The car battery provides electrical power to multiple systems throughout the vehicle, including the headlights, instruments, and radio. However, its most important function is to provide the necessary power to turn over the starting motor and the engine.
A car battery dead can be a very inconvenient situation, especially if you’re away from home when it happens or have somewhere you have to get in a hurry. You may be able to prevent an urgent situation like this if you change your car battery regularly and check it frequently to see whether it is holding a charge.
A car battery is expected to last three to five years. However, there are issues that can affect your battery before that time, such as loose battery terminals, a cracked battery case, or bulging due to a frozen battery.
How To Read Your Cars Battery
One way to conduct a simple test of your car’s electrical system is to turn on the headlights with the car running. Dim headlights or fluctuations when you rev the engine indicates a problem with the electrical system, either the battery or the alternator.
To determine whether the battery is the problem, you should conduct a test using a voltmeter or a power probe. Both have positive and negative leads that must be connected to the respective terminals on your battery. The power probe must also come into contact with the positive terminal on the battery. Each device will provide you with a reading indicating the number of volts. A reading between 12.4 and 12.7 indicates a battery in good condition. These devices may be used to test motorcycle batteries as well as car batteries.
Car Battery Buyers Guide
While car batteries look similar, they are not interchangeable with one another. You need to be sure to choose a replacement that fits on your vehicle. To find it, there are several important characteristics you need to pay attention to.
One of the most important and most obvious features to make note of is the position of the terminals on your existing battery. You need to find a replacement with the terminals on the same side. Otherwise, if the positive terminal comes in contact with the metal shell, it could cause a short circuit.
You should also be careful to find a battery that is the right size. Car batteries are grouped by size and given alphanumeric codes to indicate the group. You can find the code on the battery itself or in the owner’s manual.
To ensure that the new auto battery meets your power needs, you need to check the cold cranking amps. This is the power required to get your engine to turn over when the temperature outside is at or near the freezing mark. More CCAs mean more power.
It is easy to take your car battery for granted, but it could cause you trouble. Being proactive about testing your car battery often and replacing it as needed could save you a major inconvenience in the future. Find both replacement batteries and testing equipment from online retailers.