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How Do I Check My Car Battery?

We’ve all been there. You get ready to leave the house, get packed into the car, turn the key and…nothing. Dead batteries are often just a part of owning a car, but how do you know when the battery is simply not charged, and when it has gone bad?

car battery multimeter

Checking your car’s battery is a simple process that can help you determine if the battery is the problem, or if another car system is to blame. Let’s look at how to test a better, and then how to determine if the battery simply isn’t charged, or if it has gone bad. 

Checking with a Multimeter

The first thing you can do while you are at home (or wherever you are when the battery dies) is check to see if the problem is in fact the battery. This can be done by checking the battery’s charge using a multimeter. To check this, simply turn the car off and touch the black meter to the battery’s negative cable and the red to the positive cable. The reading that appears on the multimeter can tell you whether or not the battery is charged. 

Analyzing the Results

Next you’ll want to read the voltage that appears on the meter’s screen. Any number under 12.45 is considered not fully charged. If you see a number under 12.45, your car’s problem is very likely the battery, and it’s a good idea to get expert help from a Medina, OH auto repair specialist.

Charging the Battery

If your reading comes back below 12.45, you’ll want to charge your car’s battery so that you can drive it into a shop to have the battery tested by a professional. To charge the battery you can use a battery charger or jump-start the car and charge it using the alternator by driving the car. To charge the battery by driving, you’ll need to drive the car for about 20-30 minutes in order for it to charge. 

Determining the Battery Load

Once you’ve charged your battery, you’ll want to go to a mechanic or an auto parts store to have the battery tested. It is not the battery’s ability to charge that determines if it is good or bad, but rather its ability to hold a charge. At the store or shop, the battery will be tested to determine if it is holding a charge. If it isn’t, you can purchase a replacement battery and have your old battery recycled. 

Get Your Car Battery Tested by Mighty Auto Pro

If you have had problems with your car battery dying and leaving you stranded, you aren’t alone. At Mighty Auto Pro, we can help with car battery problems in OH and would love to get you back on the road with confidence. If you suspect your battery may be bad, give us a call today! 

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