Where Can I Get My Car Battery Tested

Share This Post

Your Battery Experts At O’reilly Auto Parts

How to Test and Replace a Bad Car Battery (COMPLETE Ultimate Guide)

Whether you are farming, landscaping, on your personal watercraft, or driving your vehicle, youll need a battery that is reliable and durable. OReilly Auto Parts has the perfect battery for your needs, and with help from our friendly Parts Professionals, youll find exactly the battery youre looking for easily. Our Super Start Batteries are made to withstand extreme conditions and have a long, dependable service life. With Super Start Platinum, Extreme, Premium, and Economy batteries to choose from, you can be sure that you have chosen the best battery for your car, truck, SUV. We also carry Super Start Powersport, HD, and Marine batteries for powersport, fleet, or watercraft vehicles. From batteries for lawn and garden equipment, ATVs, UTVs, and motorcycles to heavy-duty batteries made for fleets and trucking, we have the right selection of batteries to help keep you moving.

How Many Volts Should A Car Battery Have

A healthy car battery should register about 12.6 volts. It’s important that you test the battery after it’s been sitting for at least an hour, to get what’s called the ‘resting voltage’. If you’ve recently been for a drive the battery is likely to give a higher reading than the resting voltage, which could be misleading.

Better still, leave the car overnight and test the battery in the morning to get a really accurate gauge of the state of charge.

Using a multimeter to test a battery is easy. The first thing to do is make sure you can access the battery terminals .

Batteries are commonly located in the engine bay to one side of the engine. If the battery is not immediately obvious when you open the hood, consult the owner’s manual. In modern cars, the battery will often have a plastic cover which will unclip, hinge up, or occasionally require removing with a few bolts or screws. There may also be a red cover over the positive terminal that will lift off or snap open, too.

Once the battery is exposed, be extremely careful that nothing metal touches the terminals and causes a short, so don’t rest wrenches or other tools on top of the battery.

How To Check A Car Battery With A Multimeter

The first test with your multimeter will measure DC voltage, indicated with a solid line and a dashed line above a letter V. Set the dial to 20, which will allow you to accurately measure between 0-20 Volts.

Touch the red probe to the positive terminal, and the black probe to the negative terminal. The terminals will be marked + and -. If you get a reading with a minus in front of it you’ve got the probes the wrong way round!

The resting voltage should ideally be no lower than 12.6V. A battery that reads 12.2V is actually only 50% charged, and is classed as discharged below 12V.

One thing to bear in mind is that all modern cars experience ‘parasitic loss’, which is when something electrical drains the battery even with the engine turned off. So, systems such as the clock, computer and alarm use some power. If you suspect this is killing your battery during storage, you might be wise to disconnect the battery or remove it entirely.

If the multimeter reads less than 12.6 volts, disconnect the battery and fully charge it using a battery charger. Then let it rest overnight. If it holds a charge when it’s not connected to the car something is draining the battery far faster than the computer memory and digital clock.

Recommended Reading: Battery For Garage Door Opener

Avoid Driving For Several Days Then Locate The Battery

  • Wait at least a few days without driving to test your car battery, unless youve already determined it wont start and suspect battery issues.
  • Your cars alternator charges the battery while the vehicle is running. Testing the battery after not driving for a few days will tell you how well your battery is holding a charge. If it runs down significantly, it probably needs replacement.
  • Lift your vehicles hood when youre ready to test the battery, if thats where its housed. If not, find it elsewhere in the vehicle.
  • Robert Maxwell for Family Handyman

    • Remove the red plastic protective cover from your batterys positive terminal.
    • Connect your battery testers red cable clip to the batterys positive terminal.
    • Connect the black cable clip to the negative terminal, then turn on the tester.
    • Be sure to position the tester in a spot where it sits flat and wont fall down into the engine later when you perform cranking tests with the vehicle running. Car batteries dont have enough voltage to electrocute you, so no need to worry about that.

    Robert Maxwell for Family Handyman

    When Should A Car Battery Be Replaced

    Shop Schumacher Electric Digital Battery Tester at Lowes.com

    A car battery should be replaced when its capacity has dropped below 12 volts — which happens to most batteries after three to seven years of use. Here are some signs that your battery is running critically low:

    • Your battery wont accept a charge: You hear rapid clicks instead of your engine cranking — and jump-starting doesnt help. Youll need a new battery to get rolling again.
    • Your battery cant hold a charge: Jump-starting works, but you have to jump-start repeatedly. Replace your battery as soon as you can. Youre at risk of being stranded.
    • Your battery shows low voltage on a voltmeter.

    Recommended Reading: What’s The Difference Between Assault And Battery

    How Long Does A Car Battery Last

    The average lifespan of a car battery is roughly three to five years, although that depends on several different factors. Exposure to extreme weather, the quality of your battery and how often you drive all play a part in your battery’s total lifespan. Thats why it’s a good idea to have your battery checked after youve had it a few years.

    As a vehicle owner, it’s possible to . There’s a good chance you might not have a multimeter lying around, or that you don’t feel comfortable testing the battery yourself. That’s no problem. The associates at your local Batteries Plus Bulbs are happy to provide this service, free of charge.

    How To Charge A Car Battery

    Your local stockist will be able to advise on which charger is suitable for your car and its battery some cars have larger batteries that require a more powerful charger. It’s also worth carrying a portable jump start pack in your car for emergencies, or at least some standard jump leads.

    We recommend you use an automatic battery charger. These have built-in systems that stop delivering power once the battery has reached optimum voltage. They then switch to a maintenance or trickle mode that keeps the battery topped up. Some chargers also have a built-in battery tester.

    Your battery charger will come with instructions from its supplier and you should follow those as well as the instructions in your cars owners manual.

    Always ensure the cars battery leads are attached to the battery throughout the charging process.

    Unless the instructions for the charger specifically say otherwise, do not switch the charger on until the clamps are correctly secured to the charging terminals. These are the same charging terminals that youd earlier attached the battery tester to.

    With the battery tester removed, connect the black clamp to the negative terminal and the red clamp to the positive terminal.

    Check the clamps on the charging leads are securely attached to the terminals and only the terminals. They must not contact any other part of the car, or a short circuit could occur.

    You May Like: 800 Battery Ave Se Atlanta Ga

    When To Check Your Car Battery

    Names can be misleading! A peanut is not technically a nut, nor is a starfish really a fish and despite its name, a maintenance-free vehicle battery can indeed benefit from regular inspection and maintenance.

    Todays maintenance-free batteries are typically designed without removable filler caps. This means you cant top them off with additional water. But, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore regular battery maintenance.

    Steps Of Charging A Car Battery

    How to Load Test a 12v Car Battery

    If you find yourself suddenly stranded with a dead car battery, your best bet is to jump-start it using another car’s battery. Luckily, if you can locate some jumper cables and a willing Good Samaritan, charging a car battery is relatively simple. Here are some simple steps and tips for properly charging your vehicle’s battery.

    Read Also: Places To Buy Car Batteries

    Free Battery Test With An Early Detection Analyzer

    A complimentary quick diagnostic battery check is available anytime you stop by one of our 1,700-plus Firestone Complete Auto Care locations. Using our Early Detection Analyzer, Firestone technicians are able to determine your battery’s health, give you an idea of how much life your battery has left, and predict the low or high temperature that may cause your battery to fail – all in a minute or less.

    Test Cold Cranking Amps

    • Switch your battery tester to CCA mode.
    • Cold cranking amps is a rating applied to car batteries expressing how much electricity flows from them at 0 F. Your batterys CCA rating is probably written on its casing.
  • Input your batterys CCA rating number into your tester.
  • Many testers require you to start the vehicle with the tester connected to determine actual CCA performance.
  • Compare your batterys CCA rating with reality using your battery tester.
  • A healthy battery will deliver close to its rated CCA. A failing battery wont. The tester tells you the state of battery health based on actual CCA output.
  • Robert Maxwell for Family Handyman

    You May Like: Replacing Battery On Nissan Key Fob

    Your Battery Keeps You Rolling In Safety And Comfort

    A 12-volt vehicle battery is sometimes referred to as an SLI battery because it’s responsible for starting, lighting, and ignition systems. You depend on it every time you get behind the wheel. Every time! Without the electricity stored in your battery, you couldn’t:

    • Start your engine
    • Turn on the interior and exterior lights
    • Raise and lower the windows or open the door locks
    • Operate the heater’s blower

    Schedule Battery Is Dead Inspection


    The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Battery is dead Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanics technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews…LEARN MORE

    You May Like: 2017 Chevy Cruze Battery Location

    Reasons To Consider Getting Your Battery Checked

    • Your car or van battery loses its charging capability over time
    • On cold, frosty mornings, a fully charged battery loses around 35% of its power
    • Battery failure is the number one reason for breakdowns in the UK
    • It’s free – book a time and date convenient for you at your local centre

    Your car battery is the only power source used for getting your car started and faulty batteries are the number one reason for breakdown calls in the UK. Industry sources say that 1 in 10 vehicle batteries are poised to fail. So it is important that you maintain a good healthy battery if you want to avoid becoming a roadside breakdown statistic. So, if you have any concerns regarding the condition or health of your car battery then we recommend you have the battery and charging system checked as soon as possible.

    Is It Time For A New Car Battery

    Most people dont think about how to check car batteries. The signs that your car or truck needs a new battery can be subtle: your engine takes a few extra seconds to start your lights dim slightly when you turn on the heat or air conditioning you notice corrosion on the battery terminals, or maybe there are strange electrical gremlins. If your vehicle is showing these symptoms, it may be time for a new car battery. Lets take a look at how to check car battery condition before you end up stranded.

    You May Like: What Iphone Has The Best Battery Life

    How To Test A Car Battery At Home

    When it comes to starting your car, silence is one of the worst sounds you can hear.

    Thats why its essential to act immediately if you:

  • Suspect your car battery is losing power .
  • You cant recall the last time you replaced your car battery.
  • You wont even have to leave your driveway to conduct a quick battery check. Well show you how to test a car battery from home in four simple steps.

    Getting A Car Battery Tested

    How to test a car battery – most precise way

    The best way to find out if your battery is on its way out is to have it tested. Your local NAPA Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Care have a special battery tester for car batteries that can analyze them, and most will go out to your car so you dont have to remove it. The car battery test will help you determine if you need a new battery, or if you vehicle has another electrical problem. A car battery tester will be hooked up to check car battery output. If your battery is no longer up to the task, your can have a NAPA Auto Care near you swap it out for a new one. While you are there it is easy to also have your alternator tested to make sure your charging system is in top shape. A bad alternator can cause a dead battery if it isnt keeping up with your cars electrical needs. You may also consider having your battery tested as part of your routine scheduled maintenance.

    Don’t Miss: Durastart Lawn And Garden Battery

    Testing And Replacing A Dead Car Battery

    • Maintaining Your Vehicle

    There are few things more frustrating than sitting behind the wheel of your car, ready to go somewhere, only to find that your car’s battery is dead. But why is your car battery dead, and what can you do to fix it? Let’s take a closer look at what can cause your vehicle’s battery to malfunction, how to jump-start a dead car battery, how to test a car battery, and how to replace a dead car battery.

    It Can Detect An Electrical Issue Early

    Batteries are just one component in a complex electrical system. There can be much more going on than meets the eye, even when symptoms arent immediately noticeable. An improperly wired accessory or a short in an electrical circuit somewhere could plague a driver for weeks, months, or years, meaning they dont trust their car.

    A battery test in a situation like that might return a result like SYSTEM NOISE CHECK LOADS on the display, signifying the possibility of computer or ignition noise, or a problematic parasitic drain. Testing can detect the issue early on, allowing for a timely fix.

    Read Also: Ford F 150 Battery Replacement

    Batteries Plus Bulbs Offers Free Car Battery Testing

    Power – by Bryan Veldboom- updated on 11/5/2020

    There’s nothing worse than walking out to your car only to find that the engine won’t start. As winter approaches for much of the country, it’s more important than ever to have a reliable battery in your car or truck. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make sure your car is ready for cold weather. Batteries Plus Bulbs offers free auto battery testing at every one of our 700+ locations.

    Fluid & Battery Recycling

    What is the Right Time to Get Your Car Battery Replaced?

    O’Reilly Auto Parts collects used motor oil, automotive batteries, transmission fluid, gear oil and oil filters for recycling — free of charge!

    • Get it taken care of hassle-free
    • Thousands of convenient locations
    • $10 O’Reilly Gift Card for any unbroken automotive battery you may have
    • Absolutely free

    It is required that containers are returned to customers. Environmental laws can vary by state and city and in some municipalities some stores cannot recycle oil. It is best to contact your local O’Reilly Auto Parts store for availability and details. Used antifreeze/coolant is considered hazardous waste so we are unable to recycle it in our stores. Most cities and counties have hazardous waste collection sites. We suggest calling your city or county administration or search their website for hazardous waste disposal.

    Also Check: How To Check Prius Hybrid Battery Health

    Why Is My Car Battery Dead

    The lifespan of a battery is often determined by exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures, and the damage done to a battery during the summer may not be evident until cold weather sets in. As a battery ages, the resistance to the extreme temperatures weakens its performance. Not all batteries are created equal, the best battery for your vehicle is the one that meets or exceeds the original equipment installed by the manufacturer.In some cases, a ground drain may result in a dead battery more frequently, so it is best to have the battery tested to ensure it is capable of continuing to store enough power to start the vehicle. This is especially true of vehicles that sit for long periods of time, as batteries that are not recharged consistently can lose their ability to be fully charged again. Over time, batteries shed their internal paste on plates, which reduces the bonding space for the sulfate ions. When a battery is out of available space for sulfate ions, the battery is effectively dead and will not be able to deliver enough power to start a vehicle.Whether its a battery for a car or truck, a motorcycle battery, ATV, lawnmower, or a marine deep-cycle battery for a boat or personal watercraft, our parts professionals can test your battery for FREE, and if a replacement is needed, help you find a new Super Start battery, available exclusively at OReilly Auto Parts.

    Related Posts