How to Check Your Car Battery Voltage

As the power source behind your engine, the car battery is one of the most essential parts of your vehicle. Without it, your car wouldn’t even run! For peace of mind, it’s good to know that your car battery has the juice to start your car and keep it running.

If you’ve been wondering how to check your car battery voltage, rest assured that it’s a straightforward process. Our team at Land Rover Albuquerque is here to provide instructions for drivers throughout South Valley, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, so they can do it themselves!

Method #1: Car Battery Voltage Check with a Voltmeter

If you have a voltmeter, checking your battery voltage will be easy. To begin with, make sure your ignition is off and you have a pair of rubber gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from potential acid leaks.

  1. Remove the battery’s positive terminal cover.
  2. Attach the voltmeter’s positive lead (often red) to the battery’s positive terminal.
  3. Attach the negative lead (often black) to the negative terminal.
  4. Once you have that set up, all you need to do is check the voltmeter.
  5. If it measures between 12.4 and 12.7 volts, your battery is in good condition.

Method #2: Cranking the Engine

You can also check your battery voltage by cranking the engine – but you’ll need two people for this.

  1. Set up your multimeter as described above.
  2. Have a helper “crank” the engine by turning the ignition and holding it for a couple seconds.
  3. You can do this repeatedly to confirm that you have a good reading.
  4. While the engine’s being cranked, check the reading on your multimeter.
  5. Make sure the voltage doesn’t dip below 9.6 volts.

If it does, that’s a sign the battery is sulfated, and it’s not accepting/holding the charge. You can restore your battery by using a desulfating battery charger to reverse the damage.

What to Do if Car Battery Doesn’t Hold Charge

Your car battery may be well-charged now – especially if you just charged it – but if you notice it doesn’t seem to hold its charge well over time, there may be a problem with the battery or a related system. Here are three of the most common causes of a failure to hold charge:

  • Old battery that needs to be replaced.
  • Mechanical charging problem (the battery isn’t recharging while you’re driving).
  • A faulty alternator (or another system) may be draining the battery.

If you’re unsure how to check for these issues yourself, you can take your car to a certified technician and have him or her run a diagnostic test to figure out what the issue is.

Schedule Battery Service

Now that you know how to check your car battery voltage, you can easily determine if you need a new battery. If so, you can always schedule a service appointment at Land Rover Albuquerque, your dealership serving South Valley, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

Whether your battery needs a charge or a full replacement – or there’s an issue with a related system – we’ll let you know, perform the required repairs and have your car ready for the road in no time!