The battery is one of the most crucial components of your car. Despite the critical role the battery plays, it’s often overlooked. We only remember that the vehicle has a battery and could be having an issue when the car fails to start.
Funny enough, the battery sits there, doing its job, deteriorating until it finally serves its time and bows out. The failure of your battery can happen at the worst time, and it would be best to stay prepared. That’s why reading battery codes is essential. We’ll let you know how to do it.
Reading Battery Codes Using Scanner
Code scanners are truly magical! If you have the right Ancel scanner in your hands, you will smoke out real issues in your car and you’ll be surprised by how effective it can be. One of the roles it can play is to pull codes about your battery. If the battery has an issue, the check engine light will likely turn on.
A scanner will help you know whether your car is drivable or not. For the battery issue, a scanner will help you understand whether your battery has an issue and needs replacing. It will protect you from a damaged battery catching you off-guard. You’ll know beforehand that the battery is headed towards its end, and you can start shopping for a new battery and replace it to prevent a dramatic experience.
Many scanners are available in the market, from low-budget to mid-range and high-end for professionals. The high-end ones can do everything within the functionality of the OBD2. Most mid-range can pull codes on the condition of your battery. However, when it comes to low-budget scanners, their capabilities are limited. Here’s how to pull codes from your battery using a scanner.
How to Pull the Codes
Step 1: Locate the OBD Port in Your Car
In most cars, the port is usually under the dash on the driver’s side. In some vehicles, it can be under the steering wheel. In other cars, it can be on the passenger’s side or center console. If you still have difficulty finding the port, check your owner’s manual or online.
Step 2: Plug in the Code Reader
Plug in the other end of your code reader into the OBD port. If you use a Bluetooth scanner, plug the module into the OBD port.
Step 3: Turn on the Ignition
Turn on the ignition to idle mode. Don’t start the engine. This is to power the code reader. Also, this is where you pair the module with your smartphone if you are using a Bluetooth scanner.
Step 4: Read Codes
The code reader will turn on and pull out all codes from your car, including trouble codes related to your car’s battery. The trouble codes describe your battery health, charging system status, and starter.
Step 5: Interpret the Codes
The battery falls under the powertrain’s ignition branch in your car. Also in the powertrain are the engine, transmission, and emissions. You’ll get a code with P0***, the “*” directing you to the real issue. The information on what the codes mean is available online. If you are using an advanced scanner, it will explain the error to you.
Learn more: What is the best code reader for cars?
Warnings That Your Battery has an Issue
A dying battery will provide low voltage, which might not be enough for your car’s ignition. Your car’s computer will pick and generate the error of a low-voltage battery. It will trigger two types of alerts, namely;
Check engine light
Battery charge warning light
What should you do if one of these pops up?
Check Engine Light
The check engine comes in two forms. It either blinks or flashes or stays solid and steady, depending on the severity of the issue. To resolve these issues, reset the battery terminals or use the OBD2 scanner to clear the codes. You might also have to replace the phone.
A yellow or orange and steady CEL means the problem is not severe. It’s okay to keep driving, but you need to have the issue checked as soon as possible. If you keep driving, the battery’s condition will worsen without you noticing. It’s essential to plug in your OBD2 scanner to find what the problem with your battery could be.
A flashing CEL on your dash signifies a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. It could be with your battery. If you see this kind of alert, pull over, turn off your car, and call for a tow truck. It would perhaps be a serious issue with your battery, but you’ll be glad you acted on time to prevent extensive damage.
Battery Charge Warning Light
When this light pops up, it indicates a malfunctioning battery or charging problem. The battery charge warning turns on if the charging voltage is lower than 13.5 volts. It’s advisable to check with a professional before spending money buying ne parts or a new battery.
Test your car’s battery to identify any faults or connection issues. Any fault in your battery will cause low voltage, triggering the car’s computer to turn on the CEL. When you take your vehicle to the mechanic, they will test your battery’s voltage using the battery tester. That’s before they pop in the scanner and read the trouble codes.
Why do Batteries Get Damaged
Under normal conditions, your car battery will last three to five years. Cheaper batteries hardly make it past two years. Your battery charges when your engine is running then discharges slowly when your car's engine is not running. Extreme temperatures also factor into the deterioration of your battery. However, after checking it, your mechanic will advise you whether you need to replace the battery.
When you have the right scanner and a battery tester, a battery problem is not something to worry about. Ancel has several scanners you can use to detect battery-related issues through the OBD. They also have a battery tester – the Ancel BA101, which works on all car batteries. It performs bad cell tests and analyzes everything about your 12-volt battery, including the battery life, charge, voltage and starting power. Visit the Ancel store and order a scanner and a battery tester.