How to recharge a car battery

How to recharge a car battery

The function and purpose of a car battery charger ➤ How to charge a car battery ➤ What to do when car battery is drained ✅

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your car refuses to start? Perhaps you parked somewhere well hoping to come back and get your car in a good condition only to realize it does not start as expected.

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If your car refuses to start, it might be simply because the battery is dead. This may be a result of variety of reasons. These reasons include:

● You left your headlights on for too long.

● You must have installed some electric accessories like system players and LCD screens that excessively consume the power.

● Fault in the charging system of your car.

What do you do when any of these situations happens? Well, you cannot go back and undo what has happened. Probably the most effective of getting out of the situation is charging the battery.

If this problem continues to occur, you would prefer checking on the local mechanic to help you detect what could be the possible problem. This is because the car battery is build to last for a period of 4 to 6 years. But if at all you can notice leakage of corrosion, then a new battery would be ideal

1. The function and purpose of a car battery charger

Understanding the role that the battery charger has to play in the car battery has everything to do with the process. In a more simple term, what is battery charger? What role does it play in the car battery:

This is the component in your car that recharges the battery after each use.

It provides a constant electric flow. They ensure that the battery stays in the correct voltage through the charging process. They supply approximately 12 volts to the car and store the rest to be used when starting the car.

Now, you don’t need to be worried about the battery running out while you are driving. The charger automatically charges the battery when the engine is running. There is more than one type of battery charger out there in the market. So it’s important to the best type of battery charger for your car battery.

Typically a home charger contains a simple transformer and rectifier. This piece is vital in turning the high voltage AC into 12 volts of direct current. If the battery is in good working condition, you get an output of 3-6 amps from the home charger.

Other companies have installed advanced systems and autocharge functionality in their battery products. What is important is getting a car battery charger that gives your battery the power to start your engine.

2. How to charge a car battery: Preliminary

Before you start charging your car battery you first need to inspect it and prepare it for charging. This is necessary because it will help you identify if the battery has any issues that need to be addressed before you start charging it.

You will first have to check the terminals to ensure that they are actually clean. If you notice any Sulphur deposits on the terminals, you should remove them as they contribute to inefficient flow of current. Notice that in some cases, the actual problem is not as big as we might want to believe it might be all about the Sulphur deposits on the terminals of the car battery.


You need to have a pair of safety goggles. This is an important tool besides having the car battery charger itself. Apart from that, you might also need rubber gloves, baking soda, water and a piece of cloth.

You need to understand that cleaning the car battery terminals is not an easy task. You need to have all the necessary protective gear. The battery acid is usually corrosive, and thus any kind of direct exposure to it might severely damage your skin as well as other parts of your body.

By having safety goggles to protect your eyes, rubber gloves for the hands and a good jacket you are now ready to check if the battery has any problem that needs to be addressed.

Check your battery thoroughly:

It is also necessary to first check the battery to ensure that there is no any kind of leakage. As a matter fact, as you check the battery, you might notice some form of smoke, which is a clear indication that the battery needs an immediate attention. The moment you establish that your battery has got issues, it becomes quite easy to walk through all the other processes.

Read instructions carefully:

Each battery comes with a manual to give you instructions and directions to take when handling the battery. On this manual, you will also be able to learn more about the battery of the car. Remember that some of the cars have auto-shut off which needs quick charging or a manual shut-off that needs slow charging.

You are now ready to begin charging:

Now that you have inspected and made sure everything is ready, you should prepare to start using the charger. Take caution the distance between the terminal and the battery. Do not keep them too close, it could damage the terminals.

Before you start charging, you need to first remove the battery caps to allow the gas inside the battery to escape. The next thing to do is to identify the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Usually, the red cap, which has a plus sign shows the positive terminals. The negative terminal on the other hand is represented by black cap which has a negative sign. Be sure to attach the jumper clamp right. The positive battery terminal should connect with the positive one on the jumper clamp and the negative respectively.

Now plug the charger and turn it on.

3. How long does it take to charge a car battery?

This is a question most people ask because they want to know how much time they will have to wait. A standard battery takes about 24 hours to charge. However, it all depends on the status of your battery at the time you connect to a charger.

But note that your main reason for charging the battery is to just startup the car and hit the road. For this reason, the time you need to charge the battery is way too less than when you want to fully charge the battery.

It is just like charging your phone. It can take about 15 minutes before you have enough power to make a call. A car battery also needs a few hours before you start again.

It is quite easy to learn how to charge the battery. You don’t need to go to a garage. Those who aren’t aware a car battery life often consider changing the battery too soon, without considering charging first.

4. What to do when car battery is drained?

In some instances, you might realize that your car battery is too drained that the charger does not help much. Therefore, learning what to do when car battery is completely down can help you out of a difficult situation. The best way to get drained car battery to start is to ‘jump start’.

Jump start the battery:

Step 1: You need another vehicle with a fully charged battery to help you in such a situation. Park the vehicles near each other, with their fronts facing one another. They should be close enough to utilize minimal space. For automatic transmission, set the gear to parking, and neutral for a manual car. The last thing you want is either of the vehicles moving without your expectation.

Step 2: Turn off both vehicle’s engines. Keep the parking brakes on and ensure that the wheels are completely locked.

Put the jumper cable on the ground with the clamps set far from each other.

Attaching the jumper cables

Open the hood of both cars. Now locate the batteries and the battery terminals of the cars. Check for the red terminals/ + signs and the - sign. Make sure you identify the right signs, positive to positive and negative to negative. It is important to get this distinction right for a successful jump. Wipe the battery terminal clean if they are covered in dirt.

Step 3: Attach the red terminal clamp to the positive terminal on the depleted battery

Be sure of the positive cable clamp connects respectively to the battery terminal. Wiggle the clamps a bit but not thoroughly since you might disconnect them; this is to hold them properly. This way you can be sure of a solid connection that will not fall off.

Step 4: Attaching the other red clamp. Now that one red, positive clamp is attached on one side, attach the other positive cable to the functioning positive (+) terminal of your battery. You are now almost through with the process.

Step 5: Connect the negatives

The black, negative cable clamps should be connected to the battery terminals next. It is important to connect the positive ones first before connecting the negatives.

Step 6: You can now attach the partnered black clamp to a clean nut

An unsafe jump will affect the performance of your battery. Hence, it’s not advisable to connect the negative cable to the dead battery. Instead, find an unpainted metal part of the car, like a clean nut in the engine.

Now you are ready to charge the battery

Charging the battery may take several hours before fully picking.

Step 7: Start the other vehicle and allow it to run for a few seconds

If the battery has been down for quite some time, you may give it some extra time to pick power. On the other hand, you may allow the working vehicle like 5 minutes or so to pick power if the battery was not drained for long.

Step 8: Now start the dead vehicle

Try starting the car, it should work now. Sometimes it may still fail to start. In that case, give the charging car some more time to charge then attempt to start again. If it still does not work, consider reviving the engine of the car. This may help charge the dead battery better.

Step 9: Disconnecting the jump clamp

The dead battery should be working now. Another common mistake people make comes when disconnecting the cables. Do not be too fast in disconnecting the battery because you may cause the clamps to touch each other. Start with the negatives then next proceed to the positives.

Step 10: Drive around shortly

You can now take a short drive around your estate. This is to allow the battery to build up charge. The vehicle alternator needs to charge as well so that they don’t die again.

5. What if the jump still doesn’t work?

If the battery fails to startup the car, or starts and cuts off again, there might be other problems with your car. Identify what other problems might be affecting your car and try to handle them separately. Most batteries can last 4-6 years.

Check if the battery is too old and replace it with a better one. If the battery looks in a good condition, check other components like fuses, corrosion, faulty alternator, and ignition switch and starter connection. If you have, or still fail to figure out the issue, then you may have to call your local mechanic to check it out for you.

6. Your battery can’t hold charge?

You may be able to successfully jumpstart the vehicle and get to your destination. But you experience the same problem next time you want to start the engine – clicks, sputter and all others signs of a dead battery.  That may mean the battery cannot hold the charge for long. And there are many reasons that may lead to this, among them are the following;

● The lights being left on for too long

● The battery was not recharging when you were driving

● You didn’t charge the car enough

● Could be some electrical drain

● Worn battery.

How do you test your battery?

● Turn on your headlights. If they are normal in brightness, the battery is fit. You only need to check your wiring.

● Use a voltmeter to test the voltage of your battery.  Look for a voltage of 12v or so.

● Check the condition of your battery and change if it is too old. If it looks corroded, replace it.

● Check the alternator. If the problem originates from the alternator cables, jumpstarting won’t be effective.

While it is important to know how to charge a car battery by yourself, it helps to know how to keep your battery in good condition. This will help you avoid the many challenges that come with charging or jumpstarting your car. To keep your car in good shape, you have to ensure that you get the services of a professional for maintenance purposes.

In most cases, cars are exposed to some of these risks during extreme weather conditions. In order to avoid such risks lime your battery being depleted, you can have a garage for your car. And you don’t need to build a complicated one, which might be expensive for nothing. With just simple tools, you can build your car a nice shade where you can put it during some of these weather conditions. You can also cover the car with an insulated blanker.

Now you can keep your car battery in a good condition and solve any issues that arise from it. I hope this article has been helpful.


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