Car Battery Troubleshooting & Repair Guide
If you have turned the key in your car and you are hearing a clicking noise, a weird warping sound as the engines turns, or nothing happens at all you could have a bad car battery that will either need to be replaced or jumped to bring the battery back to life. The first thing you will have to determine is if in fact the battery has lost all of its charge or if something else is wrong with the car like a bad starter cable or possibly heavy corrosion on the battery posts that is stopping the battery from making a good enough connection to give you the amps you need to start the car.
The second thing you will need to do is to pull the hood release in your car and pop the hood open and prop it up if need be. Once your hood is opened you will want to take a battery meter and attach it to the positive and negative sides of the battery and see how many volts appear on the voltage meter. If your voltage meter shows 12v or more then your battery still has power stored inside of it and your problem is not the battery but indeed another part of the car ignition system. Some common things that could be wrong at this point are a loose battery cable or large amounts of battery corrosion on the battery terminals.
If you see large amounts of corrosion on either the positive or negative battery terminal you will need to remove the battery cable so you can clean the battery post with a wire brush, so that its free of all corrosion. If you do not see any corrosion around the battery posts you will want to see if you can move the battery cables to determine if you have a loose connection. If either or your battery cables move back and forth while they are on the battery posts you will have to tighten them up. Loose battery cables on the battery posts will can cause the car not to start.
How To Jump Start Your Car With Jumper Cables
If you have already troubleshooted why you have a “no start” situation in your car and you have determined that just the battery needs to be jump started you can either use a portable jump start box or have a friend, neighbor or anyone else with a car give you a jump. If you are going to use another car to jump yours, you will need a good pair of jump cables. Once you have the jump box or the cables you will want to connect the red side of each set of cables to the positive side of the car battery terminal. You then will want to connect both black sides of the jumper cables or the portable jumper box to the negative side of the car battery.
If you are using another car to jump yours and you now have the jumper cables connected you will want to start the other car and hold the rpm’s around 1500 for 30 – 120 seconds so that the car with the battery that needs to be charged will now draw some power into the battery. Most car alternators will put out more voltage and amperage when the rpm’s are higher then just car idle. After you have let the car charge for a few minutes you can now try to see if your car starts. If after a few times of the above method your car still does not start you will want to make sure that you have a good connection on the jumper cables that are connected to both cars. You can find out of you have a good connection by removing one of black jumper cables from the negative battery post and then you will want to reconnect it. If you see a spark when you reconnect the cable to the battery post then you have a good connection on your car jumper cables.
Using a portable jump start box to jump your car is even easier then using another car to get a jump. To use a portable jump start box you will want to connect the black side of the cables to the negative battery post and then connect the red side to the positive side of the battery. Once you have the two cables attached to the car battery posts you will just want to turn on the power to the jump box and then you will want to sit inside of the car and turn the key. At this point if your portable jump starter is totally charged and there is nothing else wrong with your car it should start.
How To Clean Battery Terminals Free Of Corrosion
The first thing you will need to do before you can clean the battery posts and the cable ends are to gather the tools that you are going to need to clean the battery free of all corrosion. You are going to need a wire brush or a battery terminal cleaner. You also are going to need an adjustable open end wrench or a socket that fits onto your battery cable hold down nut. You will also need some kind of battery terminal corrosion free spray or a set of felt battery post washers that will help prevent the battery from building up corrosion in the future. You may also need a battery terminal puller or a pair of channel locks to remove a stubborn battery terminal.
Now that you have all of the tools and parts you need you can clean the battery and cables. You know will want to loosen the nut on the battery cable end and then move the battery cable terminal end back and fourth until the cable is completely off of the battery post. If the battery terminal is really tight you can use a battery terminal puller to remove the terminal end from the battery post. You can also use a pair of channel lock pliers to twist the terminal free from the battery post.
Once the terminal is removed from the battery post you can take either your wire brush or your battery post / terminal cleaner and now start to clean the battery post. You will want to clean all of the corrosion from both the battery post and the battery terminal. If the battery terminal is super corroded you will want to replace it with a new one.
How To Remove & Replace The Battery
You will need to first find the hold down screw and block that holds your battery into place. This screw and block will be mounted near the base of the battery. You are going to need a socket and an extension to remove this bolt. After you have removed the battery hold down bolt and block from the bottom of your battery, you should be able to push on the battery and see it move. The next thing you will want to do is to disconnect the battery terminals from the battery posts. You can do this by using an open end wrench or socket and then loosing the bolts a few turns. You may need a terminal puller or pair of channel lock pliers to remove the terminals. Once you have removed both the negative and positive terminals from the battery and the battery hold down block from the base of the battery you can then lift the battery out of the car. Some batteries will have a handle so you can pull them straight out. Remember that you will have to return your old battery to the store you are buying a new one from to avoid paying a core charge because you did not return the old battery. To replace the new battery just reverse the directions and the order that you removed the old battery.
How To Tighten The Battery Terminal & Cables
To tighten the battery terminals you will either need an adjustable wrench or a socket set. You will want to find the bolt that is on the side of the terminal. This is the one that you will be tightening with your socket or adjustable wrench. Before you tighten down that bolt you will want to tap the terminal a few times to make sure that it is properly installed into place on the battery post. Once you have tapped it a few times you can take your wrench or socket and tighten down the bolt a few turns until the terminal is tight and does not move from side to side. You will want to be careful not to over tighten this bolt when you are tightening your battery terminals.