Do’s and Don’ts: 6 Things to Keep in Mind When Charging Your Car Battery

To say that batteries play an important role in today’s vehicles is truly an understatement. It’s that part of your vehicle that makes transportation fast and convenient, and it’s no good if its power barely alive.
Unfortunate circumstances can happen to any driver, both beginners and professionals. Luckily, you can avoid these situations by providing TLC to your car’s battery. There are things that you can do to keep the power source in good and working condition. One of which is learning how to properly charge it. And here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when charging.


1. Make it a Habit to Check the Power Status

Always check whether or not it needs charging, and if so, check the condition of the battery. This is to ascertain the condition of your car’s battery before you charge it.

Once you know how to properly charge your vehicle battery, and if everything looks okay, proceed to charging the battery. Make it a habit to do this at least once a month.

Train your senses to detect the difference between full and empty. You will eventually find it easy to tell, having experience. Your senses will tell you whether or not it needs charging. Aside from checking the battery’s power status, check the vehicle’s voltage and temperature to determine how well it is running.

Are the headlights functioning properly? Do you smell something burning? Is the temperature getting warmer than normal? If so, then you might want to get yourself a mechanic as soon as possible. These are problems that can affect the battery.

Also, it’s a good idea to have your battery checked at a certified auto shop every two to three years. However, check the battery after you have completed driving for an hour, or simply leave the car in idle for sometime. Unnecessary strain on your battery can cause damage to it.

By doing this, you can avoid the risk of damage to your car and the possibility of having to replace your battery. Checking the battery provides you with information that will allow you to keep your vehicle running, and prevent it from dying halfway through your trip.

Checking your battery also ensures that your vehicle will start in the morning, and that it will be ready for you to drive to work. If you know what to do when your battery is dead or just needs charging, then your vehicle can last a lot longer and give you a lot more service.

2. Always Inspect Terminal Clamps and Cables

Proper charging involves connecting the positive terminal (red) to the positive battery pole, then connecting the negative terminal (black) to the negative terminal on the battery.

Simply connecting these terminals will not charge your vehicle’s battery. You need to pay attention to other parts of this process, especially the condition and placement of your vehicle’s terminals.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the battery terminal clamps and cables should always be changed at least once a year. If they are not changed, then they can cause corrosion, shorting, and other undesirable occurrences.

To check for the condition of your terminals, check them down to the ends. Get down on your knees to inspect the components. You may be surprised by what you find when your inspection is done.

When you are connecting the connectors, make sure the clamps are tight. Don’t let them touch each other.

If you find any corrosion on the terminals and cables, then you should immediately replace them. Do not let even a tinge of corrosion appear.

You can also use wire brushes to clean your terminals and cables off. Simply put the wire brush inside your terminal and twist it back and forth until the brush becomes blunt due to constant scraping against the terminal’s metal surface.

Most equipment today have great safety protections against reverse polarity, however, you still have to remember to connect and disconnect the battery’s cables the correct way.

You will notice that when you connect the negative terminal first, then connect the positive terminal, your car will function properly. However, if you reverse this by connecting the positive terminal first, then you will experience issues with your car’s performance.

This doesn’t only prevent engine problems, it also prevents your battery from overcharging or sulfating.

If you want to prevent the overcharging of your battery, then connect it in the reverse order. You will notice that when you connect the positive terminal first, then connect the negative terminal, your car will function properly. This may be a little awkward at first, but with practice, you’ll get better at it.

Connecting these cables properly promotes good charging process, which consequently, helps prevent your battery from overcharging.

It also prevents sulfating, which is caused by the buildup of sulfuric acid on the top of the plates. Sulfuric acid can harden into crusty rocks on the battery’s plates over time, decreasing its performance and increasing its chances of dying prematurely.

Not only will this affect your car’s performance, it can also be hazardous to your health. These sulfuric rocks are notorious for causing skin irritation.

To prevent overcharging and sulfating from happening to your vehicle’s battery, always attach the terminals in the correct order. The same goes with disconnecting them.

3. Know How to Properly Use the Charger

Reading the manual of the unit of the charger you choose will help you to understand how it works, and what to do when charging your car’s battery.

You should also become familiar with a charge controller. With this device, you are able to regulate the output of the charger based on the voltage and current that is being sent by the battery, instead of just charging it full power all the time.

Another thing you should know is how to run a trickle charge, which is what you should do once your battery has been charged. While it is charging, make sure that the voltage and current are being regulated with the charge controller.

The voltage setting will indicate how much power you want to put into the battery, while the amperage setting will say how many amps of electricity will be sent into your battery.

When your battery has reached the appropriate voltage level, you can terminate the charge. Once you have terminated the charging process, then you can use a trickle charge for maintenance purposes.

The trickle charge will continue to feed power into your battery while it is resting. If not used right, it can cause overheating or more charging damage to your battery. The last thing you want is to cause damage to your car’s battery.

Take note that different models have different features.

You may want to consult a manual to find out the correct order of operation of your car’s charger. It is always best to read the instructions carefully before using any device, especially if you are not familiar with its operation.

If you are not sure about what to do, don’t use the charge. Make an appointment with your car’s mechanic instead. This way, you can still take good care of your car without getting into any trouble along the way.

Just because you already bought and used a charger before doesn’t mean that you will be able to use it properly whenever you want. If you are not sure about its operations, then do not use the charge.

Consult the manual and ask around until you can get a clear understanding of how to properly use it for your car’s battery. After doing this, then you can start using it in your car’s battery.

Also, the more you use your car’s battery, the more you go through the charging process too. That means you should be constantly learning about your charger. This can be time-consuming, but it is better than causing damage to your vehicle’s battery.

On another note, if you are going to use an automatic charger/maintainer, then be sure not to leave it on for too long. The charger might not turn off automatically once it senses that your battery is fully charged.

For you to maximize the function of the unit, you should have it turned on for short periods. When you leave your car, then make sure you turn off your charger before you go.

If not, your battery may be damaged by overcharging or sulfation. Once the battery is fully charged, disconnect it using the clamps and the correct cable that was attached.

Thus, you can maximize the charging effect of your charger. By doing this, you are able to prevent discharging damage that could lead to battery failure.

With the proper care and maintenance of your car’s battery, you can maximize its life while reducing chances of having a dead battery.

Follow the steps provided by the manufacturer and you should be able to prolong the life of your battery without needing to replace it.

However, there are some instances that even if you use the proper care and maintenance, your battery can still result in being defective.

If you have a problem with your battery, then you shouldn’t hesitate to buy a new one and replace the old one.

If the manual included in the package is not complete, then check the internet or ask a friend to help you. The manual might have left a few important tips out, which can be crucial in properly caring for your battery.

Consider doing this when the battery is still new, although it is also possible with old batteries too. You should continue to check your vehicle’s battery after a couple of years. Once you notice that you need a new one, then go ahead and get one.


1. Avoid Charging a Dead Battery

It’s not a good idea to try and charge a battery that has been dead for a long period of time before you can use it again.

A battery’s capacity to hold a full charge decreases the longer you leave it without being charged. If you try to start your vehicle, then there’s a chance that it will not start or the engine may not turn over.

Remember that voltage decreases as your battery ages too. You can’t start your vehicle if it has a low voltage, which means you can’t charge it.

Although the power can be restored to your vehicle, the use of a dead battery can shorten its life. Given that you are using a dead battery as an alternative source of power, it is best to just replace it with a new one.

The best time for this is when you buy your new car or truck. It is also a good idea to replace your battery when you purchase your new vehicle.

It’s very important to not try and put a battery that has been sitting for a long period of time back into use before you get it properly charged. You can do this with the help of an automatic trickle charger if you want to bring it back to life.

If you don’t have an automatic trickle charger, then you can connect a cable together with some jumper leads.

Aside from the fact that it takes a longer time to charge a dead battery, it is also possible that your vehicle’s engine might not work. This may be because of the low voltage, which won’t get enough power for your vehicle to start.

If you try and start a dead battery that has been sitting for more than a week, then there’s a good chance that your car will not respond.

If this happens to you, then take your vehicle to an auto shop or mechanic so they can check it out.

Another thing is that you could damage your battery while trying to start your vehicle. This could result in a burning smell or the battery might not be able to hold a full charge.

If you allow the battery to sit for a longer time, then it is also possible for the chemical composition of the battery to change and lead to an electrolyte imbalance. Your battery may also be damaged by sulfation.

Chargers have a certain capacity for charging different types of batteries. If your charger has a low capacity, then it might not be able to charge your battery if it is dead or damaged.

A lot of people always forget to turn off their vehicle when they finish charging, which could damage the battery for good.

The best way to charge a battery is to leave it on the charger overnight. Remember that you can use an automatic trickle charger or connect some jumper leads to your battery.

If you have a mobile charger, then it is recommended that you charge it at night when you are not using your vehicle. If you are going on a trip, then don’t forget to pack and charge your battery before you leave.

Keep the lead cells inside the unit in good condition. If you don’t, then they could be damaged and result in leakage. You can find a guide online about the right way to pack your lead cells so that they are safe and do not leak.

Another good way is to charge your battery with an automatic trickle charger or you can use a car jump starter, which has a very powerful battery. 

his will prevent the electrolyte from becoming depleted. It will also go into deep discharge mode and keep on charging the battery until it is fully charged.

Don’t make it work so hard because it will become hot.

Remember that using an automatic trickle charger or a car jump starter is better than leaving a battery sitting for a long period of time without being charged.

You should also not leave your battery charging for a longer period of time. This will cause the acid inside the cells to boil, which can cause leakage and damage your cells and terminals.

You should keep an eye on your battery while it’s charging so that you can know when it is fully charged and ready to be used again.

This is the key to maximizing your car battery’s life. You will have a vehicle that can last for years, which is why it is best to replace your battery as soon as you see the battery’s capacity to hold a full charge decrease.

With this in mind, you should replace the old one with a new one so that you will have a reliable and efficient way of starting up your vehicle.

The discharge and charge cycle is the most important when it comes to keeping your battery in good condition. You can find all the necessary information about this online or through your car’s manual.

In addition, you should not keep discharged batteries lying around your home for too long. This can cause leakage problems in the battery and reduce its effectiveness over time.

Be sure to take care of your vehicle’s battery at all times so that it will last longer and perform better.

2. Don’t Charge in Hot Places

Charging generates energy and this energy produces heat. Charging your battery in a hot area can reduce its lifespan because it will make it work very hard.

The ideal temperature for charging your battery is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you charge your battery in a cold place, then the electrolyte inside the battery could freeze. 

This means that you need to wait until it gets warmer before you can start charging it again.

There are some types of batteries that could stand the cold better than others. It is best to use these types if you are planning to go on a long trip.

If your car won’t start, then you should check and make sure that the battery is fresh and fully charged. Make sure that the temperature of the battery is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it’s not, then try charging it at home before using it again in your home or car.

This will extend its life span so that you can use it for a longer period of time without having to replace it.

Avoid overheating problems during the charging process so that you can avoid that the electrolyte inside the battery will boil and ruin it. If your battery is overcharged and heats up, then its lifespan could be reduced.

Overcharging a car battery can damage its terminals, and it could also corrode the electrolyte inside the battery or even damage other parts of the car.

It is best to charge your car’s battery at night so that you can enjoy it before you leave in the morning.

Hot temperatures can cause fluids inside the power unit to evaporate, which can result in irreversible damage inside the battery. This is the reason why you should avoid charging your vehicle’s battery if it is hot.

If you live in a very hot place, then you should definitely use a trickle charger that will allow your car to sit for a few hours without being hooked up to the battery.

Make sure that your car gets enough ventilation while charging so that you can avoid potential problems.

The key is to choose the best charger and follow its instructions carefully when charging your car’s battery.

Heat can also damage the cells inside your battery if the cells are damaged, which can cause leakage.

The best way to avoid this is by always charging your car’s battery in a cool area. This will also extend the battery’s lifespan.

Another thing to remember is that even though the temperature of your car’s battery is above freezing, it doesn’t mean it will last for a longer period of time.

Make sure that you avoid using a high-charge level. This will force the battery into deep discharge, which will cause it to work even harder and damage it over time.

Heat is a great thing for you to know about but you also need to avoid overcharging your battery or always storing your car’s battery in a cold place.

It’s also a good idea to check the temperature of your battery before charging it. This will give you a heads up about the type of charge needed for your battery.

If you want to keep your car’s battery in its best condition, then you should follow these tips. The more information you have, the better your chances of having a healthy and long-lasting vehicle.

3. Don’t Use Other Cables to Charge

Believe it or not, there are people who try to use other cables to charge their car’s battery whenever they don’t get a chance to do it at home.

The best way to charge your battery is by using the original cable that came with it. You should not try to use other chargers because this will cause problems to the battery, which could result in leakage or even a fire hazard.

Some people feel that they don’t have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging, this could be dangerous for their battery. You should always pay attention to the operating instructions in order to not damage your battery.

You shouldn’t use any other charger when you are trying to charge your vehicle because it will lead you to a lot of problems. Charging a battery using other chargers can cause its terminals and cables to heat up. This will cause it to work harder and deplete its lifespan faster.

This will shorten its lifespan and reduce its performance. It will also cause you problems because you can damage your car’s battery if you use the wrong type. This will lead to unnecessary expenses and even an increase in your car’s maintenance expenses.

If the original battery charger has cable issues or the battery isn’t getting charged, then it is best to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic. They can do a test and diagnose the problem for you when no one else can.

Only use the cables provided by the manufacturer and stick to the instructions in order to have a battery that will last for a long time. Charging your car’s battery using other chargers could cause it to stop working if you don’t follow the directions exactly.

Always read the directions before charging your car’s battery and make sure that you use the right type of charger. You can also check online where you can find guidelines on how to choose the right type of charger for your particular vehicle.

If you think that the cables are too short then buy a longer one that will allow you to charge the battery fully without having to stop. This will give you a longer lifespan and avoid problems like corrosion and overheating.

Use the advice from this guide to keep your car’s battery in good condition and it will even increase the life span. You can also use this guide for any other car batteries that you might have.

If you’re not sure of what cable you should use or you’re having trouble with your battery, then ask your mechanic. They will have the answer for you to avoid charging it wrong.

Charging your car’s battery can seem daunting at first but with a little help from the manufacturer, you won’t have any problem finding where to start. Take advantage of the tips that we included in this guide and they will be able to give you the best results.

Going to your nearest mechanic is also a good idea rather than trying to repair the car’s battery on your own. When you need to have your car’s battery replaced, then you should go to a professional mechanic who will give you the best quality.

Don’t wait until you have problems with your car’s battery. The longer you wait, the more expensive it can get for you. It is best to follow and use these tips to keep your car in good condition at all times.

Additional Tips

If you’re apprehensive on charging it by yourself, it’s recommended that you call a professional. Be sure that you check the reputation of the professional before you entrust them your vehicle. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for tips, recommendations, or instructions from folks you know have been charging their car batteries on their own.
In the event that you are opting to charge your own car battery, there are things you should keep in mind. First, make sure you’re wearing protective clothing and wearing safety goggles to ensure that your eyes are protected. Once again, never skip safety precautions as such measures can go a long way to protect you from injury.
Good charging practices promote safety and it can make your car’s battery last longer. Be sure that you only choose top quality chargers with high ratings. Always check for testimonials and find out if a particular product can produce very satisfying results. With these things in mind, you should be able to save a lot of money, time, and effort from buying new batteries from time to time.
If you’re using a charger from an unknown source, it’s highly recommended that you connect all of the available cables and adapters before beginning charging. If you’re not sure of whether or not you’ve connected the right cables, then go ahead and ask for help from your mechanic.

Also remember to take your time in making sure that everything is attached properly and that everything is thoroughly secured while taking care with other connections as well.
Check out the top picks for car battery chargers and find the best one for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long should you run your car to charge the battery?

Charging time can vary from 4 to 24 hours, depending on how many amperes your car battery is being charged with and its size. On average, car battery chargers have around 4 amps, which results in a 10-hour charging time. Moreover, when it comes to charging your battery with an in-built alternator, try to avoid cohort rides. Longer rides will let the alternator to charge the battery enough.

Can a completely dead battery be recharged?

Yes. Technically, a dead battery simply means a battery that is uncharged. As every car battery is chargeable, you can recharge even a completely dead battery. However, if your car battery failed because of a damage, it is likely that it will not charge again.

How do you know when your car battery is fully charged?

First of all, keep an eye on the dashboard in your car. If the indicator is off, the battery is charged enough. Moreover, most car batteries have indicators as well so that you know when your battery is fully charged.

How long does it take to charge a 12 volt car battery?

To charge a 12 volt car battery you will need around 12 hours or sometimes a bit more.

What is the proper way to charge a car battery?

First, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Next, connect an extension cord to the negative battery post and then to a car battery charger. Connect the positive terminal of the charger to the positive post of your car battery and switch on the power button located on top of most chargers. Red light indicates charging and green light indicates that you are now fully charged.

Does revving the engine charge the battery?

The answer to this is no. It's not grounding the engine that charges the battery, it's actually just warming up the engine and getting all the systems ready for use. You should not charge the battery in the engine bay as that is unnecessary and just a waste of power. If you have a dead battery, put it on the charger and let it charge for at least 6 hours (or overnight if you don't have a battery charger).

How do I know when my car battery is fully charged?

The car battery will last approximately 1.5 hours without being charged. This depends on many factors, including how cold it is outside and how much the car is driven. The best way to charge a car battery is to do it right before you are driving the car.

Also, make sure you keep your battery healthy by keeping it well maintained. To read more about how to maintain a car battery visit our site and read up on other articles such as Battery Articles or Car Battery Articles that may help you learn more about the different types of car batteries and their features.

Is 11.9 volts enough to start a car?

Yes, it usually starts. However, there are other things that you should be doing to make sure your car starts reliably. It’s important to check the battery once the car is turned off—check for distilled water and possible leaks in the system and then add water if necessary.

Why does my car keep dying after I jump it?

The most likely cause for your car dying after you jump it is that the battery might not have been 100% charged to begin with. If the battery was only at 10% charge or less, it might be that there wasn’t enough of a charge for the car to run off of long enough for you to get home.

If this is the case, make sure that you are charging the battery in your car until it is almost completely charged. If you have a digital volt-meter you will want to let it go until the voltage goes over 14 volts.

What happens if you don't drive your car for a while?

If you don't drive your car for a while, the battery will be fully drained and it will not be able to start. To avoid such possibility, you need to keep the battery fully charged. This is not really a big deal because you can charge your car battery using a charging station, so there is no need to carry it around all the time.

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