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Using Car Battery Charger: What To Check + Safely Using One

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Car battery chargers give your vehicle new life exactly when you need it, but they must be used safely. Here's what to do when using car battery charger.

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Car batteries naturally drain over time. When they do, they can leave your vehicle stranded in your car park, force you to replace an otherwise young battery, or lead to an expensive trip to the garage. Fortunately, there are car battery chargers available on the market. They can recharge old batteries from the comfort of your home.

This handy piece of gear is essentially a box with positive and negative leads that clip to your car's battery terminals. Once attached, they help replace the lost charge.

Car battery chargers will not jump-start a vehicle, as they do not offer enough power to shock your battery to life. However, they are advantageous if you need to recharge a dead battery or add power to one without professional intervention.

Here's what you should know when using car battery charger, how to attach it safely, and what you can expect from its performance:

How Long Do Car Battery Chargers Take?

The higher the amps of the charger, the faster your car's battery will recharge. When purchasing your device, use the instructions to confirm its exact recharging time.

The average rate for a complete recharge varies between 10-24 hours. This may appear slow, but it's crucial to the safety of your battery; recharging it too quickly may lead to bursts, leaks, or a shortened lifespan overall. That's especially true with lead acid batteries. Once you reach a particular current level, there's a danger of actually boiling them.

If your car's battery is well and truly dead, the charger should make it possible for your vehicle to start within two hours. For younger batteries, this is sufficient, as they can recharge themselves once the vehicle has started. For older batteries, it's smart to wait until they're topped up.

What To Check Before Using A Car Battery Charger

Before using a car battery charger, check the type of battery your vehicle actually has. For most cars, a conventional charger is ideal. However, more advanced cars may have start/stop technology, which requires a different battery type altogether (most commonly an AGM or EFB battery).

Aside from battery type, it's essential to look over the condition of your equipment. Examine the lead terminals and clamps on your battery. If the vehicle hasn't been used recently, they may be corroded or dirty. Clean them before use for safety purposes.

How To Use The Car Battery Charger

With the area clean and safe, you can begin charging up your vehicle's battery. Follow the steps below:

Safely Disconnect The Car Battery

You should first disconnect the battery from your car. It's possible to charge it while it's in place, but the lack of connection will protect you against accidental shocks.

  • Remove the negative lead (the black one) before the positive (red) one. If you don't use this order, you can also shock yourself when contact is made with the positive terminal.
  • Connect and disconnect each terminal with a clamp that is loosened by a bolt.

Attach The Charger

Once safely disconnected, attach the car battery charger.

  • Move the charger as far away from the battery as the cables can reach
  • Connect the charger's clamps to the battery terminals
  • Match positive to positive first and then negative to negative
  • After this, plug the charger into a standard domestic wall socket

Start The Charger

You can now start the charger. Check the manual for your device to see how long it will take, as well as what comes next. Your charger may be automatically programmed to turn off when the battery is full, but it may also require you to check on it hourly. Be sure to verify.

Detach The Charger When Done

Once the battery is charged, repeat the steps above in reverse.

  • Unplug the charger
  • Disconnect the clamps
  • Reconnect the car battery to the vehicle
  • This has to be done positive first, negative last!

Problems With Your Battery?

If you need to consistently restart your vehicle and charge up your battery, you may have an underlying problem. To keep your car and its battery in peak shape, book a free battery health check at your local Autofusion today.