There is a car battery even in the model car that you will purchase today. It is a kind of rechargeable electric cell that has a voltage of 12 volts. This battery provides electricity to run your engine and power accessories. The battery becomes discharged when electricity from the alternator fails to recharge it as needed for starting the vehicle. In this case, it might be difficult for you to start your vehicle or lose certain electrical components such as lights, radio, windshield wipers, and so on if any power left inside it discharges completely. That’s why we always have to check our cars’ batteries before going somewhere just to avoid disappointments! Here are below some tips that can guide us to check car batteries health without touching them:
Check Battery With A Multimeter
It is the safest and easiest way to check the battery’s health. You can use a multimeter to find out if your car battery has any problems. Do not forget that you will need to clean the connectors before testing, otherwise, your readings might be inaccurate! If everything goes well, you will be able to see at least 12 volts in your vehicle’s battery when it is in good condition.
Is The Battery Dirty?
If one or more cells inside it are dirty, then there is no connection between them, and this results in loss of voltage which won’t let the vehicle start up. Wipe off each post with a clean rag until you get a shiny surface for all six cells.
Check The Specific Gravity Of Each Cell
This will ensure you to know how much power is available for starting your car engine and operating the electrical accessories. For this, remove each cell’s vent cap and dip a hydrometer into each battery cell through the openings that are present in the caps. Look at the specific gravity reading of each cell on your hydrometer’s scale after shaking it well then compare all six readings together. If any one of them is lower than 1.250, you should add distilled water to all cells until each reaches a gravity value between 1.225 and 1.265 (at 80° F).
What Is the State Of Charge?
Although there are no visible problems with your car’s battery, you can also test its state of charge with an external DC ammeter. It is the simplest way to check if your battery has enough power to start your engine and operate the electrical accessories. Note that before checking it, be sure that all parasitic loads on the car’s circuit are turned off because they will drain power from your battery.
Check Battery Case For Damage And Loose Vent Caps
Before checking the health of your car battery, inspect for any cracks or damaged areas in case where electrolyte might leak out under normal conditions due to excessive heat or vibration. Examine vent caps carefully too as corrosion or tarnish around their openings can prevent air from entering into cells which prevents normal gas recombination and loss of water due to evaporation.
Check the Battery Tray and Cables
While checking all other things, also check your battery tray and its hold-down hardware because rust or corrosion on these components can cause a poor electrical connection between the cable terminal clamps and the batteries’ posts too. Finally, make sure that each cable is in good condition with no cracks or frayed spots in their insulation, clean cable ends, terminals are tight against cable clamps are securely attached with no signs of burning around the battery post.
Does The Battery Have Enough Water?
It is very important to know about this point too! If you find any dried electrolyte either on top or at the bottom of the battery case, you should refill each cell immediately by adding distilled water. Because if electrolyte gets too low, your car’s starting and charging system will not work properly!
Add Distilled Water If Necessary
To add distilled water to any cell that is dry, first, loosen its filler cap. Then use a plastic funnel to pour it in carefully through the opening of the filler neck. Until the electrolyte level reaches inside the top of the battery plates. Afterward, tighten battery caps securely before recharging your car’s battery. Because pressure from swelling may cause them to open unexpectedly. While incorrect positioning can make acid spray out causing injury on you or some other additional problems.
Recharge the Battery
If all previous steps don’t seem right to bring your car battery back in order. Then you should begin with recharging it. Charging a dead or dying car battery is fairly easy if only the charger has an automatic shut-off. Switch that prevents overcharging which can be dangerous to some batteries. Otherwise, recharging must be done by one of the following three methods:
Is It Time To Change Your Car Battery?
There are some signs that indicate when it’s time for changing your battery. One of them is having sulfated plates which are abnormal-looking discolorations on the surface of the plates. This happens due to the high sulfur content found in lead acid batteries, but you have checked its state charge before doing any other things.
Solation happens when sulfur molecules in the acid electrolyte become lead sulfate on the battery plates. Because of this, batteries with higher levels of salvation can’t hold their charge properly. If you find some signs of this problem, use a car battery optic-cell tester to see if its readings are lower than 80 percent.
Other reasons for replacing your car battery is obviously because it’s not holding a charge anymore or the electrolytes inside the cells have leaked out on both sides due to case damage which can cause devastating results. All you need to do here is read our post about how to choose the best car battery, then decide which one fits your needs and budget perfectly!
What about Car Battery Care?
Last but not least thing that you need to know about car battery care is that there are some other ways that can help your battery operate in its best condition for a very long time. One of them is by avoiding overcharging which always results in loss of water and excessive heating. Also, keep your car’s engine running during winter because it charges the battery too.
Keep Your Batteries Clean
Cleaning any debris which is found around each cell’s opening is also important. Even though it may sound strange to you. But, if dirt or acid droppings get inside any openings or cracks they can cause severe damage which will make you replace your car’s batteries soon. It’s better to use distilled water to clean up the case to prevent any future damage.