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How to Check if Car Battery is Bad 3 Simple Steps

Learn how to check if car battery is bad at home easily with simple tools and techniques. Each and every car user at some point somehow experience one or the other problems with their cars.

A bad car battery is not a new problem faced by car users from time to time either. If you ever face headlights dimming, electric steering, power windows, and radio malfunctions then you should check your car battery.

10 signs of a bad car battery You should check for

Headlights dimming, electric steering, power windows, windshield wipers are all early indicators of bad battery problems. There could be more to having a bad battery as the battery might just be a secondary indicator. However, to be more sure of your car battery condition, the guide below will help you be sure

The most common symptoms that come with a bad battery include:

  1. Battery light illuminated on the dashboard.
  2. Engine cranks slowly when starting.
  3. Vehicle requires frequent jump starts.
  4. Clicking when you turn the engine.
  5. Lights are dim.
  6. Car won’t start.

how to check if car battery is bad

All the mentioned signs are the most important and basic indicators to check if car battery is bad. You might also want to give attention to check the cars alternator just to be sure your alternator is in good condition.

Read Also:- How to Reset Service Battery Charging System Light

If you have checked all indicators i have listed above and you are not still sure about you battery then you might have to go technical. You can employ the use of some tests and tools to be sure about your battery condition.

  • Detect Sulfation

Secondly, if the car battery cells are black or brown in color it one of the signs of a dead car battery. It happens mostly with the wet-cell batteries which are flooded with distilled water. One of the main causes of this is Sulfation. Sulfation is the process in which the plates of the battery react when exposed to oxygen.

The resulting product after reaction is a dark or brown coating that smears on the exposed parts of the plates. When the Sulfation occur, there is usually less chemical reactions in the battery and hence the failure. Sulfation is the main cause of battery failure. When the cells turn black or brown, the battery is dead and cannot function for a long time before failure.

Can a dead cell in a car battery be fixed?

Yes a dead cell in a car battery can be fixed and brought back to a good working state. In fact local automobile repair shops around are said to be buying dead cars batteries at a lower price from car owners.

These cars batteries bought are later refurbish and reconditioned to serve its purposed once again. The automobile repair shops have a vast know about batteries so it is easy for them to revive the cell and resell at a much higher price.

So, why should you throw out a dead battery when you can recondition and reuse them for another 5 years or more? Reconditioning is one of the best ways to extend the battery life and save considerable amount on vehicle maintenance.

Read Also:- Can a Car Battery Be Too Dead to Jump Start

You can recondition the dead car battery at your home with the help of simple tools and using the procedure explained in this article. Below are required materials to get started and successfully recondition your cars battery at home.

  1. Epsom Salt
  2. Goggle
  3. Neoprene Rubber Gloves
  4. Distilled Water
  5. Screw Driver
  6. Battery charger
  7. Plastic Funnel
  8. Turkey Baster
  9. Drill

How To test a Car Battery

There are a couple of ways to to check if car battery is bad easy at home including inspection, Voltmeter or Multimeter and Voltage reading. Each of the mentioned methods above are very effective in determining the condition of a battery.

How to use a Multimeter to check if car battery is bad

A multimeter is a voltage measuring equipment that lets you measure the amount of power your battery has. The use of a multimeter is a very effective and quicker method and certain method to check if car battery is bad.

Follow the guide below to get started with using a multimeter to test a car battery

  1. Turn the headlights on for two minutes to get rid of any surface charge the battery may have.
    Set the multimeter to 15-20 volts.
  2. Turn the lights off.
  3. Connect the multimeter to the positive and negative battery terminals.
  4. If you don’t have a voltage of around 12.6 volts, you may have a bad battery.
  5. Now start the car, and look for a revised voltage over 10.
  6. If your voltage drops below 5 when the car is running, it is bad and should be replaced right away.

Load Testing car Battery to check if battery is dead

You have the choice to either load test the car a battery at home decide to take it the nearest auto repair shop near you. As for me, i love been handy, you too can load test you car’s battery at home.

To be able to carry out an accurate and good load test the car’s battery has to be fully charged. Load testing the battery at home is easy and can be done by following the guide below to start load testing your car battery. In the example below we will use a motorcycle battery

  • Remove the battery battery from the battery seat to have access to the terminals
  • Do not disconnect the battery because you will attempt to start the bike.
  • Hold the prongs of you voltmeter to the correct terminals on the battery.
  • Now push the start button and watch what the voltage drops to.

A healthy 12 volt motorcycle battery should maintain a range from 9.5 – 10.5 volts under the load for a good 30 seconds straight. If the battery begins to hold and then steadily drops in voltage, there is a problem.

If the voltage instantly drops to 0 volts, that is also a problem. We call this the open cell. On a new battery, this can be a result of manufacturing flaws, but it also may be caused by sulfate crystal buildup.

How Long Should a Car Battery Last?

No one can be certain about how long should a car battery last but most batteries are warrantied to last 4 years. How long a battery last also depends greatly on many other factors like climate condition, mode of use and alternator working condition.

But ideally, a battery that is been used properly and constantly gets charged up by the alternator as required then it should last 3 years. If the above conditions are not met then there is a great chance that your car battery would even last a an hour.

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