How to Use a Car Battery Charger

Mechanic Removing Battery from Car

Life doesn’t always go how you expect so it’s never convenient when your car battery dies in New Lenox. The best way to avoid your charger dying is to use a car battery charger. But the two most important things for you to know are how to use a car battery charger and how long to charge a car battery. Learn more with us below so you know what to do when your car battery needs a little extra help.



Prepping the Car Battery Charger 

If the battery still has some juice, it’s likely that a good jolt from the charger will get it going again. Keep in mind that most car batteries are easy to access, but if you have one that’s located under the fender, in the trunk, or under the seat, you may need additional tools or help from a service expert near Chicago. Always be safe when maintaining your vehicle so if you’re unsure, you can always reach out to our service center experts for help.

What Are the Types of Car Battery Chargers? 

There are three main types of car battery chargers: charger, maintainer, and restorer. Every type serves a specific purpose: 

  • Charger: Typically, chargers use a low-amp charge to fully recharge a car battery in up to 24 hours, although they can be found in different outputs. You can also find portable car battery chargers to keep on hand during long trips outside of Hammond. When using a car battery charger, you’ll need to keep an eye on the battery’s charge level, or you can cause irreparable damage by overcharging the unit. 
  • Maintainer: As the name suggests, maintainers will keep tabs on the battery’s charge level, and stop charging when the charge is full. These are great for providing continuous power without overcharging the battery. If you’re an outdoorsy type, you can pick up a solar-powered maintainer, which will allow you to listen to music from your car while maintaining the battery’s charge. 
  • Restorer: Car batteries can begin to formulate lead sulfate crystals when they run low on charge or fail altogether. This build-up of lead sulfate crystals can prevent the battery from ever reaching a full charge again. This is what restorers prevent; they detect battery sulfation and use a desulfator to restore the battery to its former self. A restorer is a great additional accessory for your battery, and most provide an output to charge your battery as well. 

Important Note: If you find yourself relying on a battery charger often, that’s a sign of a bigger issue that should be addressed.

How to Charge a Battery 

First, make sure the charger is off. Then, follow these general instructions (or the instructions that come with your charger):

  1. Attach the charger’s positive cable to the battery’s positive terminal.
  2. Attach the charger’s negative cable to the battery’s negative terminal. 
  3. Adjust the charger to its slowest charge rate.
  4. Then, power on the charger and set a timer.
  5. When you’re ready to disconnect the charger, make sure it’s off first
  6. Then, detach the cables. 

How Long to Charge a Car Battery 

That depends on the output of the charger, as well as the condition of your car battery. If the voltage of the battery is less than 11.85, and you have a charger that supplies a 5-amp charger rate, it’ll take about 12 hours to fully charge your battery. If the charge rate of the charger is 10 amps, however, it’ll take about 6 hours to fully charge the battery. Those time estimates are for car batteries with 400-500 cold-cranking amps. The number of cold-cranking amps, as well as the battery’s voltage, affect charge times. Always refer to your owner’s manual for more information about the appropriate battery for your vehicle so you can better gauge the charging time needed for your car.

Get Battery Service or Replacement in Matteson! 

Taking care of your vehicle is important and a battery that won’t hold a charge could allude to a bigger issue so be sure to contact us at Sutton Ford with your maintenance concerns. Otherwise, now that you know how to use a portable car battery charger, you’ll be better prepared if the time comes that your battery needs some help. In the meantime, feel free to check out our Battery Details for more information! 


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