How To Charge A Car Battery and How Long Does It Take?
Do you know how to charge a car battery? If you’re like me, you’ve had to charge your battery at least once in the past. We’ve all had to jump start either our own vehicle or a friend/family members. Did you know that jump starting your vehicle repeatedly can reduce the lifespan of your battery?
Like you, I was tired of having to replace batteries and wanted to do something about it. So I took a look at the different methods of how to charge a car battery. While there are different methods available to charge your battery, I wanted to find you the best one.
Below you’ll find the different materials needed, some tips, and a step by step guide on how to charge a car battery so that you can get your vehicle running again.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
Before we get started on the tutorial, there will be some items that you will need to charge your battery. Understanding the different tools and equipment needed will help you with charging the battery properly
1. Safety equipment. Rubber gloves and safety glasses/goggles can be helpful when preparing the battery for charging. Sometimes there will be dried battery acid near the contacts of the battery. This can irritate any uncovered skin that comes in contact.
When disconnecting the battery, using gloves can help to protect you from the shock as well. Another reason to use gloves and safety glasses is to protect you from acid and fumes that can be released from charging or removing the battery.
2. Battery charger. There are two main types of battery chargers available for your needs. Fast charging options will charge your battery in a short amount of time. Some fast charging options also have features that allow you to jump start your vehicle.
Trickle chargers, on the other hand, provide a slow and steady charge to the battery. Batteries tend to hold a charge better with a gradual charge, and can be helpful in prolonging the life of your battery. Fast chargers can be helpful when you need to jump start your battery.
Charging your battery too quickly can have side effects. Heat can build up and evaporate some of the acids. This vapor isn’t safe to breathe and can be flammable as well. Using a trickle charger can help to minimize the heat buildup, and this type of charging is the recommended method for your car.
Other features that you may want to consider are battery chargers that monitor the battery levels. These types of chargers will turn off once fully charged to prevent overcharging. When selecting a charger, you will also want to make sure that it is compatible with the type of battery in your car.
- You will want to check and see if there’s a metal bar that holds down the battery. If you need to remove the battery for charging, you will want to have the right size socket to remove the bar. Other equipment that you may want to use is a damp cloth and baking soda for cleaning the contacts, and a metal brush can also be useful for removing rust from the metal contacts.
Step by Step Instructions
Put on safety gear
You will want to work in a well ventilated area while charging the battery. This will help to protect yourself and others from the fumes created while charging. You will also want to make sure that the area is well lit for working properly.
At this point, you will also want to put on your gloves and safety glasses before unplugging and working on your battery.
Identify your battery
Understanding the types of batteries available will help to properly charge your battery. The two main types available are wet cell batteries and VRLA batteries.
Wet cell batteries are the most common type used. These batteries can be serviced, and the battery levels can be restored by adding distilled water. Wet batteries are typically more resistant to overcharging, and have a longer battery life with regular maintenance.
Valve Regulated Lead-Acid batteries are sealed system batteries. VRLA batteries feature a resealable vent that allows the battery to relieve pressure buildup from overcharging.
To help identify the type of battery used in your vehicle, you will want to review the label on the battery casing itself.
If you’re having difficulty locating this information, you can also find this information in the vehicle owner’s manual as well. Another important piece of information that you can get as well will be the battery’s voltage.
Prepare your battery
Before disconnecting the battery, you should inspect it for any damage. If you see any cracks or battery acid leakage, you will want to replace the battery.
Next, you will want to disconnect the battery from the cables. You should inspect the cables and terminals for any signs of corrosion. You can use a brush to clean off the corrosion. Baking soda and a moist cloth or sandpaper can also be used to clean the terminals.
Depending on your situation, you can charge the battery while it is in the car. If you need to remove the battery, you will want to use the right size socket to remove the bar that holds the battery in place (if applicable). Once You remove the battery, you will want to place the battery on a level surface.
Connecting the charger
Once you’re ready to connect the charger to your battery, you will want to place it on a stable surface. Before plugging in the charger, you will want to double check that the work area is well ventilated. You should try to keep the charger as far away as you can from the battery.
This will help to keep the positive and negative terminals from connecting with each other and minimize the chance of damage to the battery.
You should then connect the black cable to the negative terminal on the battery. The battery will label this as NEG or (-) depending on the manufacturer. You will then connect the red cable to the positive terminal.
You can identify this terminal with the POS or (+) symbol. After the two cables are secured, you can then plug in the charger to a power source.
Related: What Size Jump Starter Do I Need?
Charging the battery
You will want to follow the directions that came with your charger for best results on how to charge a completely dead car battery. If you selected a charger that allows you to select a speed, the setting will depend on the battery.
If your battery has been dead for some time, the slower speed will work best. The faster speeds can be a good option if the battery recently died due to the lights being left on or similar situations.
For chargers that let you set the final voltage, you will want to set the charger to the settings indicated on the battery or owner’s manual. If you choose to use the fast charge option, you shouldn’t leave the vehicle unattended for long periods of time to watch for overheating.
With older models of battery chargers, there may only be an on/off switch. For these types of chargers, you will want to monitor the battery on a regular basis to help prevent overcharging.
Completing the charge
After the battery has been able to charge, you will want to make sure that its holding a charge. Some battery chargers will have a readout screen that will indicate the battery voltage in a percentage. If after the normal charge time has passed, and the percentage is still low, you may need to change out the battery.
Another alternative can be to use a voltmeter. Once you disconnect the charger, you will want to touch each of the voltmeter’s cables to the corresponding terminals on the battery. With the voltmeter, you can compare the volts to the amount that is appropriate for your battery.
The last option that you can try will be to reconnect the battery to your vehicle and start the car. This can be a simple method if you didn’t have to remove the battery.This method won’t give you any data on the voltage if there’s an issue but can be a simple way to test the charge.
How Long To Charge a Car Battery at 2 Amps?
On average a car battery has a capacity of 48 amp hours. Most basic chargers will charge at a rate of 2 amps/hour. If the battery is completely depleted, it will take a total of 24 hours to fully charge the battery.
How Long Does It Take To Charge a Car Battery?
The time that it takes to recharge your battery will be determined by how much the battery is depleted, and how many amps your charger can put out. You can determine the charge percentage by using a voltmeter. Slow chargers will typically charge at a rate of 10 amps or less.
A fast charger, on the other hand, will charge at a rate of 20 amps or more. On average, it will take your battery around twelve hours or more with the slow charge method. The fast charge method is not recommended for a depleted battery due to the decrease in battery life, and increased risk of overheating and charging.
How Long To Charge a Car Battery at 6 Amps?
The recharge rate for a 6 amp battery charger will depend on the capacity of the battery. For a 48 amp hour battery, it would take approximately eight hours to charge the battery. Larger capacity batteries will take longer to charge, and the remaining capacity will also affect the charge time.
Did you enjoy the tutorial? Whenever I find useful information, it’s important for me to share it with others so that you benefit from it as well.
I hope that if you found the article useful, you will share it with your friends and family for the next time that they need to recharge their vehicle. If you have any tips or comments on the article, I encourage you to leave a comment below.