How to Check Your Car Battery

May 10th, 2013 by

Replacing-Your-Vehicles-Battery-300x200Keeping your car running properly requires taking care of a wide range of service options including changing the oil, adding fluids, and making sure your battery is properly charged. Not enough people think of the latter and they end up with a dead battery at the worst time. Check your battery regularly to make sure it isn’t running low on power.

Precautions to Take Before Working On Your Battery

Before you begin, you should make sure to avoid any of these dangerous situations while working on your battery. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Leaving the engine running
  • Removing the cables in the correct order: the negative cable first, then the positive
  • Reattaching the cables in the correct order: the positive cable first, then the negative

Make sure you also check for a powder or dust on your battery before working on it. Wipe it off when it’s disconnected to avoid fire potential.

Examining the Battery

Carefully inspect your battery once you’ve taken off the cables and wipe it down with a static free rag to break away any battery acid or power that may be around the connecting rods. Use a baking soda and water mix to break apart any hard to remove stains. Then carefully dry the battery cables with a static free rag.

Testing Your Battery

Take your battery tester and apply the positive cable first and then the negative cable. Your battery tester should immediately test your charge. If it is within your manufacturer suggested charge (should be printed on the battery) you’re fine. Most testers have a gauge that should let you know whether or not your battery is fully charged. If it isn’t, remove the cables immediately and consider charging it with a battery charger. If it’s fully charged, remove your cables positive first, negative last.

Cracks and Breaks

After you’ve tested your battery power, check the battery for structural damage such as breaks in the side or cracks. Your battery should be immediately replaced if it has any body damage, even if your battery is fully charged.