The lifeline of your vehicle is its battery. A poor battery can make you stand helpless in the middle of the road. Therefore, make sure to check your battery’s charge regularly. However, if you notice any
power issues or have a concern about the prospect of a draining battery, you should go for a couple of tests to determine where the issue exactly lies, whether in the battery or the charging system.
How to know that the alternator is not compatible enough:
1. If the headlights appear to be dim.
2. If the intensity of the headlights changes while revving the engine.
3. While driving the car, if the interior lights are gradually dimming.
4. If a slight growling sound is heard from the vehicle.
The above symptoms clearly state that the battery’s voltage should be checked.
Ways to Test Your Battery Voltage with a Voltmeter
A voltmeter measures the difference in electrical potential between two points in an electrical circuit (voltage).
• To get the most accurate reading, perform this test 12 hours after turning off the vehicle.
• Check the positive terminal of the battery for any corrosion and clean it off if required. Attach the positive lead of the voltmeter to the positive terminal of the battery. Follow the same step with the negative sides as well.
• Check the readings of the voltmeter. The voltmeter reading of a fully charged battery will display about 12.6 to 12.8 volts. However, if the reading is shown somewhere around 12.4 to 12.8, it indicates that the battery is in good condition.
• If the voltmeter reading exceeds 12.9 volts, it is a clear indication that the battery has excessive voltage.
• If the voltmeter displays a voltage lower than 12.4, then make sure to charge the battery. Moreover, if the reading shows 12.2 volts, the battery should be charged at a much slower rate, avoiding the risk of applying excess charge amperage that could cause a lot of excess heat and off-gassing.
Apart from the above, the battery voltage of a car can be checked using the crank method, where the above steps should be followed at the time of cranking the engine. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the voltmeter while cranking the engine for no longer than those 15 seconds. If the reading is less than 9.6 volts, that means the battery has become sulfated and no longer holds or accepts a charge.
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