How To Test A Car Battery With And Without Multimeter

**Articles may contain links that I earn compensation for if clicked and you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. These earnings do not actually impact the price of the product or service.

The technical question How To Check Car Battery can have a non-technical answer too. Lot’s of car owners do not know how to check their car’s battery, they rely on their mechanics to do the right thing for them for which they pay a lot of money. Sometimes the battery does not even require the amount of work that the mechanics include in the bill. To help with this problem, this post will be describing the various ways to check the battery of your car yourself to save a huge bill on the usual service. After you test your battery, you only will have to visit the repair shop only if you find any fault in the battery.

Test A Car Battery

However, if you feel that the work is too much or you are afraid that something might go wrong, then you can simply visit the car repair shop and, auto parts store, or even auto-electrician. Many auto parts dealers can even test your batteries for free or a small charge.

How To Test A Car Battery With A Multimeter

This test will show you the use of a multimeter, and whether you care battery is good or not. For this test you will need a multimeter, if you don’t have one at home or could not borrow from your neighbor, then you can buy it on Amazon – Buy it here

est A Car Battery With A Multimeter

How Many Volts Does A Car Battery Need To Start

A good car battery should measure 12.6V or above. When you do the Car Battery Voltage Test, remember not to do so right after turning off the engine. This way you won’t be able to get an accurate reading. Some recommend testing the battery after a rest overnight. Some say that you can just wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the effects of the alternator charge to wear off.

What you need to do before starting to measure the voltage?

Before starting to measure the voltage, you must clean the battery terminals with sandpaper so that the multimeter probes will get good contact with the terminals and give you the accurate details.

Step #1 Prior to measuring the voltage, set the multimeter to 20V. This is because any good battery should produce 12.6V and when the engine is running, it will increase to up to 14.8V. That is why the voltmeter must be set higher.

Step  #2 Connect the multimeter probes to the battery. As the drill goes, connect positive to positive and negative to negative.

Step #3 Turn on the ignition, the engine must be running to give the accurate measurement of voltage. As you start your car, the voltage must not drop below 10V. If it does, then you must replace the battery.

Step #4 When the engine is stable, the reading must be around 14V.

If you want to know the position at which the health of your battery is, then you can check the voltage level of the battery using the multimeter, and then check the result on the Car Battery Voltage Chart which is given below –

est A Car Battery With A Multimeter

How To Check Car Battery Without Multimeter

Without a multimeter, there are a few ways you can try to test your battery. These ways are best for those who are not able to get hold of a multimeter and they don’t want to the repair shop so soon.

The easiest way would be to use the headlight test. A poor battery can be detected by looking at the headlights when the engine is off and when it is on. The difference between the brightness will give the result of whether the battery is alright or not.

Step #1 First turn on the lights when the engine is off and the car is cool. Remember the brightness and then turn it off

Step #2 Turn on the engines of your car and then turn on the headlight again. Compare the brightness with what you saw previously when the engine was off.

If there is a big difference in the brightness then you might have some issue with the battery.

Here are other ways that car owners can use to check the battery health without a multimeter –

# Use an Ammeter

Ammeter used to measure any kind of flow is usually pre-installed in many vehicles. The Ammeter is there to let you know about the battery charging condition. You will get a strong reading of the battery’s good condition. The lower charge will depict that the battery is going weak. This tool gives the results much faster than then voltmeter.

# Battery Health Indicators – The MVP

This tool is also pre-installed in almost all cars. This is one of the most important devices which is used to test the health of a car battery. If your car do not have battery health indicators, then you get them installed.


# You can use a Power Probe

It is a much faster and better way to test a battery’s health.

Check Car Battery Without Multimeter

To use it, the battery’s positive terminal cover is removed first. Then the positive lead of the power probe must be connected to the positive terminal of the battery. After that, the negative lead is attached efficiently to the negative terminal. You will see the tip of the probe, attach it to the positive terminal of the battery. The results, if the battery reading is between 12.2 and 12.9 then the battery is at good health.


The person who knows the ways to check the car battery problems can take their care to the service station sooner or later according to the need of the car. This will enable the car owner to avoid certain circumstances that could get them in trouble or delay their work.

Cover Image Credits