Whether we are talking about electrical or any other system in your vehicle, it is important to check that it works properly from time to time. Not only when it starts to act out! Moreover, every mechanic or dealer will tell you that a simple regular checkups at least twice a year significantly reduce the chance that you will have to face some kind of unexpected failure and heavy bills that it will cause.
And if we are talking about a battery, there is a strong chance that your car won’t start exactly the morning when you are already late for an important meeting or in the middle of nowhere with no chances to get a jumpstart from anyone. And even if you managed to find a kind Samaritan who helped you to jumpstart your car, make sure to head directly to your mechanic to find out whether you need a new battery, alternator, or some additional check-ups of the electrical system of your car.
OHS Body Shop has branches all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley. You can easily find us in Kalispell, Whitefish, Polson, and Columbia Falls, where our qualified experts will help you diagnose and solve any issue with your vehicle or perform a comprehensive routine check up.
3 DIY ways to check a car battery
In this guide, we shall show 3 safe and easy ways to check your battery. They don`t require any specific skills or knowledge but guarantee to save you a lot of time and money in the future.
A Voltmeter Check
Have you ever thought that science classes are a waste of time and you will never need that knowledge in real life? Well, a small device that you saw while studying electricity will now help you save a lot of money on a battery failure!
- Make sure that the ignition is off!
- Take the positive terminal cover off your battery and clean the battery terminals thoroughly. That cover is usually bright red and hard to miss.
- Take the positive lead of a voltmeter (it is usually red) and connect it to the positive “+” terminal of the battery.
- Now attach the negative lead (black or blue one) to the negative terminal.
- The voltage data will indicate the condition of your battery. “Healthy” voltage is usually between 12.4 and 12.7 volts. If the voltage is lower than 12.4, your battery needs some charging. In case the indicator jumps over 12.9, it is a sign that your alternator is out of line.
A Power Probe Check
This method is similar to the Voltmeter check, but here you shall use a special Power Probe device.
- After removing the positive terminal cover, connect the positive (red) lead to the positive “+” terminal and the negative lead to the negative one “-“
- Touch the tip of the Power Probe to the positive lead and check the readings. The principle is the same: anywhere between 12.4 and 12.7 indicates a perfect battery condition.
The Engine Crank Check
This check is a team effort: someone will have to “crank” the engine while another person reads the battery data.
- Turn the ignition until the starter engages and hold it for 2 seconds. At the very same time, your assistant should check the voltage drop with a Power Probe.
- The Probe readings should be not less than 9.6. If it goes lower, your battery is sulfated and cannot accept or hold the charge properly.
Those are pretty basic but very efficient ways to check your battery. However, it is important to remember that the battery lifecycle depends on many things except for its age. The driving habits and climate conditions, as well as multiple modern features and devices installed in a vehicle, can drain the battery and alternate its lifetime. So even if you are sure that your battery is new and high-quality, it won’t hurt to do one of those simple tests once in a while to protect yourself from some serious complications.
OHS Body Shop serves the Greater Flathead Valley and offers auto body repairs and more at our service centers in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson. Visit the closest to you to get comprehensive consultation from our qualified mechanics and the best prices in the area for all kinds of service.