Many people forget to look after their car battery properly, it’s understandable as it’s a part of the driving process that you don’t really think about until something goes wrong. If your vehicle is left for long periods of time this can reduce the voltage in the battery ultimately resulting in a flat battery and we’ve all seen incidences of vehicle lights left on, particularly interior lights which are easily forgotten.
If you attempt to start your vehicle and it is slow to start or will not produce any lights on the dash then your battery may just need a charge. Often the first thought is that the battery may need replacing entirely but that is not always the case - a simple overnight charge on a fully working battery charger can work wonders and will often bring your battery back to life. Here are some tips from us on how to charge your car battery.
Ensure you have a fully working battery charger suitable for charging a lead acid battery. The length of time the battery takes to charge is determined by how flat the battery is and how powerful the charger is. Here’s a quick equation that should help: A 100AH battery charged on a 10 amp charger would take around 10 hours to charge up. If you have a different size of battery and charger then just divide the AH power of the battery by the amps of the charger and that should give you an indication of how long a full charge should take.
Before we start charging the battery the first thing we need to do is to disconnect the battery. You can charge the battery in-situ or if you’d rather, take the battery out and charge it near your mains charger - there’s no right and wrong way as far as this is concerned although you could potentially reduce the risk of damage to the battery and vehicle by removing it entirely, that’s up to you. It’s important to note that you can lose various data codes keyed into the car once you disconnect your battery so please ensure you have the relevant information to replace any loss of radio codes etc before going ahead.
Next check that your charger is set to the ‘lead acid’ setting and the correct battery voltage if applicable. Some chargers have different setting for different battery technologies and voltages so it’s always worth double checking. The most common setting for modern car batteries would be 12v and lead acid.
Connect your charger to the battery making sure that you connect the positive (red) cable to the positive (+) battery terminal and the negative (black) to the negative (-) battery terminal. Take your time with this step and make sure you get it right.
You can’t be too careful, so double check your settings so far, both on the mains charger and your cable connections to the battery itself. Once you’re happy everything is correct plug your charger into the mains power socket and turn the charger on.
If you’ve already done the small amount of maths we recommended earlier, then you should already have an idea of when your battery will be charged. Once the charging process is complete a green light should light up on your charger, this can vary from charger to charger, but generally a green light is a good thing.
When you’re ready to disconnect your battery first turn off the charger at the mains socket and disconnect the black negative lead first. Reinstalling your battery (if you removed it) should be straight forward at this stage, as with the whole process take your time and don’t rush it and don’t forget to reconnect it to your car.
The process of charging a car battery is fairly standard, however as with most things there are different types of battery chargers on the market and specific cases that may require different charging solutions. Always make sure you refer to your owners manual before taking your first steps and if you are at all unsure seek professional advice first.
If you do find that charging your battery hasn't helped cure the problem then you may need a new battery after all, don't worry we can help with that too. Head over to our car battery section, select your car manufacturer, model and year and we'll provide a list of suitable batteries and if you want to double check your selection prior to purchasing then don't hesitate to get in touch, we'll be more than happy to help!