In some ways, you can consider the battery of your car as its heart. If it is not functioning, your vehicle will not have the power it needs to start, move, or perform anything else. So, it is crucial that you know how to check your car battery. You may know how to trickle charge your battery and other techniques to prolong its life. However, down the road, it will start to get worn out. So, it pays to understand the common signs that indicate that it needs replacement. In this post, we will guide you through the steps in inspecting whether your car battery is worn out.
First Step: Switch your Car Off
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your car is switched off. You should also remove the keys before proceeding to the next steps. Doing so ensures that the engine won’t generate heat while you are checking under the hood.
Second Step: Open the Hood
After switching the vehicle off, it’s time to open the hood. Look for a latch underneath the steering column or on the car’s floor next to the driver’s door. This should allow you to release the lock. If you’re having trouble finding the latch, consult your manual.
Now, get off your car and walk to the front. Reach for the release mechanism underneath the center-front of the hood. When you push this, you will be able to lift the hood up. Look for the rod at the very front, then use it to hold the hood up. If your car does not have this rod, just get a solid yet skinny stick that will allow you to keep the hood open while you check inside.
Third Step: Inspect the Battery
The next thing you need to do is look for the battery. It is the black box with two electrical cables connected to it. One of the cables is red while the other is black. In some cases, the battery has a cover that protects it from the elements. You should be able to find it near the front, along one of the sides of the car. Again, if you are having trouble locating it, you should check your owner’s manual.
Once you’ve located the car battery, you should visually inspect it and see if something seems off. Check if the cables attached to the battery have damages. You should also watch out for leaking fluid from the battery or excessive white corrosion and discolorations on the terminals. Check if there are bulges in the shell. All these are indications that your battery has worn out and it needs replacement.
Remember to be careful when touching the battery, especially when you see that one of the cables is broken. The results will be fatal when the battery short circuits through the damaged cable, or when the two ends touch.
Fourth Step: Check the Electrical Levels
If you did not see evident signs of wear on the battery, the next thing you need to do is to get an electrical reading. To know the electrical levels, disconnect your car battery and take it to a local auto parts store and have it tested there. On the other hand, you can purchase the hand-held device and get an electrical reading yourself.
Remember to follow the instructions in the manual of the hand-held device. If you see 12.7-13.2 volts on it, it means that your battery is 100% charged and it is still in good condition. If it says 12.4 volts, then the battery is around 75% charged. If the levels read less than that, consider replacing your car battery.
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