Charging your car battery

How to charge your car battery when it’s flat?

When you find yourself stuck with a dead car battery, it’s never convenient and often frustrating beyond words. However, making sure that your car battery is in good condition is one of the simplest maintenance chores you could get. There are a few key steps in maintaining and charging your car battery and they are a sure-fire way to make sure that your car battery keeps up the charge.

Type of Battery

Most Car, Trucks, and bikes use a Lead-Acid type battery, however, certain high-end models might have Dry cell, VRLA or AGM variations installed. The types of batteries above are by far the most commonly used in cars, trucks, and bikes currently on a road. The most important aspect to remember about your battery is whether it is sealed or not. A sealed or maintenance-free battery does not require any attention under normal conditions. Whereas some of the older models of cars on the road still have batteries that require you to top up the fluids in the cells from time to time. The 2 types of batteries above are by far the most commonly used in cars, trucks and marine craft currently.

Flat Car Battery, Now what?

In most cases you can either jump start or push start your car to get it started again, however, you should have the battery checked by a professional in anyway just to be sure. However, if you want to charge your battery at home there are a couple of options available. Battery chargers come in several variations, basically from simple slow chargers to an intelligent trickle chargers and jump-start boosters.

Standard Car Battery Charger

car battery charger

These chargers vary from basic AC to DC chargers to trickle chargers and some also have starter booster option. Although these chargers will charge your battery back up to full charge, you would need to take note of the following:

  • Charging time for the AC to DC charger – due to the low amperage used it does take a long time to fully charge your battery.
  • The specific condition of your car battery before charging – always clean and inspect your battery for damage before charging.
  • Timed charging – when using a timer always double check that you are not going to overcharge the battery which could be explosive.
  • Regardless of the type of charger or battery you have always follow the instructions as set out in the charger manual – just for the record.

With the wide variety of car chargers available in the market, it is crucial to err on the side of quality rather than cheapest on the shelf as a below standard charger could damage your battery beyond repair and cost you even more.

Intelligent battery charger

By far the best type of charger you could invest in, these chargers measure the state of the battery charge as it is charging and when the battery has reached full charge it automatically stops the charging process. With these chargers, you can charge just about any type and size of the battery and you do not need to watch over it as you do with other standard chargers.

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How to charge a flat battery?

The process is relatively simple in that you always must remove the battery from the car before charging and ensure that it is clean and free of any visible damage. Pay attention to corrosion on the terminals and cracks in the battery casing. Corrosion could be a sign of leaks or excessive dirt and grime on the terminals which could prevent proper connection with the cable connectors in the vehicle or charger. If the battery is physically damaged its best to replace it.

Once you have connected the cleaned battery to your intelligent charger, making sure that you have set your charger to the correct voltage for your battery, either 12V or 24V, the charger will do the work from there. With standard chargers you would have to mark the time and stop the charging process at the appropriate time, in most cases, it is either 12 hours and in some as long as 24 hours.

Caution: do not overcharge your battery, overcharging will produce excessive gases in a battery and
this could cause it to explode.

Your car battery is a vital component of your vehicle and you should inspect it regularly to ensure that it is in working condition, if you have any doubt either consult your car manufacturer or a car battery professional.