How to Test Your Car’s Battery

With some cold days still ahead before the spring thaw, you may have noticed that your vehicle is slow to start. Cold temperatures can be especially draining on the battery. If you think it’s not charging at full strength, you can run a couple of checks on it. The first is simply to check the fluid levels in the cells and top them off as needed with distilled water. The next is to determine its voltage.

Using a voltmeter, you should see at least 12.6 volts on a charged battery. If you’re measuring while the car’s running, the volts should be in the 13.7 to 14.7 range. You can still determine how your system’s charging without a voltmeter. Go ahead and start the engine and turn on the headlights. If the lights appear dim, that’s a symptom of not enough charge. That means that the battery is charging the system rather than the alternator. Rev the engine and observe the brightness of your lights. If the lights brighten, then they are receiving some current from the alternator, but not enough. It may be time to replace the alternator unless the lights are consistently illuminated.

We’re here at Audi Downtown LA to assist you with all of your car care needs. Feel free to stop by and ask about proper battery voltage.