How to charge a car battery with a charger in 6 simple steps

Most drivers will experience the unavoidable inconvenience of a dead car battery sooner or later. Your car won’t start at all without a functioning battery, so you don’t need to be an expert mechanic to understand this. In this case, you’ll need to make a call to a roadside assistance company or arrange transportation for your car to a repair facility. These are both not the best solutions as an alternative, you can charge your automobile battery on your own to avoid these options. So, the question is how do you charge a car battery? well, read on to know.

how to charge a car battery

By utilizing the extra power of the automobile’s motor, automotive batteries are able to maintain their charge for at least five years before needing to be replaced or recharged. But if you leave your lights on for too long, even the greatest automotive batteries will ultimately run out of power or lose their charge. Although having a dead battery might be quite inconvenient, recharging one can be done with very little in the way of tools or mechanical knowledge. You may carry out this task anywhere you need to, even while you’re stuck on the side of the road, as long as you have the necessary tools, like a portable battery charger.

In today’s article, we’ll get to discuss the answers to the following questions?

  • How to charge a car battery?
  • What are the signs and symptoms that your car battery needs to be charged or replaced?
  • How long does it take to charge a car battery?
  • Can you continue to drive with a low or bad battery?
  • What’s the cost to replace a car battery?

Read more: How to recondition a car battery

Ok then, let’s get down to business.


How to charge a car battery?

Here’s how to charge a car battery in six simple steps:

  • Get the battery ready.
  • Makes sure that the electronics are turned off. If not, do so.
  • Disconnect the positive battery first, then negative
  • Clean the battery terminals.
  • Connect the charger to the car battery.
  • Remove the charger once the battery has a full charge.

Get the battery ready

Certain car batteries need to be lifted out of their holding trays, while most vehicles don’t require battery removal. Now is the moment to take out your battery, if you need to.

Makes sure that the car electronics are turned off. If not, do so

Turn off all of the car’s electronics, including the radio and interior lighting, after the battery is prepared for the charge.

Disconnect the positive battery first, then negative

The next step is to disconnect the negative cable first, then the positive. A black wire with a “-” symbol on the terminal designates the negative cable almost always. While almost always, the positive cable is a red cable with a “+” symbol on the terminal.

If the terminals on your battery are covered in plastic caps, pull the caps off to release the cables. The negative cable should then be carefully loosened and pulled away from the battery. In order to prevent a charge from moving between the two sources, place the negative cable far away from the positive cable (trust us on this one). For the positive cable and termination, repeat the procedure.

Clean the battery terminals

Cleaning the terminal can neutralize battery acid and stop problems from occurring while the process is ongoing. Always put safety first by protecting your hands, face, and eyes. To clean, remove dirt and corrosive material from the terminals using a terminal cleaning brush. You may DIY (Do It Yourself) and create your own battery-cleaning solution by combining baking soda and water.

Connect the charger to the car battery

In the situation where your charger’s operation instructions differ from our suggestions, you should always abide by them. Make sure the automobile battery charger is turned off before continuing. Next, connect the charger’s positive cable to the battery’s positive terminal. For the negative cable, follow the same procedure. You must connect the positive cable first; do not perform these steps backward. The time has come to turn on your charger now that both cords are attached. Start by defaulting it to the lowest rate. Set the timer on your charger, if it has one, for the proper charge period.

To find out how long it will take you to charge your car’s battery, consult your owner’s manual or read on to know.

Remove the charger once the battery has a full charge

The auto battery charger is finished charging when it has run for the specified amount of time. After that, disconnect the charger’s cables; some chargers contain a meter or indicator that will let you know when it is okay to do so. Before interacting with any of the other controls, be sure to turn the charger off. Removing the cords is only secure AFTER the charger has been turned off.

Remove the positive cable first, then the negative, after shutting off the power. Set your battery back into the tray if it was removed in step 1 and attach the hold-down clamp (s). When replacing the negative wire on your automobile battery’s terminals, reconnect the positive cable.

Bonus tip: After learning how to charge a car battery, keep in mind that regular, timely maintenance and correct charging techniques assist guarantee that your battery will perform.

Read more: Lists of best car battery charger

Here’s how to charge a car battery with a speed or trickle charger:

  • First, place the charger on a stable surface
  • Connect the charger to the battery
  • Set the charger
  • Lastly, make sure to check the battery

First, place the charger on a stable surface

Never connect the negative and positive terminals of the battery with the charger directly on top of the battery as this could harm both the battery and the charger and potentially start a fire. Instead, position the charger as far away from the battery as the cords will allow on a sturdy surface. Open your garage door or windows if you’re inside to let fresh air in before plugging the charger into the socket. To prevent the charger from dropping or losing contact with the battery, position it on a firm, fixed surface. To the greatest extent possible, disconnect the battery from the charger by using the entire length of the cords.

Connect the charger to the battery

Connect the black cable from the charger, which is marked with a negative (-) sign, to the battery’s negative terminal. After that, connect the red wire bearing the plus sign (+) to the battery’s positive terminal denoted by the corresponding symbol. Before plugging in or turning on the charger, double-check the connections because combining the positive and negative terminals could harm the battery or possibly start a fire. Certain automobiles may use the letters POS instead of the (+) or (-) symbols to designate the positive terminal. To allow electricity to travel from the charger to the battery, make sure the cords are securely fastened.

Set the charger

Older devices may just have settings for on and off, whereas digital chargers may show the battery’s current voltage and let you pick the final voltage level. Moreover, speed chargers let you select the rate at which you want to charge the battery (often depicted by a picture of a turtle for slow charges and a rabbit for fast ones).

A fast charge is appropriate for a car battery that recently died as a result of leaving your lights on or anything to that effect, whereas a battery that has been dead for some time may require the slower charging approach before the battery is useable again. If the charger has a voltage stop setting, set it to the voltage listed on the battery or in the owner’s manual of your car. When leaving the car unattended, never set the charger to quick charge. And if the battery has been dead for a while, you might wish to keep it slowly charging overnight so that it can be fully charged.

Lastly, make sure to check the battery

Check the battery to make sure it functions after allowing it to charge. Some digital chargers will provide you with a display that will indicate whether the battery is holding the charge properly or whether a replacement is needed. A percentage, such as “100%,” is frequently used to denote this, as the battery is fully charged. While the battery is no longer connected to the charger, you might also want to use a voltmeter to check its voltage by touching its positive and negative cables to the appropriate terminals on the battery.

The simplest test to perform if the battery is still inside the vehicle is to simply reconnect it and try to start it. The battery is sufficiently charged if the voltmeter displays the correct voltage for the battery, the charger confirms that it is working properly, or the car starts. If the vehicle won’t start or the voltmeter or charger show that the battery is poor, there may be further problems that need to be fixed or the battery may need to be replaced.

Read more: Lists of best car battery

Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to charge a car battery:

What are the signs and symptoms that your car battery needs to be charged or replaced?

Here are the most common signs and symptoms you’ll notice when you need to charge or replace your car battery:

Trouble starting the car

Having difficulties starting your automobile is one of the most obvious indicators that your battery may be defective or worn out. The parts of an automobile battery deteriorate and lose efficiency over time. When this happens, the battery takes a lot longer for the alternator to charge it. This necessitates waiting for the engine to start up for a few more seconds. You shouldn’t wait until your battery is fully dead to replace it because doing so could leave you stranded if your vehicle won’t start. Your battery is probably dying if your vehicle starts slowly or starts weakly. Your battery is probably already dead if you hear a clicking sound when you try to start the car. If you experience trouble starting your engine, be sure to take your automobile to your neighborhood mechanic right away.

Battery with any other associated lights illuminated

Watch out for the check engine light. Do not disregard the warning lights on your dashboard if they suddenly come on. This frequently suggests that the battery or one of the car’s computers is malfunctioning. It can indicate that the alternator is no longer supplying it with charge or that the battery is weak and worn out. In either case, speaking with a mechanic is crucial.

They may test the battery and make sure it is operating at maximum capacity and output even if it is signaling a different problem. The headlights may also be dim. Your battery won’t be able to fully power your car’s electrical components to the same degree that it usually can if it is failing. Your battery may be on its way out if your headlights look unusually feeble and dim, especially when starting the engine. When the automobile is idling or starting, the interior lights could also seem dimmer than usual or begin to flicker. To ensure safe driving conditions, have your automobile checked out as soon as you notice any strange behavior from your car’s lights.

Read more: 

Strange odor

A failing battery may be obvious if you detect a peculiar new stench in your automobile. A bad odor resembling rotten eggs is frequently a sign that the battery is leaking gas. Sulfuric acid is a component in batteries that may leak if the battery is broken. This sulfuric acid, also known as outgassing, must be replenished right away because it can be extremely toxic and harm or corrode other components of your car. It may be significantly more expensive to fix than to replace the car if these harmful acids harm other components. Even though this is not one of the more typical symptoms, you should always take your car to your neighborhood auto repair shop if you smell anything odd.

Electrical malfunction

Your battery may be deteriorating if the responsiveness of your power windows or door locks suddenly seems to have decreased. Battery problems may also be indicated by problems with your car’s audio and electric seats. Even when you plug your phone in to charge, the battery in your car keeps everything electrical running. These components won’t function as well as usual if the battery starts to deteriorate. Check all of your electronic parts to determine if any are malfunctioning. Visit your neighborhood auto repair shop immediately away if you notice any odd behaviors with your vehicle’s electrical systems. You should also take into account how many electrically powered devices you use on a regular basis in relation to when your battery was last changed. Your battery will discharge more quickly the more power you utilize.

Poor performance in cold weather

Car batteries typically do not function well in the cold. Throughout the winter, drivers who reside in areas with snow or other cold weather conditions must pay particular attention to the state of their automobile batteries. Your battery could actually freeze if the temperature drops low enough. Its chemical processes will begin to slacken. Due to the slow-moving engine oil in cold weather, the car battery is required to supply the maximum current. Because it takes far more energy to start the engine, a battery will soon lose all of its life in this situation. Your battery may be deteriorating if you start to notice poor starting performance from your car over the winter.

Read more: Best battery testers

How long does it take to charge a car battery?

With a 20 Amp charger, a standard car battery may be fully charged in 2 to 4 hours, and with a 4 Amp charger, it can be done in 12 to 24 hours. Your car’s battery can be jumpstarted using another vehicle. If you can get it started, you can also charge the battery while it is idle. An automobile battery needs between 10 and 24 hours to fully charge. These chargers are quick and effective. Your battery may need to be charged for three or more days if you’re using a trickle charger. The battery is protected by slow charging.

Depending on how many amps your charger has, you may calculate the amount of time it will take to charge a car battery by dividing 48 by the rate of charging. For instance, charging a battery to 100% charge will take 8 hours if your charger charges at 6 amps per hour. Before you attach a charger, let’s determine if your battery is worth saving. First off, given that batteries last four years on average, it could be worthwhile to replace a battery that is more than three years old. Remember, though, that a completely dead battery could be irreparably damaged, leaving you stranded once more.

Read more: How long does it take to charge a car battery? What you need to know

Can you continue to drive with a low or bad battery?

Absolutely, a car with a low battery can still be driven. It will be more difficult to start, but as long as your battery is still somewhat charged, it should continue to operate. Your alternator is carrying out the majority of the work in this situation. It can generate all the current required for your automobile to function. There is no assurance that your car will continue to run, though. You only need to turn on your headlights for your car’s demand to exceed the alternator’s capacity. Your automobile could suddenly stall out, causing you to lose power.

Read more: Lists of best battery maintainers

What’s the cost to replace a car battery?

Prices for a replacement automobile battery vary from roughly $45 to $250 depending on power, size, and quality. You may get a new car battery installed or have your present battery checked at your neighborhood dealership, auto parts store, or automotive service facility. The performance of batteries is measured by their cold cranking amps (CCA). That is a gauge of how well they will function in the cold. This indication shows how many amps they can produce while keeping a certain minimum voltage for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hence, the price of the battery increases as CCA increases. There are only two types of batteries available: flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries. The first one has been around for a long, whereas the second one is more recent and represents a design advancement overall. The two are priced differently, therefore you should always seek advice before selecting an appropriate substitute.

Read more: AGM vs. GEL battery & AGM vs. lead acid (What you need to know)

Is your car battery not taking charge? then you really should watch the video below to learn how to fix it:


Can a completely dead battery be recharged?

A dead battery can be recharged, and depending on the circumstance, whether you are stranded in your garage and can manage it yourself or you are in the middle of nowhere and require professional, prompt, and fast service in the blink of an eye, a dead battery is typically an easy fix.

Read more: How to properly recycle or dispose a battery

Which battery terminal to connect first when charging?

Positive first, then negative. When disconnecting the cable from the battery terminal, you should first remove the negative cable, followed by the positive one. But when charging the car battery, you should first connect the positive cable to the battery terminal, then the negative.

How long does it take to charge a car battery?

It will take roughly 10–24 hours to fully charge a standard automotive battery with a usual charge amp of 4–8 amperes. It would take about 2-4 hours to sufficiently charge your battery so that you could start the engine. Recharging carefully is the greatest strategy to ensure that your car battery lasts a long time.

Read more: Understanding the working of Battery ignition system

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

You’ll need a voltmeter to check the voltage; they are reasonably priced and available at most of the major auto parts retailers. Use the voltmeter to measure the battery voltage to help you determine what to do next. Your battery is healthy and fully charged if it is 12.6 volts or above. No other action is necessary.

Can I start my car while the battery is charging?

When you are connected to Tender, you can start your automobile. The cable must be carefully positioned under the car’s hood to ensure that it is free from any moving elements. Remember that the tender won’t jump-start a car and won’t charge a battery that is too low on power. Helpful?

How can I charge my car battery at home?

Does Leaving the Vehicle Idle Charge the Battery? Yes, your car’s battery will begin to charge as long as the engine is running, to answer your question simply. So this means that you can charge your car battery at home by letting it idle.

Does idling a car charge the battery?

How to Recondition a Car Battery

  • Remove the rubber covering the caps and the battery. Next, take off the caps as well.
  • In order to recharge a battery, fill it with distilled water.
  • Nevertheless, you might attempt to swap out the acid in a battery by combining fresh acid with distilled water.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • How to charge a car battery?
  • What are the signs and symptoms that your car battery needs to be charged or replaced?
  • How long does it take to charge a car battery?
  • Can you continue to drive with a low or bad battery?
  • What’s the cost to replace a car battery?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!