You have just finished a delicious and filling meal and you are looking forward to getting in your car, driving home, and going to right to sleep. You find your chariot waiting for you and you turn your key in the ignition, but it won't turn over. You realize that your battery is dead and you will have to wait hours before you rest.
A dead battery can cause a person a multitude of problems. It is always best to avoid the situation in the first place. You can the attchive this by performing regular maintenance. Your maintenance routine should include testing the battery load.
What a Battery Does in a Car
The battery in a car is rechargeable and its function is to provide a current to the motor of the car which is powered by electricity. The motor of the car then enables the chemically powered components to work properly.
As the engine runs, power for all the electrical system is in it originated at the battery. The alternator controls the distribution of power from the battery.
Starting a car uses less than 3% of the battery capacity. Car batteries deliver the optimum amount of current for a short time. They are not meant to have a long discharge time. Most of the engine’s power comes from the alternator. If you have an electric car, your vehicle will have an electric car battery and a regular car battery.
What is a battery load?
The current that is taken from the battery is called the load. IThe depleting state-of-charge (SoC) and the resistance of the internal battery cause the voltage to drop when the battery is under load.
How to Test the Battery Load
There are many things that can cause a car battery to die. There are a few different ways that you can test the battery function and the battery load in an automobile.
Battery Load Tester
A battery load tester can annalyse many things. It can tell you when the charge of the battery is low. It can also alert you to potential faults in your alternator.
Choosing a good battery tester is important. The tools vary in their compatibility to different vehicles. Some battery load testers preform better than others.
For most drivers, the most important thing is to find out if the tester will work well with the batteries they have. Low quality battery load testers only work with 12-volt batteries, but if you spend a little money, you can get one that will work with 6-volt and 12-volt, or 12-volt and 24-volt. Make sure to check what kind of battery a tester will work with regular lead acid, called flooded or the type of battery you have.
You should check the CCA rating (Cold Cranking Amps) of the battery. This is the power required to start the car. It should be marked on the battery., Most sedan batteries are in the range of 400 and 500 CCA. Larger vehicles require more CCA.
Make sure that the lead is long enough. If you try to do a series of tests and turn your engine on and off, you will not be able to read the results without another person helping you.
A tester should have a fast reaction time. If it is over 10 seconds. It may give you a false results.
Battery chargers range in price from $25 to $150. It it's probably best to select a mid-range tester.
How to Use a Battery Load Tester
- After you park your car let it sit there for 15 minutes so everything cools off. Grab your voltmeter and attach the leads to the battery, just to make sure it is over 12.4 volts.
- Find the cold cranking amp rating on your battery. Divide the number in half and use this to apply half the amperage with your load tester.
- Attach the cables of the tester to the correct battery posts. The voltage will be measured by a needle. Turn the dial until you get to the correct amperage. The amperage should stay close to this for 15 seconds. After 15 seconds, you should keep holding the dial to get your state of charge. A good battery will be above 9.6 volts.
If you don't want to run out and buy a separate tool, there are still other ways to test your battery load.
Obviously, you will need to locate the battery before you can examine it for signs of damage. You will normally find the battery underneath the hood in the engine bay. However, in many modern vehicles, the battery can be found in the front corners of a vehicle. Some cars come with the battery housed in the trunk. It is a plastic box that has two plastic terminals protruding from it.
Your owner’s manual should tell you where to find the battery. If you have misplaced the owner’s manual, you can always visit the manufacture’s website.
Examine the battery for loose wires or indications of oxidation. You will need to make sure that the battery has a solid connection that will not be interrupted by oxidized terminals or simply a bad connection. If you can move the cables on the terminal even a little bit, they are loose and must be tightened.
If you see corrosion, you can mix a tablespoon or two of baking soda with a bowl of warm water. Remember to disconnect the cables before you begin cleaning. Scrub the terminals with the baking soda mixture and a toothbrush. You can then reconnect them. You can also tighten the terminals with a wrench, but be sure to use the right size. If the terminals are loose, use the appropriately sized wrench to tighten them.
Turn the car’s ignition to “accessories.” The dashboard lights should come on. The lights should not be any different than they are when the car is in motion.
Should the lights be dimmer than normal, it indicates the battery has a low charge. When this happens, the car will not start. If it doesn’t run, you will want to try jump-starting the car.
Test the Battery
You will need two people to test your battery this way. Have a friend stand in front of the vehicle and then turn on the headlights. Your friend should stand where they can get a good view of the headlights. They will need to see what the headlights do when you start your car. This method tests the battery against the load of the starter.
Make sure that the car is in park or neutral before you begin.
Turn the key and have your friend look for serious dimming in the headlights. When you start the car, the headlights will dim slightly. If they dim significantly or if they go all the way out, it means the battery is not charged enough.
If the vehicle fails to start at all or takes a long time to turn over, that is also likely due to a dead battery.
With the vehicle turned off, Turn the headlights on and let them stay on for more than 2 minutes. This is to ensure that you get an accurate reading of the battery’s voltage. There may be some charge left in the battery. However, if you keep the headlights in the on position for two minutes, and they do not stay on or dim, you will know the battery is dead and you should replace it or repair it.
If you hear a fast clicking coming from the starter, it means there’s not enough power to engage the battery.
Use a Multimeter
To get a good reading, Set your multimeter to 20 volts. In order to you should set the multimeter to something above 15 volts. The majority of multimeters won’t have a 15 setting. 20 volts is the closest option.
Attach the multimeter probes to the car’s battery. The probes on the multimeter always are color-coded for positive (+) and negative (-) connections. Attach the red probe to the positive terminal and the black probe to the negative terminal.
Some probes are nothing more than pieces of metal you touch to the terminal. There are also probes that have clips you can attach.
The positive will show the positive symbol the negative terminal may have a thick black ground cable attached to it, and will show the negative symbol (-).
You will then want to check the reading on your multimeter. The battery is supposed to be near 12.6 volts on the multimeter. If it is less than that, you need to charge or replace the battery.
The load from the starter will acquiesce to the alternator. This will produce a charge thar flows into the battery on starting the car. The voltage reading should go back up after you start the car.
When the engine begins to run, the alternator will charge the battery. The multimeter’s reading should increase to the 14 volt range. You should watch the multimeter for 20 seconds. to ensure the reading goes up. If it doesnt, it means the alternator is not charging the battery sufficiently.
If the battery produces just a small amount of current, it will fail. A bad alternator can hurt your vehicle’s battery.
With the multimeter connected and car running, turn on the headlights. The voltage reading should still be higher than 12.6 in order to maintain the operation of the battery.
If you need a new battery, there are plenty of places to buy one that will even install it for you. However, if your car is older a new battery might not the enough to get your car running correctly. If you need a new car you will have several options for getting rid of the old one.
Sell You Car Online
You can always sell your car on the internet. There are many sites that will let you list pictures and specs of your vehicle for a monthly fee. If you sell your car this way, you will be in competition with many people and it may take months to get an interested buyer.
Once you do get someone interested, you will have to take time out of your day to show them the car. They may decide not to buy the vehicle or try to talk you down in price.
Trade-in Your Vehicle
You can always use your old car as a trade-in when you buy your new one. Dealerships will rarely give you what your car is worth in this case. They will rely on your wanting to get the deal over with quickly and get into the new car.
Sell Your Car to Us
Cash Cars Buyers can give you a great price for your old vehicle. All you have to do is fill out our simple form. We will ask for your contact information as well as the make, model, year, VIN number, and mileage.
We will call you back with an offer right away. If you accept our offer, we will make an appointment with you to come get your car. We will pay you in cash and tow the vehicle way for free. It is that easy.