Maintaining your car battery will make it last much longer. Many drivers only drive their cars for short distances, and this means that the car uses more energy from the battery than the alternator can produce.
You may end up with an empty battery when you least expect it. The good news is that you can prevent this by using a car battery charger.
There are two different charging situations. Either you want to keep your battery charged, or you need to charge it quickly because your car won’t start. There are several larger chargers that allow you to start your car a few minutes after connecting the charger.
The other situation is that you want to maintain your battery or charge the car following a drained battery.
How to charge a car battery the best way
The best way to charge a car battery is slowly. Faster charges will damage the battery over time. Luckily, newer smart car battery chargers will handle the charging themselves and you can focus on other things.
These chargers use active monitoring to charge your battery in the most efficient way. You can have them connected 24/7 if you want. When the battery is fully charged, they stop charging it. You can mount the charger on your vehicle and simply connect it at home to charge the battery continuously. You will greatly reduce the chance of a dead battery!
There are a lot of affordable chargers available that will allow you to save money quickly instead of constantly buying new batteries (which are more expensive than a charger). You can get a good charger that does the job for you starting at $30. The type of car charger you should have depends heavily on the size of the battery in your car. But most normal size car chargers will do the job for all car batteries (12 volts).
One car charger that I can really recommend for universal use is the CTEK Battery Charger Link to Amazon.
You can’t go wrong with this charger. It is protected against reverse polarity and you only have to plug it in and it will do all the work for you. It charges your car battery in 8 stages until it is fully charged.
Note that this car charger is 4.3A and it is a trickle charger. It will take some time to fully charge your battery. If you are looking for a charger that will start your car faster, you can look at the larger models like CTEK Battery Charger Link on Amazon. This is a professional tool that I use in my work as a mechanic to charge customer cars when they are in the workshop. It costs a bit more, but if you are looking for a quick charger, this is the charger you want.
How to charge your battery with these chargers
Charging with these chargers is really easy. First, you need to find your battery, it is most likely under your bonnet or at the bottom of the trunk. See the repair manual for further instructions. Note that some car models may have two batteries and they may not be connected together. Many times I have taken cars to garages that do not start even after they have said they have charged the battery. The problem is that they have charged the wrong battery. These cars usually use one battery for some electronics and one battery for the starting function in a car.
Look for a “+” sign on the battery, connect the red terminal from the charger to it. Connect the black terminal to the “-” sign on the battery.
Connect the charger to the wall and follow the instructions for starting the charger.
Is it best to charge my battery slowly or quickly?
The slow charging of a car battery is best. A fast charge makes it less durable and may even damage the battery. Normally a rate of 4 amps, like the first charger I mentioned, is a good charge rate for all types of car batteries.
How long time does it take to charge an empty car battery?
How long it takes to charge an empty car battery depends on the size of the battery and the power of your car battery chargers. If you want to learn more about charging times, you should take a look at this article: How long time does it take to charge a dead car battery?
Do I have to fill up my battery first?
Yes, if you have an older battery, you should refill the battery before recharging. Most newer batteries are sealed and you cannot refill them. When the battery water runs out, you will need to buy a new battery.
If you have an older battery, you can remove the cover and check if you need to refill it. You should fill it with distilled water. Do not use normal tap water; it may work, but it may damage your battery.
Can I charge my battery connected to the vehicle?
Yes, you can charge it when it is connected to the battery if you have a modern car charger. Old car chargers can produce voltage spikes that can damage the electronics, but newer chargers do not.
Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. I have been working with cars for 10 years, specialized in diagnostics and troubleshooting. I created this blog because I was tired of finding false information on the web while looking for repair information. I hope you enjoy my content!