How to Charge An Automotive Battery: Detail Guide

According to mechanics, your car’s battery should last 49 months. Well during this time, there are a few moments when you will be forced to charge your battery first before the care starts.

The truth is, if you use the best methods to charge the battery, it will serve you for a more extended period. If you are like most people, you are using your car for short distance drives. This means that the battery is not getting recharged because the engine is not running long enough to charge it.

What many drivers do is to jump-start the car. Well, this is not the right way to charge your vehicle. This will also drain more battery than the alternator can produce. Therefore the battery will end up dying.

With proper charging techniques, you can prevent this premature battery death and keep your car happy. Here are some of the best methods to use when charging your battery.

Fast charging

There are two types of charging situations. Sometimes you want your car to charge fast because it is not starting right now, and sometimes you want to charge it, so it remains at a healthy charge range.

Well, if you are in a hurry and want to charge it fast, buy a portable jump-started. Some are small but are powerful and can start your car within seconds. This method should, however, be done with care. Keep in mind that most cars can take damage to any jump-starts. Ensure that the jumper starter is right because voltage spikes and wrong wiring's will lead to some costly horror stories.

But if you genuinely want to avoid the risk and maintain your battery, you need to use other methods that will charge your battery, especially during the cold seasons.

Charge your car battery

Use a trickle charger

This is a device that delivers electricity to the power outlet of the battery in a slow but steady stream. When you do not need to charge your battery too fast, this is the way to go. With a slow charger, the battery will hold the charge for longer and thus be in a better condition to serve you longer.  This will come with an electric cord that has a plug and two jumper cables with alligator clips.

Prepare the car for charging

Once you have chosen the right method for your battery, you must prepare your vehicle for the charging process. Keep in mind that you should never touch the terminals if they are covered in a whitish powder. This is dried sulfuric acid, and it can burn you pretty badly if you touch it with your bare hands. Use sandpaper pads to wipe off the powered from the terminals. Alternatively, you can apply a layer of baking soda to a wet cloth and use it to wipe off the sulfuric acid. Ensure the solution does not get in contact directly with the wet cloth or your fingers. Rub it down until it is completely clean and ready to receive the wires.

Remove the cap cells

Most batteries will come with a series of small caps that are called cell caps. These need to be removed before you can charge the battery. These can either be at the top or under the yellow strip of the batteries. If they are under the yellow strip, you will have to peel it out to access them. In some rare cases, your batteries may not even have the cell caps. Removing these caps ensures that the gasses that are produced during charging escape into the atmosphere.


Attach the charger cables

Ensure that the car is turned off before you attach the charging cables. Then, attach the wires to the battery terminals. There will be two wires to connect to the battery. The red one will have to be connected to the red terminal, which is the positive terminal. If this terminal is not red, it may be labeled POS. The other cable will go to the other terminal, which is often marked NEG. Keep these cables as separate from each other as possible to prevent fires, and other severe accidents like explosions because of the hydrogen gas produced.

Turn the charger on

Once you have connected both ends of the charger and the electric outlet, it is time to start the charging process. Turn on the current from the charger, and the battery will charge itself. You can leave the charger overnight. In the morning, turn it off and check the reading. If the reading is less than an ampere, you can unplug it. You can also choose to charge it during the day so you can keep an eye on the charging levels. Remember that just like your phone, overcharging your battery could cause more harm than good.  Keep in mind that the amount of time it will take to charge a dead car will depend on the size of the battery and the power of the battery chargers of your car. So if you are uncertain about how long it will take, keep checking after every few hours.

Test it out

After you charge the battery, you must test it to see if it works perfectly. You can either use a hydrometer to find the amount of electric energy therein or turn the engine. If after charging the battery does not turn on, perhaps it is time to get it replaced. Sometimes, the car will start but stall soon after. This is probably because if the alternator. But if it starts and continues to crank and even fails to run the car, it is an electrical issue. You may have to check air delivery and fuel levels.


Remember to steer clear of ode car chargers because they tend to have voltage spikes which end up damaging the battery. Instead, choose modern smart chargers that are made to protect your battery and allow it to serve you for a long time. If the car still has issues after you have charged it, get a professional mechanic to check it and find out what the problem could be.

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