How to Charge a Car Battery

how to charge your car batteryWith a lifespan of up to five years, a car battery is one component that most vehicle owners overlook when completing their regular maintenance checks. It is however the leading cause of vehicle breakdown in the UK, with flat car batteries an issue for drivers come summer and winter. During the cooler months your vehicle’s battery has to work harder, whilst when the weather warms other challenges, like overheating, become apparent.

As with any vehicle issue however, knowledge is power! In this guide, we aim to help you understand the importance of car battery charging and replacement, as well as the signs you have to look out for as your battery comes to the end of its life.

The importance of your car battery

It’s pretty simple – your battery is the difference between your car working and not working. The battery has the responsibility of keeping all the electrical components of your vehicle on even when your vehicle’s engine is switched off. It also starts and keeps the engine ticking over to help your vehicle get from A to B.

Making sure your battery is charged or replaced when necessary will ensure your vehicle remains in good working order and problems like sluggish starts and power failures don’t occur.

Time to charge

All batteries lose charge and eventually need replacing. As we mentioned, car battery replacement is generally required every three to five years, depending on the battery type and car usage. It may however require charging before this at various points.

Your car battery can easily be drained. All it takes is for you to accidentally leave on an interior light or the radio overnight and your battery will be dead by morning. Leaving your car idle for a long period of time can also diminish a battery’s charge. A flat battery however isn’t the end of the world. Investing in a good quality car battery charger is a great option, and it’ll mean you never have to be stranded with a flat battery again. The type of charger you require depends on which kind of battery you have. Smart chargers are required for cars with start/stop technology enabling AGM or EFB batteries. Whilst a conventional charger should be suitable for many other battery types.

To charge all you need to do is disconnect the battery, connect the charger and wait. Charging times vary from vehicle to vehicle. Before you do try charging, check the lead terminals. Dirty or damaged terminals will prevent successful contact and battery operation. When cleaning dirty lead terminals, remember safety first! Make sure you are wearing the right eye protection and gloves before disconnecting and cleaning the terminals. Applying a simple mixture of baking soda and water with a toothbrush or wire brush will remove even stubborn corrosion.

Signs you need to replace

Even the best quality batteries don’t last forever and there’s usually just one sign that your battery has reached the end of its life. If your car battery is consistently losing charge, replacement will be required.

If you think that your battery requires replacement, contact our team direct. Here at Collison Motoring Services, we provide free battery checks and reports, and can even assist with replacement should it be required. You don’t have to book an appointment to claim your free battery check and report, simply visit our Waterlooville garage.