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Testing Your Car Battery at Home 101

Car won’t start? It could be your battery. 

While most new batteries carry warranties of up to four years, most of those batteries will not make it to the four-year mark. 

Knowing how to test a car battery at home allows you to determine if your battery is to blame. The most accurate way to perform this test is with a multimeter. However, if you are not able to get your hands on a multimeter, there are several other steps you can take to determine the problem. 

Before asking, “Where can I sell junk cars near me?” follow this quick and straightforward guide to learn how to test a car battery at home. 

The Symptoms of a Bad Battery

The most common symptoms of a dead or bad battery include: 

  • The engine cranks when you try to start the car. 
  • You have needed to frequently jump-start your vehicle. 
  • A clicking noise emits when you try to start your engine. 
  • The lights inside of your car or dim, or they will not turn on at all. 
  • Your car will not start, even after jumping it. 

While these telltale signs could mean a bad battery, they also describe several other problems. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to test your battery at home to determine the culprit of your car trouble. 

how to test a car battery at home

Testing a Car Battery Using a Multimeter 

Car won’t start? While you can get cash for cars Rochester NY, it is worth taking the time to determine why your car won’t start. It could be a bad battery, and batteries are easily replaced. 

Knowing how to check car battery with multimeter will let you get an accurate reading of your battery’s voltage. 

To test a car battery at home, start by turning your headlights on for a minute or two. This will discharge any surface charge that your battery has that could potentially provide a false reading. Next, set the multimeter dial to 15-20 volts. To connect the multimeter, you will need to set the positive and negative battery terminals. These wires will likely be color-coded to match the positive and negative terminals of your battery. 

Check the reading before turning your car on. If your reading does not show at least a 2.6 voltage, your battery may be bad. You can test your battery further by turning your car on and reading the multimeter again. If your vehicle’s voltage drops below 5 while running, then you can conclude that your battery needs to be replaced. 

3 Ways to Test a Car Battery Without Equipment

While it is important to know how to check car battery with multimeter, you can determine if your car’s battery may have gone bad in a few different ways. If you do not have a multimeter, try one of these three tests. 

1. The Load Test 

The load test is a simple battery test that does not require any equipment. Start by turning your headlights on. Leave your headlights on for between 10 to 15 minutes before starting your car. After starting your car, watch the brightness of your lights.

You will need to replace your battery if your headlights begin to dim after turning your engine on. 

2. Check Your Car Battery for Visible Corrosion

When learning how to test a car battery at home, it is crucial to learn about what corrosion looks like. Pop your hood and check your car’s battery. Is anything oozing out of the battery? Does it appear rusted? 

Corrosion can interfere with your car battery’s ability to transfer power. When corrosion occurs, your car’s battery has to work harder for your vehicle to run. This ultimately shortens the battery’s life, causing your vehicle to fail to start. 

3. Count The Clicks 

You may hear “clicks” when attempting to start your car if your battery is dead. A dead battery commonly generates a series of rapid clicking when starting a vehicle. A series of clicks will point to the battery as the likely culprit. A single click may signify a bad starter. No clicks at all? Your car may be experiencing a different problem entirely. 

how to test a car battery at home

What If It’s Not The Battery? 

Now that you know how to test a car battery at home, it’s essential to know what to do if your car troubles are not battery related. Batteries prices vary by vehicle, but they are relatively inexpensive. You can typically get a new one for under $200. However, a bad battery isn’t always the culprit. A car might start for far more severe (and costly) reasons. 

You can sell junk cars for cash regardless of their condition, year, make, or model. If your vehicle isn’t fixable, it can be recycled for parts or base materials.