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How to Test Your Car Battery Voltage

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Finding yourself in a situation where you have an unexpected dead car battery is never fun, and it certainly is never convenient. However, there’s a way to prevent this dreaded circumstance: by testing your car battery voltage.

To give you the full details on how to perform this easy, but crucial, task, our team at Braman Honda of Palm Beach has put together this guide on how to test your car battery voltage. That way, you’ll never have to worry about not making it to your destination in Palm Beach, Greenacres, or Wellington.

Test Your Car Battery VoltageSigns of Low Battery Voltage

There are a few signs of low battery voltage that you can look for. For example, if you turn the ignition, and only hear a click, click, click, without an engine starting, this is a dead giveaway (no pun intended) that your battery is weak, or has given up altogether.

Another sign of a low battery is when the “check engine” light pops on, or if you smell a sulfur scent—comparable to rotten eggs. Any of these occurrences are red flags that your battery life is low, and should be checked out by an auto technician immediately.

Testing Your Car Battery Voltage

You’ll need just a few items to get started when testing your car battery voltage: rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a digital multimeter. All these items are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local auto store.

Once you have the correct items, you can follow the following steps:

Step 1: Locate the Battery

Start by checking your owner’s manual to see where the battery is located in your vehicle. Most of the time, it’s under the hood by the fender; however, certain models have the battery in more obscure places, like in the trunk. Finding this location right away will save you some time, and get your test moving along quicker.

Step 2: Set up the Test

Make sure your gloves and goggles are on, in order to protect your hands and eyes from battery acid. Then, take your multimeter, and touch the black lead to the negative (-) battery cable, and the red lead to the positive (+) battery cable.

You’ll want to make sure that your multimeter is set to the DC volts setting. Then, a number will come on the screen that tells you your battery’s voltage. It’s that easy!

Step 3: Review Your Results

Test Your Car Battery Voltage

You should see three digits come up on the multimeter, followed by a plus (+) sign. This is your voltage reading, and compares to your battery life percentage with the following ratings:

  • 12.6+   –   100% charged
  • 12.4+   –   75% charged
  • 12.2+   –   50% charged
  • 12.0+   –   25% charged
  • 11.8+   –   0% charged

If your voltage reading shows a number that is below 12.2+, you’ll want to consider replacing your battery before it gives out on its own.

The Importance of Testing Your Car Battery Voltage

While its essentially an inconvenience to come out to a dead car battery, the importance of testing your car battery voltage every so often comes down to keeping you and your loved ones safe while on the road.

If you are in the areas of Palm Beach, Greenacres, and Wellington, contact us at Braman Honda of Palm Beach at any time with questions concerning this topic and any other maintenance issues.