Testing Your Battery's Health Before Replacing It

23 September 2021
 Categories: , Blog


If you have ever been stranded with a dead battery in your car, you know how frustrating it can be. Often the reaction is to assume the battery is bad and replace it with a new one — but before you toss that battery out and spend the money on another one, you should consider taking it to a repair shop that offers car battery testing

Battery Testing Basics

If you suspect the battery in your vehicle is faulty and needs replacing, taking your car to an auto repair shop for battery testing is an excellent place to start. The battery is not always the issue, and replacing it without checking it could add more frustration if your new battery goes dead a few days after installing it. 

Several tests can be done to verify the health of the battery and determine if replacing it is necessary or not, but the tests require a battery tester that most people do not have. You can purchase a handheld battery tester at many auto parts stores, but for most people, the cost of the tester is not practical for testing just one battery.

Some auto parts stores will loan you a tester or test the battery for you, but the test is somewhat limited when compared to the battery testing an auto repair shop can offer. Taking the vehicle or the battery to the shop will yield more accurate results. They can also check other parts of the electrical system in the car if you need.  

The Battery Test

The first part of battery testing involves checking to see if the battery is fully charged. A multimeter is required to check the battery to ensure this is the case. If the battery is low, the tech will charge it before testing.

The battery is then connected to a battery testing computer that will check the voltage, amperage, and look for any fluctuations in power output. The system will then test the battery with a power load that simulates starting the engine in your vehicle. 

The test will show any bad cells in the battery and how well it is holding a charge. If the battery is not showing signs of failure, the tech will check the power coming to the battery from the alternator in the car. If the alternator is not producing enough power, it can mimic a bad battery, and replacing the alternator will be necessary. 

If the battery fails the tests, the repair tech will replace it with a new battery for you. If you still experience issues with the battery charging, there could be an open circuit somewhere in your vehicle that is draining it. Further testing will be required to determine where the problem is.