on the ignition, it’s the battery alone that starts the engine. If the engine cranks slower than usual, the battery is beginning to fail.
  • Issues with electronics: Not only does the battery start the engine, but it runs the various electrical mechanisms inside your car as well. These include the radio, power windows, and headlights. If any of them stop working like they should, there’s an issue with the battery.
  • Swollen or bloated battery case: When the battery is exposed to extreme amounts of heat or cold, the sides of the case can swell up. This can then decrease the battery’s lifespan.
  • Strong odor: If the battery has been frozen or shorted internally, the case might vent gas. This would produce a strong rotten egg smell which would be sulfuric acid. If the battery doesn’t get replaced right away, the acid can eat away at other parts of the engine.

If you notice any of these warning signs, have your battery repaired or replaced as soon as possible before it affects other parts of your automobile.

Schedule a Battery Check Today

While you can do a battery check by yourself, it’s something best left to the professionals. That way, if the battery has to be fixed, we can take care of it right then and there.

If you live near Danvers, Peabody, and Salem, don’t wait.  Contact us at Ira Toyota of Danvers today!