A Battery check up is a
good place to begin the initial hobby car maintenance service procedure. This check should
be repeated at 5000-kilometer intervals or when a problem arises. The battery cleanup
procedure should be performed every time you change oil. Begin by removing the battery
terminals, negative terminal first. Use a little water with a swab and brush to clean the
corrosion developed on the battery terminals. Exercise care if the terminal is stuck on to
the battery post, if too much horizontal pressure is applied you may break the battery
post. You would need to use a plier and twist the terminal gently while applying liberal
quantities of water till the same loosens. You could use a strip of polish paper or a
knife to clean the battery terminal posts and the battery terminals. If your battery is of
the standard type as opposed to a maintenance free battery remove the caps and check the
electrolyte level. If it is not up to the indicated full level, add distilled water only.
(If you do add water when the temperature is below freezing, you must drive the car for at
least 20 minutes.).
the other ends of the cable. Where, the negative attaches to ground. Where, the positive
connects to ground. Where, the positive connects to the relay or starter motor. Make sure
that all connections are tight and free of corrosion. If not, disconnect the cable end.
Clean it, and the post or bolt it was attached to, with polish paper. Reconnect all
cables, starting with the ends that are not attached to the battery. Then connect the
positive cable to the battery before connecting the negative.
Once this operation has been successfully
carried out apply a small quantity of petroleum jelly on to the terminal and the
tightening bolt. This will help retard the corrosion process on the same.
If your battery is
equipped with filler caps, you can determine the state of charge by checking the specific
gravity of the electrolyte solution with a battery hydrometer. The hydrometer reading must
be corrected for temperature.If readings vary by more than .05, the battery should be
replaced. See the instructions for your hydrometer. Many maintenance- free batteries have
a built - in hydrometer that indicates approximate state of charge by changing colour. In
most cases a green eye indicates fully charged, a dark eye indicates a discharged
condition and a clear of white-eye indicates that the battery is bad and cannot be
charged. If you do not have a hydrometer, you can get a general idea of battery charge
level by measuring voltage with the help of a multimeter. With the engine off, the battery
should store at least 13.5 volts. If you've just charged the battery turn the head lights
on for about 15 to 20 seconds before measuring voltage. If your hydrometer check or
voltage test indicates that the battery is not fully charged, connect a trickle charger
for several hours or until you get a fully charged indication. If a trickle charger is not
available with you take the battery, to a battery dealer who could charge it for you.
maintenance free batteries that have been almost fully discharged have to be charged with
a high- amperage service station type charger for a long period of time. If your voltage
check or hydrometer reading indicates that the battery is charged, it should be load
tested to determine its cranking capability. Ideally, you should take the vehicle to a
service station which would be equipped with the necessary equipment (adjustable carbon
pile) to load the battery while you take a voltage reading.The amount of load that a
specific battery should be able to handle can be found in the service manual. In most
cases, it will be between 150 and 270 amps
If you do not have acess
to a service station, load the battery by cranking the engine with the coil wire removed
and attached to ground. The battery should be able to provide 9.6 volts while the cranking
the engine for at least 15 seconds at 70 degree F (At 30 degree F. you should measure at
least 9.1 volts, at 0 degree, 8.5volts.) If the battery is not able to maintain voltage
under load but appears to be fully charged when the load test begins, it's worn out and
must be replaced. Batteries are not supposed to last forever. Two years is about the limit
If you find that your battery does
produce enough voltage during the cranking test enough voltage during the cranking test
but the engine still does not turn fast enough to start, check for excessive circuit
resistance. (Fig 3). To check positive -circuit resistance, connect a voltmeter's lead to
the positive battery post and its negative lead to the relay terminal or to the starter
motor's positive terminal (the big one).
The meter should read less than 0.5-vo1t. Check ground circuit resistance by
connecting the negative voltmeter- lead to the negative battery post and positive lead to
the starter housing. Voltage should be less than 0.2- volt. If either voltage check
exceeds maximum, there is much resistance in that circuit, probably due to a bad cable.
Re- place suspect cables and check connections again. If the resistance test does not
reveal the problem, either the starter motor or the solenoid/relay is defective. If both
prove to be okay, the engine is suffering from an Internal problem that makes it hard to
turn. Should the battery take a charge and pass the load test but discharge while driving,
there's trouble in the charging system. Further testing will determine whether the
alternator, regulator or wiring is to blame. Consult a manual for troubleshooting
you've determined that the starting circuit functions as it should, check the brake
lights, tail lights, turn signals, headlights and other electric accessories to make sure
they operate. It's a good idea to check operation of all lights every time you change oil.
Check other electric accessories. As problems arise.
If you find that a single bulb is out, remove it and check the filament
visually, with a test light or with an ohmmeter. Clean the bulb contacts before installing
a new one. Should that fail to solve the problem, check for voltage at the light socket
connector and ground. If it's lacking, trace the wire checking for voltage at various
points with a test light needle probe by piercing the insulation.Maybe the taillights and
brake lights work but turn signals don't. Try replacing the flasher unit. In most cars,
it's a small metal or plastic can that can be found under the dashboard or in the area of
the fuse box.
In cases where all brake-lights tail- lights or turn signals are out, check
the fuses. If just the brake lights are out, replace the brake light switch. On most modelcars, it's a mechanical switch near the brake pedal. Earlier models have a hydraulic
switch at the end of the master cylinder.
If one headlight is inoperative, replace the bulb or the sealed beam unit,
clean the connector and tighten. If lights are dim, check the connection between the
headlights mount and body ground. When both headlights are out or flash on and off, check
for a loose connection at the dimmer switch and the headlight switch. If that doesn't
help? Check for voltage at the dimmer switch with a test lamp. If the test lamp lights
only on the switch side (hot wire side) of the dimmer, replace the dimmer switch. Should
the test lamp fail to light on the hot side of the dimmer switch, check wiring from the
head- light switch to dimmer with a test lamp. In the event that there's still no voltage,
check the hot wire terminal on the head- light switch for voltage. If the test lamp does
not light, repair the wire from the battery to the switch. There may be a fusible link in
this wire that is the source of the problem.
If you find that voltage is available on the hot wire side of the headlight
switch but not on the output side (with the switch turned on), replace the headlight
switch.In cases where the headlights flicker after a few minutes of operation, there is
probably a short to ground in the circuit between the battery and the headlight. The
flickering may be accompanied by a clicking noise from the headlight switch. Repair any
shorts in the wire from the battery to the light switch and cheek the lights again. If
they still flicker, the short has damaged the circuit breaker in the headlight switch and
the switch must be replaced.
Troubleshoot other failed electric components in a similar manner. After
checking fuses, test for voltage at the component. If no voltage is available, trace back
along the wire with your test light until you locate the source of the trouble (either an
open circuit or a defective switch). If voltage is available at the component, the
problem, of course, is in the device itself