Battery Load Tester

Everybody who drives has had the experience of a dead battery. If we're lucky, it happens in a parking lot, driveway, or just somewhere easy to get somebody to help you jumpstart it. If we're unlucky, it can be in a place completely inaccessible to any other cars, and we end up stuck in place, possibly having to even call a service to come tow our car away. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you probably understand how important it is to get your battery replaced on time. However, battery life can vary by years, depending on a host of factors, including how much you use your car, how much you use battery power without the car on, and how much battery power you routinely use. Because this all can affect how long your battery lasts, investing in a battery load tester can save a lot of time and money.

A battery load tester is the easiest way to help solve this problem. It allows drivers to measure how "full" the battery is at any given time. It's not something that has to be used every day, or even every month, but it is extremely helpful in measuring the steady decline of a battery over time and marking when the battery is coming close to failing. Most battery testers can be bought for around $20, although the more expensive models can run closer to $100. As the price increases, so does the reliability, lifespan and other auxiliary features, such as a digital interface, shock absorbers and voltage range.

Battery testers are simple enough to use – just plug them onto your battery and wait for them to finish measuring. What's more complicated is sorting through the different types of testers and learning how to use each type. Most will come with manuals or built in pass or fail measurements, but not all of them do, and used models may not include the manual. Also, there are different ways to measure the energy a battery's current capacity and energy level.

There are a few ways to test a battery, but the most popular and best method is called load testing. Load testing actually absorbs power from the battery, just like the car does. Of course, it draws nowhere near as much power, but it uses that power and the heat it generates to measure how much is in your battery and how much it puts out. In order to test a battery, you need to let it sit for a few hours and then run your headlines to discharge the surface power.

Battery load testers can show their results in a few different ways. Some just display raw data, such as voltage or temperature, which requires you to know exactly what your battery's requirements for those figures are. Your results should be at least 12.4 for a 12-volt battery, 6.2 for a 6-volt battery, or it should have above a 1.225 specific gravity. In other cases, the battery tester might give you a simple pass, borderline or fail rating. Those features are meant to save time, but they can often do exactly the opposite, as a battery tester's measurements usually need to be adjusted slightly for different batteries, and the ratings make it hard to do that.

That said, any battery tester is better than none at all. Even with the simple ones, a "fail" rating means that you need to start considering a new battery, and soon. That is information that you might not know in advance if your battery is running out of energy early. And it's also information that can save a huge amount of trouble, as battery problems always seem to happen at the worst possible time.

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