How to test your  Silverado 1500‘s battery, step by step

How to test your Silverado 1500‘s battery, step by step

There are two ways to test the charging system:
A - Check the battery indicator (not all batteries have one)
B - Use a regular multimeter

A. How to check the battery indicator of your Silverado 1500

Some batteries have a colored indicator that shows you if they have enough power. Like this, if you look closely at the element highlighted in the picture, you can see that if its color is green, that means that the battery charge level is correct, and if it is red, it is not properly charged.

If your battery does not have this function, you should keep on reading to see in what other way you can check its status.

B. How to use a multimeter to check the status of your Silverado 1500‘s battery

  1. Get the car ready: To check the voltage of the battery, the engine of your Silverado 1500must always be turned off. If the engine is on, you should turn it off and let it rest for at least 5 minutes so that its electric charge stabilizes. In both cases, you should turn the headlamps on for 30 seconds and then turn them off. This will get rid of small voltages which may produce wrong readings.
  2. Get the multimeter ready: To adjust the multimeter you must turn the selector up to the option that reads 20 V. In that way, it will be placed in the measurement scope you need.
  3. Measure your Silverado 1500‘s battery while the engine is off: After you turn the multimeter on, connect the red probe to the positive terminal (+) of the battery, which is usually marked in red color too, and then connect the black probe to the negative terminal (-). If these terminals are dirty, you should scratch them softly with the tip of the multimeter until metal and metal can touch.

    The multimeter will display the “available voltage” of the battery. If the battery is in a good state, the multimeter should show a reading between 12 and 13 volts.
  4. Measure the starting voltage of your Silverado 1500: With the tips of the multimeter in the same position, and without breaking contact, we must turn the engine on and check how much the voltage drops when the engine starts. In other words, when we twist the ignition key. For this step, someone else should help you out. The multimeter should show a reading higher than 9 V, and it will usually be between 9 and 11 volts.
  5. Check the alternator of your Silverado 1500
  • With the tips of the multimeter in the same position and with the engine on, the multimeter should show a reading between 13.2 and 14.8 volts.
  • Now we must turn on all the electrical accessories of the car: lights, air conditioner, defogger, etc. The multimeter should still be between the aforementioned range.
  • The next test is to accelerate until the engine is at 3,000 RPM without turning the electrical accessories off. The multimeter should still show a reading between the aforementioned ranged.
  • Lastly, accelerate and turn all the electrical accessories off. The multimeter should still show the same reading.

Measurements conclusions of your

If during this measurement process the voltage went up outside the mentioned range, the voltage regulator must be damaged.

If this increment was below the range, the alternator is probably damaged.

To sum it up: What should you measure to check the charging system of your Silverado 1500?

What kind of battery should you buy if it malfunctions?

Batteries cannot be repaired, so if these measurements were different than the recommended ones, you should buy a new one.

You should take into account the electrical characteristics stated in the owner's manual. If you read your manual, you will be able to see which capacity and power your Silverado 1500needs to start. If there is an emergency, you should buy the same battery your car already had. Afterward, when you have time, you can check which battery is required according to your car’s manufacturer.

⚠️ You should always buy batteries that were manufactured no more than 6 months ago, because they work with chemical processes, and there will always be internal wear with time which will decrease its lifespan. You can check the fabrication date on the battery tag.

Recommendation for liquid batteries: Nowadays, most of the batteries are sealed and do not require any maintenance, but if the battery of your Silverado 1500includes filler caps, you should check its liquid level and, if it is low, add liquid up until the indicated level. In this case, you should let the battery rest for 10 minutes and then turn the engine on for 5 minutes, turn it off and check again.

How does the charging system of your Silverado 1500 work?

The charging system provides energy to the whole car, and it is composed of:

  • The alternator
  • The voltage regulator
  • The battery

The alternator

The alternator creates electricity. This cylindric item transforms mechanical energy into electrical energy. Thanks to the accessory belt, also called Poli-V, it receives the mechanical movement of the engine that will be transformed into electrical energy.

The voltage regulator

The voltage regulator is in charge of regulating and stabilizing the voltage created by the alternator while taking into account that the higher the rotational speed is, the higher the voltage created by the alternator will be. This device is a small electrical module that is inside the alternator itself.

The battery

The battery is where the generated electrical energy is stored to be used when the engine is off or when the required electricity levels are very high, for example, when we turn the car on.

The electrical system of a car is measured in volts (V), just like in homes, but, unlike these, the voltage used in batteries only has 12 V of continuous current, which makes it safer to handle. In other words, there is no risk of getting shocked if we touch the terminals of the battery.

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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 problems: how to test the battery


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