How to Check Car Battery Voltage
As a car owner, it’s important to keep your vehicle in top condition. Not only does this help to ensure a safe, smooth driving experience, it can dramatically cut down on stress and repairs later on down the line. One of the most important (and often most overlooked) aspects of car maintenance is your car battery voltage.
Our team at Bohn Toyota is committed to keeping drivers in Harvey, New Orleans, and Metairie safe, informed, and on the road. So, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of checking your car battery!
Your battery should be tested twice a year to ensure optimal performance. Make sure the ignition is off, as well as all the lights on your vehicle. If you have any additional devices that rely on your car battery for power, make sure they’re unplugged and turned off too.
Before you begin investigating, make sure the ignition is off; you can simply turn it off, or you can disconnect the whole ignition system by removing the fuel pump relay or fuse.
2. Grab Your Multimeter
Your multimeter is a great tool to check your car battery and can help you quickly assess a problem. To use your multimeter, remove the battery’s positive terminal cover, being sure to check it for any corrosion that could be causing problems.
Once it’s clean, set the voltmeter feature to the lowest voltage setting about 15 volts. Connect the black probe to the negative terminal, and the red probe to the positive terminal.
3. Check the Readings
Once everything is connected and ready to go, turn the meter to DC volts setting. Your readings will help you determine what state your battery is in. Generally speaking, if your battery is over 12.45 volts, it’s sufficiently charged, and you are good to go.
An ideal charge -- basically 100% -- comes in at 12.66 volts. If your reading comes in under 12.45 volts, retest your battery. Still getting a low reading? It might be time to schedule a service appointment or think about a car-battery replacement.
4. Check the Temperature
Remember, there are a few factors that can impact the readings from your car battery. Key among those is temperature.
Ideally, you’ll be checking your car battery in warm conditions, around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Though the weather doesn’t always do what we want, so keep in mind that for every 10 degrees change in temperature, your car battery will adjust by .01 volts.
5. Change the Battery
All good things must come to an end, and your car battery has a set shelf life. If it’s time for a car battery replacement, there are simple steps you can take to get it done in a flash. Using a wrench, carefully loosen the bolts that hold the negative terminal in place.
Follow that by loosening the bolts for the positive terminal. Next, remove the clamps that secure your battery in the car, and lift the entire battery clear of the vehicle.
To install the new battery, place it where the original sat in your car. Be careful to match the positive post on the battery with the positive terminal, or you’ll have to reconnect everything later. Insert the battery and secure it with the clamps used on the old battery.
Take off the plastic battery caps and install anti-corrosion washers over them. This will help keep your car running smoothly for as long as possible. Connect the positive post, followed by the negative. Lastly, wiggle the battery to make sure it is securely in place.
Car Battery Replacement near Harvey
Feel a little intimidated by the idea of checking, let alone changing, your car battery? At Bohn Toyota, we’ve got you covered. Call our service department and schedule a check up for your car. We’ll do the work and save you the hassle! If you’re in Harvey, New Orleans, or Metairie, get in touch with your dealership and schedule an appointment today!