How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter (4 Step Guide)

Want to learn how to test a car battery with a multimeter? Superb, you are in the right place!

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com article, we will show you: 

  • Best multimeters for testing
  • Trouble shooting tips
  • Step by Step testing process; and
  • So Much More!
Test Car Battery with a multimeter

What You Need To Know About How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter

In this article, we will be discussing the basics of how to test a car battery with a multimeter.

We will go over the different types of multimeters, their uses, and how to use them to test car batteries.

We will also cover some of the most common problems that can occur, as well as some troubleshooting tips. 

Read More:>>> Find Top Automotive Multimeter

Understanding different car battery

To learn how to test a car battery with a multimeter, you first need to understand the different types of car batteries.

Different kinds of car batteries

The three most common types of car batteries are lead acid, lithium ion, and gel cell.

Lead acid batteries are the most common type of battery used in cars. They are also the oldest type of battery, and they have been used in cars for over a hundred years. 

Lithium ion batteries are newer than lead acid batteries, and they are becoming more popular in cars.

Gel cell batteries are a type of lead acid battery that is sealed and does not require regular maintenance.

Each type of car battery has its advantages and disadvantages. Lead acid batteries are very affordable, but they are also heavy and require regular maintenance.

Lithium ion batteries are lightweight and have a longer lifespan than lead acid batteries, but they are more expensive. Gel cell batteries are maintenance-free, but they are also more expensive than lead-acid batteries.

When choosing a car battery, it is important to consider the climate in which you live. If you live in a hot climate, it is best to choose a battery with higher heat tolerance. If you live in a cold climate, it is best to choose a battery with a higher cold cranking amps rating.

Safety Considerations

When testing a car battery with a multimeter, it is important to exercise caution and take safety precautions.

  • Always make sure that the battery is disconnected from the vehicle before testing.
  • Never touch the terminals of the battery while it is being tested.
  • Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands.
  • If battery acid spills over your clothes or skin, rinse it off immediately with lukewarm water for about 30 minutes.

Read More:>>> Find Out How To Test A Capacitor With A Multimeter

What To Look Out For When Learning How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter

Type of Multimeter

There are three main types of multimeters: digital, analog, and autoranging. Digital multimeters are the most common type, and they are the best choice for testing car batteries.

They are accurate and easy to use. Analog multimeters are less accurate than digital multimeters, but they are less expensive.

Autoranging multimeters are more expensive than other types of multimeters, but they are the easiest to use. They automatically select the correct range for the measurement that is being taken.

In my opinion, if you are going to be testing car batteries more than once a week for an extended period, it may be worth the investment to get an auto-ranging multimeter. This will save you a considerable amount of time and effort.

Equipment You Will Need To Effectively Learn How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter

Here is a list of the equipment required to be able to adequately perform the multimeter tests on your car battery.

  • Car battery
  • Multimeter
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Battery terminal clamps
  • Wrench or socket set
Terminal Corrosion on battery

Step by Step How To Test A Car Battery With Multimeter

Step 1 - Testing For Voltage

Start by disconnecting the battery from both the negative (-) and positive (+) terminals.

These are generally denoted with red and blue or red and black for positive and negative respectively.

Take your multimeter with the respective crocodile clip and leads and connect the red lead to the positive and the black lead to the negative terminal.

When recording the reading the voltage should read 12V and higher. If this is not the case then it's possible that the battery is defective and needs to be replaced.

Step 2 - Checking For The Correct Amperage Rating

When measuring for amperage rating. Set your multimeter to (A) or amps. If you are using an auto multimeter, then you will have the benefit of this being done for you.

Connect one clamp of the ammeter around each battery terminal, making sure that the red lead is connected to the positive (+) terminal and the black lead is connected to the negative (-) terminal.

The current reading should be somewhere around 10 to 15 amps. If this is not the case then you could be dealing with a defective multimeter.

Step 3 - Checking For Resistance Values

Similarly, set the meter to measure resistance. Connect the terminals as in the two previous examples.

Then follow up and ensure that the reading is somewhere between 0.5 and 1 ohms. If you battery provides resistance values outside this range, it's highly possible that it could be defective.

Step 4 - Diode Test

Set the multimeter to measure the diode range. Follow this up by ensuring that the terminals remain connected as per Step 1 - Step 3 above. The diode voltage should give you something within the range of between 0.5 to 0.7 V

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having trouble testing your car battery with a multimeter, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

Make sure that the multimeter is set to the correct range.

Make sure that the probes are making good contact with the terminals of the battery.

If the multimeter is not very accurate, try another one.

Check the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if necessary.

Read More:>>> High Quality Non Contact Voltage Tester

Final Thoughts On How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter

Testing a car battery with a multimeter is an easy process that can be done in just a few steps.

By following the instructions in this article, you should be able to test your car battery for voltage, amperage rating, and resistance values.

You can also use the diode test function to check for any potential defects. If you are having trouble getting accurate readings, try cleaning the battery terminals or using another multimeter. Hope this helps and all the best

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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