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In Ashburn, people who book through CarAdvise save $4 on average for Battery Test Service. Lock in this price now.

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What is a battery test service?

Your car battery stores energy to start your engine. It also provides power for all of the lights, audio and navigation systems, and electronic control module (computer) memory when the engine is turned off. Once the engine is started, the battery hands off responsibility for energizing vehicle systems to the alternator. It also serves as a backup power source or buffer should the alternator not be able to handle a load spike. If your battery is not working the way it should, it might need to be replaced. A battery test service is aimed at checking the condition of your car battery.

When should I consider a battery test service?

Many drivers have experienced a dead car battery. You get in the car, turn the key in the ignition, and hear nothing but a constant clicking sound. Or maybe the engine turns over slowly but refuses to start. Leaving the dome light on overnight or the stereo on for too long at a picnic can drain your battery too low to start the engine. A jumpstart or battery charger can often remedy the problem. If you find that you are needing frequent jumpstarts or charges, on the other hand, your battery might need to be replaced. But before you spend the money on a new battery, a technician can test the old battery to see if there is life left in it, or if there is some other issue (such as a bad alternator) that is causing the dead battery. Other conditions that might indicate that a battery test service should be scheduled include

The battery case appears swollen or bloated

The battery leaks fluid and gives off a strong acidic odor

There is excess corrosion on top of the battery and on the battery terminals

Your battery is more than four years old

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How is this service performed

How is a Battery Test Service done?

An automotive battery should measure at 12.6 volts when fully charged. A battery is only twenty-five percent charged at 12 volts and is considered “dead” when it falls below 11.9 volts. One way that a technician will test a battery is to use a voltmeter to measure how much voltage is present. At one time, car batteries (which contain an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water) had removable caps that would allow a technician to service the battery. The technician would remove the caps and test the electrolyte solution to determine the battery’s condition. Today, most batteries are “sealed”, so that test is rarely possible. Another battery test is a “load test” that measures its ability to produce current. A device is employed to produce a load on the battery (using a large resistor) and to simulate the draw of a car starter. A meter on the device shows the output voltage under the load. During a battery test service, you can expect that a technician will do the following

  • Open the hood on your vehicle to access the battery (on some vehicles, the battery is located in the trunk or other area)
  • Visually inspect the battery for signs of corrosion, cracks, or swelling
  • Measure the battery voltage with a meter
  • Check the condition of the fluid inside the battery (in rare cases)
  • Perform a load test
  • Make a recommendation for battery service (cleaning, charging, etc) or replacement

OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK

How can you tell if a car battery is bad?
Your car needs a lot of power to start the engine. That power comes from the battery. If your engine turns over slowly or only “clicks” while starting, you could have a dead battery. Especially if you frequently need to ask for a jump start. You might also notice dim headlights or interior lights. If you see a lot of corrosion built up on the top of the battery and on the terminals, your battery might be in need of replacement. And a swollen or cracked battery case is a sure sign that it is bad.
Can you test the strength of a car battery?
Yes. With the right equipment (a battery load tester), a technician can place a load on the battery that simulates the draw from the engine’s starter. A meter shows the output voltage under the load, effectively revealing the “strength” of the battery. In order to perform this test, however, the battery must first be capable of holding a charge at 75% capacity.
How many years do car batteries last?
The average lifespan of a car battery is about four years. That does not mean your battery will not last longer. With proper care and in the right environment, some batteries have been known to last far longer. The two biggest culprits that shorten battery life are inactivity and heat. In extremely warm climates, car batteries tend to have much shorter service lives than in cooler areas. And if you tend to store your vehicle for long periods of time, a battery maintainer (tender) can help to keep your battery alive.

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