How To Charge A Car Battery

Wondering if you can charge your car battery by yourself? If you follow the right guide, then you can

You might be driving to work or an appointment when you get stranded on the roadside because of a battery problem.

Most of the times your battery is just drained and needs to be charged before it works to deliver power to your car.

In most cases, car owners fall victim of a dead battery simply because they left the headlights or other car lights on and this drained the car battery.

Playing the stereo for long hours also makes the car battery get drained and thus you will be facing a case of a significantly discharge battery that needs to be charged.

There are five ways that you can learn how to charge a car battery, and these are discovered, especially when you forget your regular battery charger at home, and you are stranded by the roadside.

A car battery can be charged through either of the following processes:

Method 1. Using A Car Battery Charger
Method 2. Charging With Another Car’s Battery
Method 3. Using A Generator
Method 4. Using A Power Supply
Method 5. Using A Laptop Charger

The rate at which each of the following options charges the car battery differ depending on the amp rating from the main power source.

Some may be advised if you want the car battery to be charged at a faster rate so that you make it early for a meeting while some will not help in that case.

What To Know Before Recharging A Car Battery

It might be your first time recharging your car battery by yourself. This can be rather intimidating and also confusing at the same time.

This guides recommends that you start by consulting the user manual.

This is to get a hint about what should be done in the case that you will need to take out a drained battery and recharge it.

A user manual is important due to the fact that every type of car is different and unique in their own way.

The instructions for taking out your car battery for recharging vary from one manufacturer to the other.

Secondly, before starting the process of recharging the car battery you should consider your safety.

The car should be stationed at an area that will guarantee its safety as well as the safety of the car battery.

It is not advisable to take out your car battery in an area that has a fire close by or even while it is raining.

Rain might cause you to get electrocuted while handling power cables while fire might damage the battery due to excessive heat.

Another safety measure that needs to be considered, even though overlooked by many, is the need to have safety gear.

Gloves and goggles prevent harmful components of the car battery from getting to the most sensitive parts of the body.

For instance, the eyes and the skin develop an irritating effect because of coming into contact with acid from the battery.

The dead battery should be examined for leakages and other issues.

If you smell something that seems to be rotten eggs, then that might be harmful gas being released from the battery.

This might be caused by a physical damage. The gas is quite harmful and if you do not know what to do at this stage, you should consult a technician.

If the battery is heated up maybe due to overworking, you will need to lift the hood and enable it to cool down before handling it.

You should also be on the lookout for corrosion on the car battery.

This usually forms on the ports of the battery and forces the battery to put in more effort so that it can be able to power the car. You can clean it off using an old brush and a solution of baking soda.

When connecting either a car battery charger or jump cables to the battery, you should avoid electrocution.

This can be done by being careful with metals around you as they conduct electricity and can cause you to be shocked with the batteries.

The cables used should be well insulated and also well marked so that you avoid mistaking one that is connected to the positive terminal for another connected to the negative terminal.

When dealing with cables you should be careful which particular cables and terminals to either connect first or disconnect first.

When it comes to connection the positive terminal is to be given prior attention while the negative terminals should be disconnected first.

When charging the car battery, you should be keen to notice if the car battery gets overheated. Overheating of the car battery might be because of overcharging.

This may cause the battery to be damaged and if not realized early and stopped might cause accidents such as the car battery exploding.

All the above safety precautions are included so that you do not fall victim to normal accidents that are common when a car owner is taking their car battery out for recharging.

What Tools To Use To Charge A Car Battery

When preparing to charge your car battery, you will have to get the following basic tools:

  • The dead car battery
  • A good type of car battery charger
  • Safety wear such as goggles and even gloves

Other type of equipment might be added depending on the battery recharging method that you are going to use.

For instance, if you want to use another car to charge yours, you will need jumper cables.

In some cases you will need multimeters, voltmeters, laptop battery chargers and even a resistor in order to complete the circuit when you want to charge the car battery using unorthodox means.

5 Charging Dead Car Batteries Methods To Follow

A car battery can be recharged by any of the following processes or options. Let’s find out each one of the methods that can help to charge your car battery below.

Method 1. Using A Car Battery Charger

You should carry a dedicated battery charger in your trunk whenever you go out driving. This is in case your car battery dies out due to being heavily discharged.

A charger gives you that independent feeling and you won’t have to ask for assistance from other motorists in order to charge your car battery.

How To Use A Portable Car Battery Charger

The steps for recharging your car battery using a good portable charger are outlined below:

  • Connect the car battery and the charger: Make sure that both of them are off as you make the connection.
    Connect the positive clamp to the battery’s positive terminal; they are red in color. Do the same for the negative terminal and the negative clamp.
  • Prepare the portable charger: Preparation of the battery charger means that you will be setting the volts and amps that you would wish to use when charging your car battery.
    A higher voltage will charge the car battery relatively fast. You should be careful to avoid overcharging the car battery.
  • Switch on the portable charger: When you switch on the charger, it begins to charge the car battery.
    Modern ones are design to stop charging immediately the car battery has been fully charged.
  • Disconnect the charger: Once the car battery has been charged to a level that you desire switch off the battery charger.
    Disconnect the clamps and make sure to begin with the negative clamp, which is the black one, before the positive clamp.

Can You Recommend Me Any Good Car Battery Chargers?

Yes, I can! You can click on this link to get some of the best portable battery chargers that will give you an awesome experience.

What Are The Differences Between A Regular Charger And A Trickle Charger?

Regular chargers are able to recharge your car battery at a relatively fast rate.

They are also convenient and come to your rescue when you are rushing to make it on time for a business meeting or an appointment.

However, a trickle charger is quite slow and charges your car battery at a relatively slow rate.

It can take a whole day for your car battery to be fully charged with a trickle charger. They are mainly used to maintain the charge of a car battery at a certain level.

Method 2. Charging With Another Car’s Battery

This particular method comes to your rescue when you do not own a car battery charger.

All you have to do is get a willing motorist that will let you recharge your car battery using theirs.

All you need is well insulated and jumper cables that are in good working condition.

You start by connecting the jumper cables to the respective terminals of the two batteries; negative to negative and positive to positive.

You then start off by starting the engine of the car with the better battery, then try to start your car.

You then rev the battery of the charged battery so that its output is improved.

This will increase the rate of charging, once satisfied you need to disconnect the jumper cables and start with the negative cables first.

Jumping a car battery is a good idea but it is advisable that you have your car battery checked as soon as possible.

This is important especially if you have had to repeat the same process like three times in a week.

The issue might be because your car battery is bad or even because the alternator that should be used to recharge the car battery while you drive is damaged and is unable to perform its role effectively.

Method 3. Using A Generator

An inverter generator might seem to be just what you need to effectively charge your car battery.

Theoretically, they can perform the charging process faster than any other charging method but this is not what happens practically.

For starter’s its outlet is limited to producing a maximum of 8 amps. This means that it will take you about three or four hours to charge a normal car battery.

  • The generator’s RPM works to limit the voltage of the Direct Current’s output. You will only be able to charge your car battery without interruptions when the generator is running a low load, but this is not the same if it is running a high load.
  • The DC is recommended if you want to recharge your car battery for a short term. It is suitable if you are stranded and need emergency charging for the car battery. It can act as a trickle charge but when you ask more from the generator, you might damage the car batteries with overcharging.
  • The generator would suit your car battery if you run it on AC rather than on Direct Current. This offers a solution as you will be able to recharge the car battery fast and also in an accurate manner.
    A good generator is regulated and you will rarely have to deal with a scenario where the car battery is damaged due to overcharging. The generator is designed to cut off once it detects that the battery has attained full charge.

Method 4. Using A Power Supply

You can manually charge your car battery using a power supply that has been fitted with adjustable voltage and current limits.

If you go for this method, you should not leave the charging unattended as this would risk the health of the batteries.

This is because they can’t be regulated and hence you might have to deal with an overcharged car battery.

  • For this process you will need power supply, battery holder and two alligator clips. Of course the battery that needs to be charged should be present.
  • You can then proceed to connect the power supply to the battery using the battery holder, which has leads, and the two alligator clips.
  • You should then commence with the charging while you keep an eye on current and adjust it when you have to. The display on the battery holder will show you the level of current being transmitted in the particular circuit.

The DC power supply is suitable for this process since its voltage and current can be adjustable according to the needs of the recharging process.

Method 5. Using A Laptop Charger

For this process, you will need a laptop charger, jumper cables, a digital voltmeter and multimeter and the car battery to be charged.

The multimeter and voltmeter are needed for this process to check on the voltage and current that is being transmitted in the connection.

  • You should make sure the connection using the jumper cables is a safe way to avoid accidents that are quite dangerous when dealing with electricity.
  • A suitable resistor should be placed to limit the flow of current to a level that is below the adapter’s maximum output.
  • You should be prepared to be patient as the battery charger will not charge the car battery at a fast rate as would a normal type of battery charger.
  • You should also not leave the connection unattended as there will be no regulation when the car battery gets completely charged. You can check on it on intervals of thirty minutes even though the low current here is not likely to cause a significant damage on the car batteries.

This type of car battery recharging option should be your last resort when you have nowhere to turn to.

It is also quite an interesting experience as you will also be able to learn about resistors and their role in the circuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now you know five ways to recharge your dead car battery.

I have also listed some questions people often ask when it comes to charging a battery. I highly suggest you learn these questions below.

Q1: Can A Completely Dead Car Battery Be Recharged?

Yes, it can! A car battery is designed to be recharged and so can a completely dead car battery.

Like any other rechargeable battery, you can have yours recharged given you are using a dedicated car battery charger.

However, if yours is a dead battery meaning that it has outlived its expected life, then it would not be able to hold charge for long; it is advised that you buy a new car battery.

you can check the state of the battery through testing it or even recharging it then examining for just how long is it able to hold the charge.

A damaged car battery will not be able to hold charge like it used to earlier.

Q2: Can A Car Battery Recharge Itself?

No, it can’t! A car battery cannot recharge itself but it can get recharged when working in the car, which is quite different.

When it is in the car, it is connected to an alternator which may offer a significant amount of charge.

The alternator may not always be able to fully charge the car battery, but it will offer it adequate charge.

This can be done by igniting the car and leaving it on drive for about one hour, provided the alternator is in good condition.

Driving for longer periods also enables the recharging of the car by the alternator.

Q3: Do Car Batteries Charge While Idling?

Yes, it can! This can be done using the car alternator which recharges the car battery using electricity. You just have to leave your car on and the alternator will do the rest.

You can just place your car by the roadside put it in drive and wait for some time and your car battery will be recharged.

By the way, I wrote the article on the car battery charging time. This information will also help you to know each situation of recharging a battery time.

You should avoid draining the car battery by having the headlights, AC on or even the stereo while you charge it through this method.

Q4: Can I Charge A Car Battery With A Motorcycle Charger?

Yes, you can! you can charge your car battery with a motorcycle charger.

A car battery charger can be charged with any type of power source even, as in this case, with a motorcycle battery charger.

Although you will have to be patient as the charging might take longer than your ordinary car battery charger would.

However, it is not advisable that you use a car battery charger to charge the batteries of motorcycles or other smaller types of batteries; this might lead to explosive reactions due to the connection.


All in all, there quite a number of ways for charging your car battery, some of which you had no idea could manage the task.

For instance, very few people know that a laptop charger can be used to recharge a car battery.

You can also get to know the process by which car batteries can be recharged while you are driving.

You also get to recharge your car battery with a device in the car known as the alternator.

This can be done even as you are driving around or even as the car is idle but still on.

The methods mentioned above are interesting to know and you will have your car battery recharged and back to its normal working.

All you have to do is ensure that your car battery is able to hold enough charge and is not in a bad condition in need of replacement!


Written by Kane Dan

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