How to Check My Dodge RAM 1500 Batteryby Arthur Barnhouse
Most Dodge Ram 1500 pickups come from the manufacturer equipped with a maintenance-free battery. Therefore, when examining your battery to ensure that it is still functional, you will not be able to check the water/electrolyte level of the battery. Otherwise, checking your Ram’s battery is fairly simple, requiring only a small amount of time, one or two basic tools and just a smidgeon of mechanical ability. Once you’ve checked the battery, you can feel confident knowing that your truck won’t let you stranded when you need it most.
Turn your Ram’s ignition off completely, as well as any accessories that may be on, such as the radio and lights. Then open the hood of your pickup and prop it open.
Locate the battery. Exact locations will vary depending on the year of your Ram 1500. Most, however, will be on the driver’s side, above the mid-point of the inner fender well. Remove the plastic cover from the top of the battery (if your truck has one). Also remove the plastic guard covering the positive terminal (again, not all 1500s will have a guard).
Clean the battery terminals if they are dirty or have a layer of corrosion. Dirty terminals could drain your battery and negatively affect the test. Use a post and terminal cleaning tool to brush the terminals until the metal appears shiny and clean.
Place the positive probe of your voltmeter on the battery’s positive terminal and then the negative probe to the negative terminal. Positive terminals are usually marked red and have a plus sign. Negative terminals are black and have a minus sign next to them.
Read the display on your voltmeter. If your Dodge Ram’s battery shows a reading of less than 12.4 or 12.5 volts, then the battery does not have a full charge and may be in need of replacement. You can also conduct further testing in order to confirm whether the battery is bad.
Recharge the battery using a battery charger or by taking your Dodge Ram out for a 30-minute drive (this will allow the alternator to recharge the battery). If recharging with a battery charger, you must ensure you hook the positive clamps to the positive terminal and negative clamps to the negative terminal and allow the battery to recharge until it is full. Also, ensure the clamps have a good connection.
Allow your Ram 1500 to sit for about one day after the battery is fully charged. Do not run the truck or use any of its accessories during this time.
Check the battery again using your voltmeter. If the battery gives another reading below 12.4 – 12.5 volts, then you definitely have a problem. If you used a charger to recharge the battery, then the battery needs replaced. If you used your truck’s alternator to recharge the battery, you could need either the alternator and/or battery replaced.