How To Check Your Car Battery Levels

Car batteries can’t run indefinitely, no matter what type you have. If you own a vehicle long enough, you will eventually need to replace the battery. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do if you have the right parts and a little bit of knowledge. If your car isn’t starting easily or if it’s running strangely, an old car battery may be to blame. Search online for “auto parts near me” and follow these instructions for checking your car battery levels and replacing the battery as needed.

Step 1: Locate the Battery

Before you can test the battery, you need to locate it. Pop your vehicle’s hood and look inside your engine area. In most cars, the battery is located directly to the left or right of the engine, towards the front of the vehicle. However, in some cars, the battery is located in the boot. This gives better weight distribution.  If you have a Boxter or Porsche 911, your battery may be inside the luggage compartment.

Step 2: Take Safety Precautions

Once you have located the battery, it’s time to take some safety precautions. First, put on a pair of safety glasses and protective rubber gloves. The gloves will not only keep you safe from electrical and chemical hazards, but will also prevent you from unintentionally shorting out the battery.

Step 3: Test the Battery

A digital multimeter will help you learn how to tell if your battery is dead. If you don’t have this tool, you can find one by searching for “auto parts near me.” Before using the tool, make sure the vehicle’s ignition and lights are turned off.

You may also choose this time, while your engine is cool, to take care of your vehicle’s oil change and oil recycling needs. When you’re ready to test your battery, turn your multimeter to the DC volts setting. Then, touch the black lead on the multimeter to the negative battery cable and touch the red lead on the multimeter to the positive battery cable. The meter will deliver a reading on the screen.

Step 4: Read the Results

Read the voltage number on your screen. Here’s what the numbers mean:

89 volts = 0% charged

24 volts = 50% charged

66 volts = 100% charged

Keep in mind that the battery voltage changes by .01 volts for every 10-degree temperature change. The readings above are for a battery that is surrounded by a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as your battery has at least 12.45 vols, it is charged sufficiently. Any reading lower than that amount should be tested by a professional and recharged or replaced.

Other Considerations

Just because a battery is not fully charged now doesn’t mean it won’t hold a charge effectively once you recharge it. As long as the battery can be recharged and holds the charge, it is still good. If a battery is incapable of holding a charge, it is dead and needs to be replaced. To make sure your battery is in good shape, it’s important to test it at least twice per year and replace it when necessary.