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How to Troubleshoot a Car Battery

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Aug 9, 2010, 9:00 AM

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How to Troubleshoot a Car Battery Sign In

There's nothing worse than leaving the store with a cart full of groceries and finding your car won't start. Chances are it is a dead battery. There are many ways to troubleshoot and find out why your battery is going dead. Follow these steps to determine if your battery is the culprit and how to keep this pesky electrical problem from happening again.
1. Step 1 Check to see if something is causing your battery to discharge. If your car has been sitting a long time or has been left in extreme heat or cold, the battery could lose its spark. Also, leaving your headlights on all day or overnight could tempt your battery to play dead. Troubleshoot all the electrical parts in your car to see if anything was left on while the car was off.

2. Step 2 Determine if your car is experiencing an electrical short somewhere. Check all fuses for any failures that may be draining your battery. Also, electrical accessories such as cell phones, GPS systems, computerized systems and even alarms could adversely affect the life of your battery.

3. Step 3 Look at the battery for corrosion around the terminals. If there is a build up, your battery will not hold a charge. Also, check for a ground wire that could have come free or for a cross-threaded bolt on the side of your terminal. These troubleshooting points could help you diagnose an intermittent connection.

4. Step 4 Inspect the belt for any wear and tear. If the belt is worn down, your battery could be losing power by working too hard. Also, if you think your battery is charging too much or not enough it could be that the voltage regulator is not functioning properly.

5. Step 5 Test your battery to make sure that it is installed properly in your car. If it is not sitting in the correct position, it can vibrate excessively and cause damage to the inside of the battery. Also, make sure that the battery is the right size for the year, make and model of your car.

6. Step 6 Figure out if your battery is unable to hold a charge. It could be the result of unsatisfactory battery maintenance, very hot weather, an overheated car engine or a faulty alternator.

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(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Aug 9, 2010, 9:34 AM)

How to Troubleshoot a Car Battery

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