When the tester's clamps are placed on the battery, it automatically displays the battery's voltage.
The tester analyzes that the new battery has 574 CCA, slightly higher than its 560 CCA rating.
This identically sized battery looks good at first glance.
Unlike the new battery, this bad battery quickly dips below 9V and steadies itself out around 7.7V.
The Associated load tester heats up, allowing it to accurately determine how the battery would react in real-world conditions.
Even though the sight glass on this battery is green for "good," the battery is so bad it does not even register a CCA rating.
Maverick Mejia, a technician at Car Clinic, an auto repair facility in Mahopac, NY., is the go-to guy for oil changes, state inspections and other quick jobs when the customer typically waits.
He is used to testing batteries with a multimeter, but starting the vehicle up and resetting the min/max three times can be time-consuming. When he was given the Associated 6033 handheld digital 125 Amp Load Tester, he was at first skeptical.
“The old way we tested batteries was spot on,” says Mejia. “You turn the engine over three times and if the minimum voltage continues to dip, especially below 9V, you have a bad battery. It is fool-proof.
“That being said, I like the Associated load tester. It is the quickest way to figure out whether the battery is good or bad. I use it every oil change.”
Mejia grew confident in the tester because when he had the time, he would verify his testing results with other tools.
“This is a real quick test and it gives an accurate CCA that you can compare to the battery,” says Mejia. “It is very frustrating when you deal with an OE battery without a CCA rating with different testers, but if the tool asks you to input CCA, you can usually get an idea by what group number battery the vehicle actually takes. However, that takes too much time.
"With this tool, you don’t have to know the exact CCA and you have a fairly good idea if a battery is good or not.”
Mejia came up with a roundabout way of deciding if a battery is bad, but he admits “a lot of this depends on the vehicle.”
Using the 6033, Mejia says, “You know it’s a bad battery if the minimum voltage dips below 10V (when applying the load). If the starting voltage is below 10V, watch out.
"Also, bad batteries tend to be about 65 percent below their original CCA rating. Anything below 350 CCA on most batteries becomes suspect. If they’re really bad, they say ‘LO.’”
When asked if there was anything that needed improvement, Mejia mentions that “the clamps are beefy and it makes it hard to test GMs with side terminal batteries.”
“I like that it is made in America,” Mejia says. “My boss likes that it is a quick way to sell batteries. It does a good job.”