The voltmeter is a gauge in your dashboard used to monitor the battery and the alternator. Basically, it shows the amount of voltage that the alternator is putting out for the battery to charge. Voltmeters are important because they help warn you if your car's battery is going bad. You see, even if a car battery has a broken cell, it will still put out over 12 volts. However, if you observe it closely, you'll notice that amperage always suddenly decreases. When this happens, your vehicle might not have enough power to start. To find out how to use this helpful tool, read this short guide below.
How to Use a Voltmeter to Test the Car's Battery
Amperage is what the engine needs in order to start. And when the vehicle's battery goes bad, it would not be able to sustain the amount of amperage that your car needs. Here's how you can find out if you have a busted battery or alternator in your ride.
Step 1: To begin, engage the starter while you watch the gauge. See if the voltage drops to 10 volts or even less because when it does, then the battery probably has a bad cell, and you need to get a replacement soon.
Step 2: On the other hand, if the engine is already running and the gauge starts to drop at 12 volts or less, then the battery is not the source of your problem. Instead, it's the alternator that's causing the drop because it is not charging the engine and your car is running on battery alone.
Step 3: In case the gauge shows high ratings.16 volts or even higher.then you have to check the alternator. Chances are you have a bad regulator that will burn up the lights and wiring components of your system if left unchecked.
How to Attach the Wires of a Voltmeter Gauge
When installing voltmeters, you need to wire them properly in order for them to work. Here's a basic guide that you can follow to get started.
Step 1: Begin by mounting the new gauge in place and securing it using the mounting screws that came with the product.
Step 2: As soon as you secure it in position, find the positive and negative connections that are usually located at the back of the gauge. Ensure that these connections are attached accordingly, lest you want the meter to measure backwards.
Step 3: The voltmeter kit should come with a wire that will allow you to hook it up in your car's system. In case it doesn't, make sure you use a 16-gauge wire.
Step 4: Next, access the harness near your steering column by removing the bottom part of your car's dashboard. At this point, you should hook the connector to a wire that has power even when the key is off and doesn't drop to zero when the engine is engaged.
Step 5: After that, attach the negative connector of the voltmeter to a good ground and attach the positive connector afterwards.