4 Ways To Charge Your Car Battery

4 Ways To Charge Your Car Battery

From commuting to work, to running errands, you rely on your car to get around. Your car in turn relies on its battery, which feeds the starter and starts the engine. Ironically, as big a role as it plays; a car battery is the easiest part to “fix” in a car. Most batteries can go for up to 5 years without the need to recharge or replace it. But in the event that yours is drained, this article will take you through 4 different techniques that you can use to recharge your car battery with ease. 

How dead is your car battery? 

First, you need to establish just how much power you have. It will either be completely dead and the car won’t start or you can use a voltmeter to determine. First, set the voltmeter to the 12-volt margin. Then connect the clamps of the meter to the positive and negative terminals of your battery. If the voltage is below 12, then you need to recharge. A healthy battery reads 12.4 – 12.6 volts. Remember to do this while the car is off for an accurate reading. 

The urgency as well as just how low the charge is are what should determine which method of charging you opt for. 

CarKey Masters Tips:

Duration of charging will depend on the method, or charger as well as the battery

E.g. a 10 MPH charger will take about 5 hours minimum to charge a 50 MPH battery. 

Safety first. Wear gloves, just in case the battery fluid spills on you while handling the battery. Also, ensure you’re charging your battery in a properly ventilated space.  Lastly, ensure the car is off and key removed.

Identify the battery type and voltage. Should be written on the battery alternatively check your car manual or online.  You require this information in helping you pick a compatible battery charger.

There are types of batteries, Wet cell batteries, and VRLA batteries, which come in two types Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) or Gel Cell. 

Chargers differ. We have the old fashioned one which just like a phone charger you have to manually monitor to check when charging is complete. If you are using a manual charger you need to stay nearby so as to unplug it immediately charging is complete.

Digital chargers on the other hand are equipped with a microprocessor that monitors charging. Once charging is complete it automatically stops the charging process. This is safer and more efficient.

How to tell your battery is full, check the voltage. Fully charged battery is between 12.4- 12.6 Volts.

Ways To Charge Your Car Battery
Method 1. Jump-start your battery

This is the most common method because of how fast and convenient it is, especially in emergency situations. 

1.Get a car that runs and park it facing the car with a dead battery, at a distance where the jumper cables can reach both batteries. If the battery of one of the cars is in the trunk as opposed to the hood, then park it in a position that allows the jumper cables to connect to both cars. 

2. Take the keys out of the ignition for both vehicles

3. For each of the two vehicles find where the negative and positive terminals are on the battery. 

          Red terminal = positive 

          Black terminal = negative 

4. Jumper cable comes with two sets of clamps. Each set has a black and red clamp. 

5. Take one side of the jumper cable and plug the red clamp to the red terminal of the functional battery 

Note starting with the red terminal is safest. 

6. When it comes to clamping on the dead battery, only clamp the positive and find an alternate ground to clamp the negative into. This is to prevent chances of it sparking and possibly setting things on fire. Find a bare metal to clamp onto e.g. bolts 

7. Ensure the cables are not near any cooling fan 

8. Start the engine on the good battery, let it run for about 2 minutes  Then start the engine of the dead car 

9. Once the engine starts, move to the bonnet and remove the black terminal first, followed by the red terminal 

10. Then move to the good battery and remove the red cable, followed by the black cable. 

In the event that after the 2 minutes wait the dead car still won’t start up, give it another 5 minutes with the key out of the ignition, and maybe have the other person with the fully charged battery rave-up the engine to 2000 Mphms . If it still won’t start, check your connection, especially the ground.

Method 2. Using a trickle charger 

Trickle chargers are designed for batteries that don’t require too much charge, say if the battery is at a minimum of 8 volts. Anything lower than that will require a more powerful and faster-charging method. Trickle charging is ideal for easy long term battery maintenance as it takes a long time to fully charge a battery. E.g. On a car that is rarely used, trickle charge is a safety precaution in ensuring the car battery isn’t getting depleted.

How to  

1.Start with the black clamp of the charger, connect to  the negative terminal of the battery 

       Black terminal = negative 

2. Connect the red clamp of the charger  on the positive terminal of the battery 

Red terminal = positive 

3. Connect the clamp cable to the charger 

4. Plug  charger in Ac power 

5. Press MODE button to choose fast or slow charging ( this depends on the charger model) 

6. Press the type button to choose between SLA, AGM OR LION BATTERY (Battery type is indicated on your battery) 

7. You’ll notice it start to recondition charging 

Note never leave the charger on a metal surface, it can cause a reaction with the battery, leading to leakage

8. When fully charged, start by disconnecting the black clamp, then the red clamp.  

9. Finally, unplug from Ac power 

Method 3. Use a dedicated / portable charger. 

This method is similar to jump-starting a car, the only difference is you will be using a charger. The charger will also be stronger than a trickle charger and thus faster charging. If you have access to such a charger, these are the steps you should follow.

1.Ensure car and charger are off

2. Plug the red clamp to the red terminal of the battery 

3. Attach the black cable to a stable ground on the car or chassis 

4. Adjust the charging speed on the charger, either high or low 

5. Turn the charger on

6. Once charging is complete, start by removing the black clamp followed by the red clamp. 

Method 4. Troubleshooting 

This is the option you should go for if your car repeatedly has issues starting or charging. 

First, always make sure your lights are off before leaving/ parking the car. Headlights to dome lights are a big part of draining your battery. So always ensure that they are off.

Inspect your battery connection. What you are looking for is corrosion or loose connections. These can cause your battery to fail and interfere with charging. An easy way to solve this is by cleaning the terminals using sandpaper or baking powder and a wet cloth. 

Test the alternator. Check by starting your alternator and disconnecting the positive terminal of the battery. A proper functioning alternator produces enough power to keep the car running even without the battery. In the event that the car shuts off then you’ve found your problem. 

Check the water level. Low water levels can reduce a battery’s electricity. If the water level is low then you can use distilled water. Practice precaution, if you are unsure of how to go about this. Then call in a mechanic. 

In the event that you still can’t figure out what is wrong with your battery, contact CarKey Masters for professional car services.

We hope these tips come in handy the next time you need to charge your battery. Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments.

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