Why is my voltmeter reading negative?

I went to check my car’s new battery and was using a voltmeter. I followed the instructions but the display kept showing a negative voltage. However, I know that the battery is not dead because I can still turn my car on. Why is the voltmeter reading negative for my battery?

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Answer provided by
Annette Maxon
Answered on Apr 28, 2022
That does seem strange! When it comes to voltmeters, there are a few things that could result in a negative reading.
First, check to see if you’re correctly measuring the battery—the plus and minus poles should be measured using the corresponding ends of the voltmeter. If you have them reversed, you’ll likely receive a negative reading.
The negative reading may indicate that your battery is bad, even if recently replaced. You’ll find that this is the case if you consistently find the charge starting at 12.5 volts before quickly dropping, and remaining, below 8 or 9 volts. This can be a sign that you need a new battery.
Finally, the third and rarest reason behind a negative reading may be a polarity reversal—this phenomenon occurs when the battery’s electric charges reverse, just as the name suggests.
Don’t be shy to take your car into the auto repair shop if you’ve tried replacing the battery and keep experiencing the negative voltmeter reading.
In the meantime, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have the car insurance needed to help cover the labor fees potentially associated with the repair. You’ll have this coverage if you opted to include towing and labor coverage as part of your policy.
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