Does your car have a hard time starting in the morning and sound like it is on its last legs? Although this may seem like something serious and terminal, you may only have a battery that is going bad. Car batteries are components that store electricity in amounts sufficient to run various appliances and provide power for starting the engine. In this article, we will go through telltale signs of a bad battery and explain how to replace it.

How can I tell if the battery in my car is dead?

Although all car batteries go bad with time, you should rule out other possibilities before blaming it. You can do this by doing several simple check ups and tests. Start by locating the battery and visually inspecting the battery. Remove any traces of corrosion and other contaminants on battery posts using a brush and some baking soda. If your car has a wet-cell battery, check the electrolyte level and top up with distilled water if needed. You will recognize if the battery is wet-cell type by fill plugs at the top side.

Is there a way to check the battery charge?

The next step that involves checking the voltage, will reveal the condition of the whole charging system. For this, you will need a voltmeter or a battery tester. Start by measuring the voltage between positive and negative battery posts while the car is not running. Readings at around 12 Volts indicate a battery is in good shape and able to hold the charge. Repeating the measuring procedure while the engine is running will show if the alternator is in good shape. The values you are looking for are around 14 Volts. Any significant voltage below or above that is a sign of an alternator related issue.

Is it hard to replace the battery?

Assuming you have concluded that the battery in your car is bad, replacing it is the only solution. While being a simple job in older cars, this may be a bit more complicated if you have a newer one. For a start, you can have trouble accessing and removing the battery because of the limited space. This is even more true with the batteries located in the trunk or under the seats, as involves trim removal.

Are there any extra steps when replacing the battery?

With loosening the post connectors and removing the strapping bracket being the only staples, removing the battery itself is easy. However, hooking a trickle charger while doing this will prevent things like seat and stereo memory from being lost. In addition, modern cars use intelligent charging systems that adapt themselves to various conditions. To work at the optimum level, these systems must know the type and the capacity of installed battery. You can do this using a diagnostic tool capable of performing a battery registration.

Conclusion

As we have explained in this article, diagnosing and replacing a dead battery is not a complicated job. However, if you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve all charging related issues. This will ensure that all important components are checked and your car is ready to hit the road.