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:
- 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
- Different chargers work on different batteries. Find your battery type and you’ll know what battery charger to get
- Turn off all electrics and keep the battery charger turned off too
- 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
- Always check your battery is clean and without leaks, cracks and bulges. Simple car battery maintenance can keep your battery in good condition
- Choose the right battery charger for your engine size
- If your battery is looking worse for wear, get a new battery
- 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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