How to charge a car battery

Friday 9th October 2020

signs of a dead car battery

Wondering how to charge a car battery correctly? Or how long it takes for a car battery to charge? Our guide to charging batteries has you covered with everything you need to know.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why you might need to charge your battery. Your car’s battery can become flat for a number of reasons – such as forgetting to turn off your vehicle’s lights, if there is a fault with the vehicle or if the vehicle hasn’t been driven for a long time. Often, car batteries can also die faster during the colder months – learn more about why this happens from our detailed guide.

As a quick fix, jump-starting the battery is likely to solve the problem. This involves using another car which has a charged battery, two jump leads and transferring the battery charge from one vehicle to the other. Although jump-starting is a great quick fix to get you back  on the road again, learning how to charge a car battery at home is always helpful.

How to recharge a car battery

  • Check your car’s battery – initially, you need to establish what type of car battery your vehicle has, and if your car has stop/start technology – which would mean a more conventional charger is needed. If you’re not sure what type of battery your car has, consult your vehicle handbook – or contact your local Formula One Autocentre.
  • Clean lead terminals – if dirty or corroded, it’s important to clean the lead terminals coming out the top of your battery and the clamps that connect them.
  • Disconnect the car battery – when it comes to disconnecting the battery, disconnect the negative lead first (which is typically black) and reconnect it last. Loosen the clamps to undo the terminals, ensuring to choose the negative first, and then move them to one side.
  • Connect your charger – ensure to keep the charger as far away as possible from the battery. Connect the clamps of the charger to the terminals of the battery, making sure that you match negative to negative, and positive to positive as you go. Then you’re ready to start charging your car’s battery!

How long does it take to charge a car battery?

Usually, it will take around 4 – 24 hours to charge a car battery from flat. However, it’s important to remember that this will depend on a variety of factors – including how many amperes the car battery is charging with, the type of car battery and the size of the battery.

As soon as your car battery has finished charging, you can unplug the charger and disconnect the clamps from the terminals. At this point, it’s now safe to reconnect your battery to your vehicle – remembering to connect positive first and negative last.

If you’re not sure on your battery’s health, book in for a free battery health check at your local Formula One Autocentre now.  

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