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How to charge a car battery

Your battery’s main purpose is to get the engine started. When your engine sounds sluggish or it’s not catching at all, most times a flat battery is the culprit. We’ve got some tips on how to charge a car battery so the heart of your car stays pumping.

Does your battery need to be charged? 

If you turn your key and … nothing happens, it’s likely you’ve got a flat battery. To avoid being caught out there’s some ways you can tell your battery might fail before it does:

  • Your engine takes a while to start
  • The ‘check engine’ light comes on
  • The battery looks bloated, it’s leaking or it’s got low battery fluid

Depending on the state of your car battery it could pay to do a quick recharge. If the battery looks a little worse for wear, it may be time to get a new battery.

Charging a car battery

Follow our tips on how to use a car battery charger:

  1. Check your battery for wear and tear and check the battery fluid is topped up. If the battery’s damaged – get a new one, rather than a charger
  2. Different chargers work on different batteries. Find your battery type and you’ll know what battery charger to get
  3. Turn off all electrics and keep the battery charger turned off too
  4. Follow the manufacturer instructions. Some chargers need the battery removed to work, others just need cell caps removed. Even if you’ve charged a battery before, follow the instructions to keep everyone safe

Once the charger is connected it can take up to 12 hours to fully charge a flat battery.

Jump starting your car 

If you’re stranded and need a jump-start you can call Roadside Assistance to get going again. It can pay to have a professional come out who can diagnose if it’s a flat battery or something more sinister. If you’re sure it’s a flat battery and the battery is in good nick, a jump start could buy you enough time to get to a mechanic.

Take home tips on charging a car battery 

  1. Always check your battery is clean and without leaks, cracks and bulges. Simple car battery maintenance can keep your battery in good condition
  2. Choose the right battery charger for your engine size
  3. If your battery is looking worse for wear, get a new battery
  4. Follow manufacturer instructions, even if you’ve used a battery charger before

Remember, it can take a full 12 hours to charge a flat battery.

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