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How To Charge A Car Battery

Updated on March 18, 2015

Why Won't My Car Start?

If your car suddenly won't start or is slow to start, you may have an issue with your vehicles battery. A battery that is low on charge will give your car a slow start or it may not start at all. You should have your battery tested at your closest auto parts store or mechanic shop. If your battery is tested and is diagnosed as bad it will not hold a charge and you will need to purchase a new battery. However, if your battery is diagnosed as still good but the voltage is low, you may be able to simply charge your battery and continue using it.

Battery charger clamps
Battery charger clamps | Source

How To Charge A Car Battery

You can have your vehicles battery charged at most auto repair shops or auto parts stores which will require leaving your vehicle at the shop while they charge the battery. Or you can charge the battery yourself at home by using a commercially available battery charger.

How To Use A Battery Charger

To use a battery charger to charge your vehicles battery is quite simple. No tools are required, just the battery charger is all that is needed.

  1. Pull the hood release inside the car.
  2. Open the hood by releasing the latch under the hood and hold it up using the hood prop.
  3. Locate your battery. Some vehicles may have a cover over the battery or are located in a difficult to reach spot (some vehicles batteries are located underneath the backseat or in the trunk!).
  4. Plug in your battery charger to an outlet (an extension cord may be required depending on how far away the outlet is to your vehicle).
  5. Connect the chargers clamps to the corresponding battery terminals (positive or red to positive and negative or black to negative).
  6. Switch on the battery charger and adjust to a low or medium charging rate. The battery will then begin charging.
  7. Let the battery charge for about an hour.
  8. Once the battery is charged, turn the charger off and disconnect the power supply.


Working with electricity can be very dangerous. Please use caution when working on a vehicle and use appropriate safety gear.

After Charging Your Battery

As long as your vehicles charging system is working properly, your battery should maintain its charge as you use it. If your vehicle continues to have problems starting, you should have your battery tested again. If the battery is still testing as good, you could possibly have another issue which could be diagnosed by a certified auto repair shop.


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