What Are the Steps to Accurately Test a Battery?

August 10, 2021 7:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

How much juice does your battery have left? If you don’t know how to properly test a car battery, you might not find out until it’s too late. Without a sufficiently charged battery, your car, truck, RV or boat isn’t going anywhere. It’s important to understand how to test a battery so you’re never left stranded.

How can I accurately test a battery?

Let’s review a few important points about the function of a car, truck or commercial equipment battery. First, the battery must store electrical energy. Second, the battery must release electrical energy when starting an engine. Finally, the battery must also receive electrical energy, which replaces the energy removed while starting.

To properly test the battery, you must be able to determine if the battery is charged. A hydrometer is used to determine if the battery is fully charged. Hydrometers are tools that measure the relative density of liquids. Since your battery is filled with liquid, your hydrometer will be able to test the density to see if the battery is still holding a charge.

To use your hydrometer, draw some of the liquid out from one of the cells of the battery, being careful not to spill any. The hydrometer should show how much charge is left in the battery. If the battery is not fully charged, it must be charged before any further testing is performed. We want to see how the battery releases electrical energy, so a full charge is necessary.

Once the battery is fully charged, you need to know the specifications of the battery in order to perform a valid test. Starting batteries have ratings. We use them to test the battery, by measuring to the ratings.

For example, one rating is a cold cranking amperage test (CCA), based on a temperature of 32 degrees. So, imagine we have a battery specification of 850 CCA. We would then need to perform a test by drawing 850 CCA from a battery for 15 seconds. At the same time, the battery must maintain a voltage of 9.6 volts.

To accomplish this test, we would use a load tester. Load testers are designed to draw energy from the battery, all while showing the battery voltage. One important note: Testing below 70 degrees is important, because the battery performance deteriorates below 70 degrees. If the load tester shows that the battery is not maintaining a voltage of 9.6 volts, that means that the battery is sulfated—it’s no longer releasing or receiving a charge.

If your hydrometer and load testers show that the battery is performing to its proper specifications, congratulations—your battery is still in good shape! If, however, you find that your battery is underperforming, you’ll need to replace your battery.

For assistance replacing or properly testing your car batteries, let the team at Texford Battery Co. help. In addition to carrying a large selection of industrial and automotive batteries, our expert team is available to help you get the most out of your investment in a battery. Reach out to us or stop by today to learn more about how we can help.

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