Testing and maintaining your battery on a monthly basis is key to a long battery life and help it resist freezing and sulfation. Testing your battery will give you an idea of the state of its health and how much of a charge it has.
Here we’ll focus on the three main types of technologies being used to test both conventional and absorbed glass mat (AGM) style batteries and how to use each one.
This is the simplest and easiest tool to find and use, but it uses the electrolytes to determine the battery’s state of charge, and therefore can only be used on a conventional style lead-acid battery.
- Insert the tube on the hydrometer into a cell on your conventional style battery
- Extract the acid into the hydrometer until the balls inside begin to float
- Note the reading on the scale printed on the hydrometer
- Release the liquid back into the cell and secure the cap
Voltmeters are digital and, like hydrometers, will only tell you the state of charge of the battery. You can use a voltmeter on either a conventional style batter or an AGM style battery. They normally come with a red wire and a black wire attached to the meter
- Put the red wire on the positive battery post
- Put the black wire on the negative battery post
- Note the reading on the meter
Electronic Battery Meter
Electronic battery meters are made for more serous riders. They’ll do more than just test batteries; they’ll also tell you if your battery is good or bad, which you won’t get with either the hydrometer or voltmeter.
- Hook up the leads to the proper posts.
- Input the temperature of the battery and the amp hours
- Run the test and it will tell you if your battery is a good, how many volts it has, and the percentage it is charged.
Remember to test your battery on a monthly basis to keep tabs on its health and help give you more riding hours!