How To Use A Car Battery Charger: Everything You Need To Know

It might not seem like the most important piece of equipment inside your car, but your battery ensures you stay on the road. From turning the engine on, to providing power for your lights and vents, your car battery is an essential item under the bonnet. Therefore, knowing how to use a car battery charger is essential. 

Something as simple as accidentally leaving your lights on or even a cold weather spell can leave your battery flat. If you find your battery is struggling to turn over and there’s no one available to help jump start you, you might find yourself needing to learn how to use a car battery charger.

There are things you need to consider before charging your car battery using a battery charger

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to charge a car battery using a battery charger. Keep on reading to find out more!

Finding The Right Charger

There are various types of car battery chargers. So the first thing to do is research which one is suitable for your battery. 

Many chargers are available for between £40 and £60. However, you can spend as little as £25. Or as much as £100 if you want.

Once you have found the right charging model, familiarise yourself with it. Not every model is the same. So read the instruction manual to avoid any surprises when it comes to charging.

How To Use A Battery Charger For Your Car

If you already know how to use a car battery charger using another car, you will be familiar with connecting your charger to your battery. Although the process is slightly different.

For those worried about how to use a car battery charger at home, do not worry, we’ve got you covered.

It’s worth noting that while you can remove your car’s battery to charge it, you can also recharge it while it remains in place. This is particularly useful if you aren’t confident about removing your battery yourself.

Before you connect your charger to the car’s battery, we recommend taking a look at the positive and negative terminals on the unit. If there are any signs of corrosion or dirt, it’s best to clean the terminals to ensure the charger works effectively.

Once you are happy your terminals are clean. It’s time to connect the charging cables to the battery. However, ensure your charger isn’t plugged into the wall before connecting the charging cables.

To begin, connect the red wire, which is positive, to the corresponding terminal on your battery. As the red is positive, you will be looking for a terminal or post with a ‘+’ marked on it.

Once your red lead is connected, take the black cable and find the terminal marked ‘-‘. This is your negative terminal. Which will complete your circuit and allow you to charge your battery safely.

Setting The Charger

Now that your circuit is complete, it’s time to put your charger into action. The charger will require you to set the volts and amps. These settings vary depending on your needs.

A low amperage slowly charges your car’s battery using a trickle method.

This is typically the best and most effective way to charge your battery. However, you will need plenty of time on your hands. Commonly, this charging method can take 12 hours before completion.

If you are in a hurry, or you just want to jump-start your car, a high amperage setting will be required.

Time To Charge

Once you are happy with the setting on your charger, it’s time to plug it in and let it do its thing. It’s best to leave it alone now until it’s fully charged. 

Your battery charger should have an indicator that lets you know when the battery is ready to go.

Some chargers even have a timer function on them. Meaning you don’t have to worry about overcharging. This feature is particularly useful when charging your battery slowly. Perhaps overnight.

If you are charging your battery while it is still connected to your car, we recommend checking that all electrics are off. Even something as innocuous as an interior light due to an open door may be draining the battery. So ensure nothing is left on.

Disconnecting The Battery Charger

Knowing how to use a battery charger on a car is one thing. But you must also ensure you can disconnect it safely. When you are satisfied that your battery is charged, you’ll be looking to drive your car once again.

Your first step to getting back on the road is to unplug your charger from the wall.

Once the power supply has been removed, you must disconnect the red and black cables from the battery in the opposite order that you connected them.

This means you will be removing the black cable from your battery first. Followed by the red cable. Failing to do so could provide a nasty shock.

Your battery should have received the charge it so desperately needed. And it’s now time to turn the engine on. Once you know how to charge a battery using a battery charger, you can be confident that a flat battery isn’t going to hold you back again.

If you find that your car is still not starting, your battery may be completely exhausted. Or, there may be a deeper-lying issue. In this instance, we recommend having a mechanic take a look at your vehicle. Rather than charging your battery all over again.

Additional Information

If your car has start/stop technology, a regular battery charger won’t be up to the job. Instead, you will require a ‘smart’ charger. These chargers are not necessarily any more expensive than conventional ones. But it’s important to ensure you have the correct one for your battery.

Do not cover your battery while it is being charged. Batteries give off hydrogen gas while being recharged. Particularly with a high voltage. 

Keep the area around the battery-free from obstruction. Additionally, always keep your charger at a safe distance from the car battery.

It’s important to realise that batteries do not last forever. Using a charger might extend the life of a battery. But, there will come a time when it can no longer hold a charge.

Unfortunately, the only thing to do at that stage is to bite the bullet and invest in a new battery.

To summarise, when considering how to use a car battery charger, these are the main 6 steps that you need to follow:

  • Check what kind of battery your vehicle has
  • Check the terminals
  • Disconnect your car battery
  • Connect the charger
  • Turn on the charger
  • Leave until fully charged

We hope this guide has helped instruct you on how to use a car battery charger confidently. Good luck with your travels!

Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more articles on our blog. Including How To Use Jump Leads On A Car or How To Use A Multimeter.

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