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A buildup of deposits on the battery cover is a common cause of what seems to be a "dead" battery. As dirt and acid mix and accumulate across the top and terminals, the charge slowly begins to leak. To check whether your battery has reached the leaking point, use a multimeter. If your meter registers even a small amount of voltage, buildup has begun to leak battery power. Head to the section below on "How to Clean a Car Battery" to remove the leak.

1. Perform a load test.

If you get zero volts reading from your meter but you still suspect that some electrical device is draining power from your battery—a "parasitic draw"—check this other article, Car Battery Drain , to locate the circuit and the device discharging your battery. Now it's time to check the physical condition of your battery case. A damaged battery case can not only prevent the battery from working properly, but will eventually kill it. To check the battery, you'll need to remove it from your vehicle.

Car Battery Problems: When is it Time for a New Battery?

You can use a simple procedure to clean the battery case. For this, you'll need to prepare a mixture of 8 ounces of warm water and one tablespoon of baking soda. This will neutralize acid and help lift up dirt off the battery case and terminals. Put on your goggles and rubber gloves and, using a soft brush, apply the solution across the battery top and around the sides of the case. If your battery uses cell caps maintenance type batteries , don't let the mixture seep under the caps and mix with the electrolyte inside.

Wipe the solution using a clean rag. Continue applying the cleaning solution until you see no signs of buildup. Just as you did with the battery case, remove dirt and corrosion off the battery terminals using the baking soda and water solution. To make your task easier, pour the mixture into a foam cup or similar disposable cup and dip the battery terminal in it for one or two minutes.

Then use a battery-post cleaning tool to finish removing the corrosion from the terminals. Repeat the procedure until you see both terminals free of corrosion. Inspect the condition of the battery tray. Make sure it has no missing screws, no cracks or missing pieces, and no signs of corrosion.

If necessary, use the same solution to remove dirt and corrosion from the tray. If your tests showed your battery to be in good health, you may have a problem with the starting or charging system. This other article on Troubleshooting Car Starter Problems shows you how to do some quick tests without using tools.

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Once you know how to check your car battery for problems, you'll service the battery faster next time around. And servicing your battery regularly goes a long way.

  1. How to Test Your Auto Battery | Battery Testing & Maintenance |
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You can make sure your battery provides all the necessary power to the starting system, ignition system and other important electrical circuits as necessary, especially during the cold months. Even more, with a little maintenance you'll help prolong the service life of your battery and stretch your car maintenance budget. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

I have a Dodge diesel two batteries. While the truck is running the driver side battery reads Shouldn't they be close to the same voltage? Have the batteries checked.

What is a car battery? | mycar

If one is faulty, probably is going to take the other one with it. You may need to replace both. You may want to check the crossover cable voltage drop. Use your voltmeter, positive to positive with the truck cranking. It should be about 0.

More than that and you got a bad connection or cable. If my battery fails to start the car after running the flashers with the car off for a short time, does that mean that the battery is about dead? A battery usually has a service life of about 4 to 5 years. If yours is that old, probably one or more cells are bad.

How to Check a Car Battery at Home – 8 Different Methods

Take the battery to a local auto parts store, most will check your battery for free. When I test the batteries on my 5th Wheel Trailer, what do I need to do to put a load on the battery while testing it? Probably, you can run the water pump or turn on the lights.

This video might also give you some tips about testing the batteries:. Why does my car turn on really fast when cold, but really slowly when hot. Is this phenomenon in my car related to the battery or starter motor or something else? Make sure the cables and wires are clean no corrosion and tight.

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  • When you add heat to the circuit, it's like resistance and will interfere with the current. Why does my multimeter still read some voltage on the battery leak test, even if I clean that part of battery over and over? Sometimes this is due to battery body damage like cracks on the cover, overcharging condition, expansion of plates because of heat or freezing conditions, or battery reaching the end of its service life.

    You can try, but it seems very uncommon for a parasitic draw to drain the battery that fast in a car. There could be a parasitic drain on the battery or the battery itself is bad. You can test the battery with the hydrometer or take it to an auto parts store for testing. These other posts may help:. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Usually the hydrometer will be correct when testing state of charge soc. The meter tends to go with the chemistry "state" of the battery, unless you are using a cheap hydrometer. If necessary, have the battery tested. Why my multimeter reads I want to thank everyone for their contributions here, which I have been using, along with other sources, to try to solve my long-running battery problems.

    An enormous amount of helpful but sometimes complicated information is available for solving battery problems. But I now realise - having finally solved my problem - that whenever anyone finds they need to recharge a relatively young battery after the vehicle has been idle for a week or two, there is a single test that in my opinion should be performed first. I did it last by definition, I suppose. It should be performed first not because it will find large numbers of problems, but because it is so simple it can be done successfully, without any equipment beyond the car key, by anyone, even if they happen to be - literally - deaf, mute, blind and stoned all at the same time.

    In other words, it is well within my capabilities!

    How does a car battery work?

    Here is what you do: Take your car key and open the passenger side door. Then open the glove compartment and immediately check to determine the temperature of the glove compartment light bulb. It was my problem. Given my sparse level of auto electrical knowledge, it took me almost two years to figure it out! I had previously checked whether I could see the bulb turn off before the door closed - but couldn't tell - and that seems to be the case for most of the vehicles I am familiar with: the light goes out only after the glove box is very nearly completely closed.

    But it hadn't previously occurred to me to check the temperature of the bulb. Of course most of the time this will not be the issue you have. But ruling it out a the problem is so quick and easy it might as well be done first. The vehicle with this problem is a Dodge truck. My solution is to remove the bulb, since I rarely need the light.

    Presumably, any vehicle with the same glove compartment light switch setup is likely to have a similar susceptibility. Clearly, it would be better if glove compartment light switches were designed and positioned to shut off well before the door is fully closed so that, if the driver is alert, he will be warned that the switch is faulty. That is: if he does not actually see the light go off by the time the door is half closed, then it is indicating there is a problem. Usually you want to remove any charge above When a battery that is less than 75 percent in a charge A call for replacing your car battery may very well be in your options list if such a case happens. A battery that is in sick or dead condition needs no more other reason than warrant a replacement order.

    Your given batteries can still be good though, and you can conduct a voltmeter test, and you already know what should a car battery voltage be when driving for a recharge session test by now.