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Test a Car Battery

How to Test a Car Battery with a Multimeter

Test a Car Battery

Test a Car Battery with a Multimeter.

You may not realize, but checking your car battery voltage is important in ensuring that the car is running at its optimal state. While many mechanics may adopt other unique ways of checking whether the car battery is at its normal 12.6 volts, the use of a multimeter takes precedence.

A bad battery may not allow your vehicle to operate as it can be the cause of the check engine light being on the dash, the battery seems to be weak, and the engine is clinking slowly or at times may not clink at all.

When the car battery is going bad, inserting the key and turning it on the wrong leads to the battery light coming on the dash. When the car is turned on, the battery light on the dash needs to shut off.

What is a multimeter?

A multimeter is one of the dedicated tools in the automotive industry with the capacity of measuring up to 20 volts of current. It is made into something which resembles an OBD scanner with the gauged scales taking most of its screen.

A multimeter has two detachable cables jutting from it, with tips labeled negative and positive respectively.

Additionally, on a multimeter, you are going to see an on and off adjustment knob for ease of switching on and off and also setting the diverse readings on the voltage scale and resetting it.

Multimeters being technical tools need to be carefully used to get the correct measurements on the voltage and resistance. However, using it has always proven to be the biggest headache to most motorists.

When you want to test a car battery using a multimeter, certain things are important.

Testing a car battery for voltage

using multimeter to test car battery

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We have taken a time to look at the how part of these two processes to assist you with the ordeal you may be going through. This is how to test a car battery for either voltage or resistance with a multimeter;

Get your millimeter – there are several brands of multimeters made with the desire of the user in mind. That is why you are likely to see diverse designs and colors in the market.

Switch off the car engine to avoid cases of electrical shock as this is usually likely if the vehicle is still running.

Fix the cables of the multimeter with the negative, which is black on the COM marked slot and the positive, the red cable on the VΩmA area.

Check for continuity of the circuit by taking the positive to the negative terminal, let the tips touch. When there is continuity, you are likely to experience a beep with the signal of continuity and a reading of zero on the screen. It is worth noting that when the readings remain at 1 and do not fall to zero or a sign of OL is indicated, and the beep of continuity doesn’t come, the cables or the multimeter may have some problem. Some multimeters may have dedicated continuity test modes, which will display.

These are usually easy to use in spite of the fact that battery testing using the gadget does not rely so much on the setting.

Switch the multimeter on and set the dials, because the battery is a direct current, adjust the multimeter to DC.
Configure the range of reading if voltage or resistance you may wish to have if your multimeter is not set up for the auto range.

In our case, set it at 12.6V or lower to get the right reading of voltage.

Attach the positive terminal to the positive end of the car battery and the negative terminal of the multimeter to the negative end of the car battery.

You will have the desired car battery readings displayed on the multimeter screen in volts, for this case, 12.6 volts.

Getting the right reading does not mean your battery is good, go to the ignition and switch the car on, if it picks, and doesn’t drop below 10, it means that the alternator is charging the battery.

If the core cranking drops below 10 or the standard 7.5 volts, the battery is bad and needs to be replaced.

If the testing doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to look at the terminals to check for any sign of corrosion. If corroded, rub with sandpaper to remove the corroded cover to see if the battery will pick now.


Other issues may be a foot with your car battery which may necessitate your visiting of the nearest car parts shop for a new battery if you find it to be bad.

Make the right choice as the car battery and even other appliances we may have on the automotive are not usually made them work on the alternating current, which is accompanied by a lot of risks.

It is, however, advisable that while conducting the testing process, the user still wears protective clothing’s to avert any cases of accidents, arising from shock, which is imminent where the electric current is concerned, it’s that simple.

Guest post by Tim Miller.

analog vs digital multimeter

Understanding the Different Types Of Multimeters


analog vs digital multimeterMost electrical technicians already know the importance and benefits of having a multimeter in their tool cabinet.

Multimeters save a lot of time by accurately detecting electrical faults. DIY enthusiasts or non-technicians, though, may not be able to fully appreciate the benefits of a multimeter.

Find out here about the different types of multimeters and which one will best suit your needs.

Usually, most multimeters can measure a wide range of properties such as frequency, inductance, resistance, and conductance. Some of them can equally be used to measure duty circle and temperature. However, the most advanced models are designed with more features. These can measure microamps, decibels and rotations per minute. Others have graphing capabilities and waterproof castings. Multimeters also come with a wide range of accessories such as leads, clamps and probes. Some multimeters even come with product warranties and extra batteries that help them last for a very long time.

If you are looking to buy a multimeter, there are different types and brands on the market but they are categorized into two basic types. Multimeters can either be digital or analogue.

Digital Multimeters

This is the most common type of multimeter on the market today.

It makes use of digital circuits which means that it measures current in discrete increments. Analogue meters measure in continuous range of value. The digital meter measurements are usually made in analogue form. This means that it converts from analogue to digital form before any measurements can take place. Because of this delay of conversions, a digital multimeter may not be ideal for measuring values that are changing constantly. However, a digital multimeter is usually more accurate than its analogue counterpart. So, if your main concern in a multimeter is accuracy, a digital multimeter will suit you perfectly. The digital multimeter generally comes with a battery which powers the display.

Digital multimeters can be categorized into three basic types: the autoranging, clamp digital, and the fluke digital multimeter.

Fluke Digital Multimeter

This type of digital multimeter is designed with different collaboration functions. It usually has a large display screen and can be used to measure electrical resistance and voltage. Some equally come with different advanced features which measure duty circle, frequency, temperature, humidity, and pressure. It is one of the most popular types of digital multimeters available.

Clamp Digital Multimeter

The basic function of this type of multimeter is for measuring the flow of electricity. The clamp feature of the multimeter measures the amps while the probes measure the volts. The power consumption or watts can be calibrated by multiplying the voltage readings by the amps. Another feature of the clamp multimeter is its different types of settings. When using it, you have to pick the setting that is appropriate for what you are measuring.

Autoranging Multimeter

This multimeter is the easiest multimeter to use although it is equally the most expensive of all types of digital multimeters. The central knob of the multimeter has fewer positions and it doesn’t necessarily need to be switched to what is being measured.

Analog Multimeters

These are the first types of multimeters that were manufactured before the digital multimeter era. They are usually cheaper than their digital counterparts but are also not easy to read.

These multimeters make use of a pointed scale that looks like a needle for their readings. When buying an analog multimeter, make sure that the meter has a high sensitivity because a low sensitivity multimeter may upset the circuit leading to inaccurate readings.

When choosing a product, make sure you select the one with the right features needed for whatever you are measuring.

Multimeter Buying Guide

Multimeter Buying Guide

Digital multimeters are the most important devices needed to carry out most electrical troubleshooting tasks.

They are used for installation, repairing, troubleshooting, and testing of electrical appliances. Due to the wide availability of this device in the market, choosing the best model can be confusing.

When buying a multimeter, what are the things you need to consider?  

This buying guide is intended to help you select the ideal multimeter for your electrical troubleshooting needs.

Things to Consider

Digits and resolutions

Resolution simply means a change in the output signal that is caused by a proportionate change in the input signal. The multimeter resolution is determined by the number of digits the multimeter can display. When buying a multimeter, make sure you select the most suitable one with the right display range of about ±1,999 or ±19,999.


One very important feature of the best multimeters is extreme accuracy. Generally, the accuracy of a multimeter is expressed as a percentage of reading. When selecting a multimeter, try to choose a product with about ±0.1 accuracy since they offer more precise readings than most other models. This feature is the most important feature in a multimeter because the effectiveness of a multimeter is always measured by its level of accuracy.

Average Responding or True RMS multimeter

There are basically two types of multimeters: Average Responding and True RMS. The latter is usually more complex and more expensive than the former. If you want to buy the best quality multimeter, it is always better to select the True RMS multimeter because it provides all the features you will need to carry out your work.

Input Impedance

The input impedance of a multimeter is usually very high. However, there are difference levels of input impedance obtainable with the different types of multimeters. When selecting a multimeter, select one with high impedance to make sure you measure with the highest rate of accuracy.


When choosing a multimeter, you don’t have to depend only on the design or features of the product. Select a multimeter from a trusted manufacturer with a proven track record of quality and efficiency.  There are different types of multimeters out there and it may sometimes be difficult to know their difference if you don’t have a solid knowledge of the functionalities and features of a multimeter. One way of making your search easier is by selecting a multimeter from a trusted manufacturer with lots of good reviews and high customer ratings. Even if you are a professional and can differentiate between a good and bad multimeter, it is still recommended to select a good manufacturer because they may have a better product warranty than that offered by less popular manufacturers.

Reviews are important

Finally, product reviews from customers and websites like this can help you a great deal when buying a multimeter. Look at the Amazon product page of the website and see what customers are complaining about or recommending about the multimeter.

There are different types of multimeters meant for different types of troubleshooting tasks. If you go through customer reviews you will be able to find out whether the multimeter is right for your needs.

A multimeter will always be a vital tool for any electrical problem solving. If you follow the above tips and guide, you will be able to confidently select the ideal multimeter for your effective electrical diagnostics.

How to Find the Ideal Multimeter



How to Find The Most Ideal Multimeter

The multimeter is an important troubleshooting tool needed by everyone who owns an electrical appliance.

You have no need to take every damaged item to the electrician or to a professional. There are certain simple tests you can carry out with a multimeter even if you don’t have much technical knowledge.

A multimeter is simple to use and can be used to test voltage, current, continuity and resistance. There are other technical uses of the multimeter but the above purposes are the most common ways in which we can make use of the gadget.

Not all multimeters are the same. Each has their specific functions and features so it is important to select the perfect one for the type of jobs you need it for. Think carefully about this.

Below are some key points to consider before selecting the ideal multimeter for your needs…

Accuracy is key

The most important aspect of the functionality of a multimeter is accuracy. For a multimeter to perform its task effectively, it has to be accurate when reading circuits. When it comes to accuracy, you should not compromise it for anything. Usually, a digital multimeter should be the preferred choice if you are simply looking for the best meter in terms of accuracy. They are more precise in readings than the analogue model (although they are more expensive). Do not look at the cost because the benefits in the long run definitely outweigh its cost. So, whenever you are ready to buy a multimeter, select a product with high accuracy. This will eliminate any risk or error and improve the level of efficiency when troubleshooting electrical appliances. If you are buying a multimeter for commercial use, it is always better to select the one with the most accurate reading.

Look at the features

As explained before, there are different types of multimeters and they offer different kinds of features. Some are strictly intended for household use and for troubleshooting simple electrical appliances. Others are for industrial purpose. There are also multimeters that are designed for troubleshooting electrical faults in automobiles. When selecting a multimeter, understand the features it offers and make sure it has all the required elements needed to help you measure whatever you intended it for. If you are interested in more features apart from the usual basic ones on offer, you will need to get an advanced multimeter with additional functionality. This will be a better choice if you need to use the multimeter heavily on a wide range of electrical appliances.

Product warranty



The durability of a product is somehow linked to the warranty offered by the company. If a multimeter is designed to last for a long time, the manufacturer will surely provide a good warranty on the product. Most high quality multimeters come with a product warranty of more than 2 years. This is one of the areas to look into if you want to select a superior meter. Usually, the best companies provide assurance and warranty to back the quality of their product. Do not consider any multimeter without this product warranty. That is an early indication that you may be buying a poorly manufactured piece of kit.


Before you make your choice, it is important to consider customer reviews on the multimeter you want to buy. See what other customers who have actually used the product have written about the product and find out the best you can about the multimeter you are considering. It is always important to pick the right multimeter that will serve you best. With proper research and an insight into the different features of the multimeter, you will be able to select the ideal one for your electrical troubleshooting tasks.

Features of The Best Types of Multimeter

Multimeters are great tools that can help you effectively solve any electrical problem you have with your appliance.

Every household should have one of these devices because it can help you out of many tricky situations when troubleshooting an electrical appliance.

You don’t have to be a professional to check simple things like AC or DC voltage on your appliance. But before you begin any troubleshooting task, it is important to understand the different features of the multimeter. When you are familiar with what each component or feature does, it will help you effectively fix any electrical problems.

So, what are the features of the best types of multimeters?

Read on to find out.

-Features of The Best Types of Multimeters-Multimeter-Tutorial

The Best Multimeter Features

Graphic Function

The best quality multimeters have graphic functions which display AC measurements in real time. If you notice irregularities, this feature will come in handy to help you easily detect any fault with your appliances. It is even more useful to those who work with nonlinear AC waveforms.

Data Logging

This is another excellent feature that enables you to monitor and record your measured data over a long period of time. The software can record data over a prolonged period and also show the general trends within that period. After the data is collected, it can then be utilized for further analysis. This feature is much needed for the repair and installation of systems such as air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Low Pass Filter

If you want to troubleshoot motor drives, this feature will be perfect. Most of the RMS used may not have this feature but the best quality models will not let you down.  The low pass feature is meant to prevent unwanted voltages when measuring voltages that are higher than 1 KHz if measuring AC frequency or AC voltage.  It will also improve the level of accuracy when measuring voltages and current on appliances such as inverters and frequency motor drives.

Low Impedance Mode

This feature is necessary for preventing induced voltages from measurement. The voltage can result from capacitive coupling between energized wires. If the induced voltages are noticed, it can lead to more accurate measurements.

Smart Ohm

This is an advanced feature of the multimeter, and it’s available in a few different types of multimeter. It is also known as offset compensation, the feature that allows you to achieve greater measurement accuracy in some situations. This feature is needed when testing resistance with two distinct test currents to find out if there are offset voltages present in the input circuit.  With this check, it displays a corrected measure and eliminates any unexpected DC voltage within the circuit.

Voltage Tests

Voltage test is the most common feature of the multimeter. Almost all types of multimeters (whether digital or analogue) have this capability. The voltage test begins at the highest range and moves down to the most ideal voltage range for the appliance you intend to measure. However, if you want to measure voltages at different locations within the circuit you need to make use of the test leads to identify and effectively read the voltage differences. When measuring, remember that DC modes and AC modes are not compatible. Another important thing you need to know is to always measure your voltage first in order to find out if the circuit is DC or AC.

Measuring Ohms

Finally, a multimeter will not serve its rightful purpose if it is not able to measure ohms. It is the most important feature of the multimeter. The measuring ohm is required when checking for consistency of current on an appliance or a circuit. If a switch is open or a wire is broken, you may not be able to detect the fault until you make use of this feature. The ohmmeter will help you check for consistency when troubleshooting your device.   Although you can test for continuity using another method since some multimeters have a different feature that only test for continuity, those multimeters that can read both continuity and ohms are more preferred since they can also be used to test network and SCSI terminations.