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The 6 Steps of Checking your Car Battery

'Test Car Battery Intro Banner'

Do you remember when you last had your battery serviced? The summer heat and winter cold take a big toll on your car's battery, which could wind up leaving you stranded. If it's been a while, or it has been a rough season for your battery, now is the time to test it yourself or bring your car into Pep Boys for a free battery test.

To determine if your battery is fully charged, you will need to measure your battery's state of charge with a voltmeter. You can use an analog or digital voltmeter, but a digital meter will give you an easier-to-see, more accurate reading. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, remember to always wear a pair of rubber gloves and goggles whenever you service your battery. This will protect your hands and eyes from acid.

Follow these steps to test your battery:
  • 1. Before you begin testing, make sure the ignition key and all of your vehicle's lights are off.
  • 2. Connect the red or positive voltmeter test lead to your battery's positive terminal.
  • 3. Then, connect the black or negative voltmeter test lead to your battery's negative terminal.
  • 4. Compare your reading to this chart:
  • 5.Always remove the negative terminal first. If the battery terminals do not come off easily, use a battery terminal puller to remove them. Do not use a screwdriver to pry the terminals off because it can break the internal connections of the battery post.
  • 6. Take your battery terminal cleaning tool, which should have different extensions for different sized terminals, and use it to clean off the terminals and posts. Also, use a quality battery cleaning solution, which is available at your local Pep Boys.

'Test Car Battery Good Battery Banner'

  • Accepts and holds charge
  • Easily recharges and returns to service
  • Above 12.4 volts reading
  • Under 4 years old

'Test Car Battery Bad Battery Banner'

  • Will not accept or hold a charge
  • Under 12.0 volts reading
  • Cannot produce adequate cranking amps
  • Over 5 years old

The only way to know if your battery is good or bad is to test it. If you suspect that you have a problem with your battery or electrical system, or you would like Pep Boys professionals to do a complete Battery Starting and Charging System Service, call your local Pep Boys and set up an appointment. If you need a new battery altogether, we offer a great selection of quality batteries at great prices.