How to charge a car battery [with & without jumper cables]

We’ll be using a portable car battery charger here and you don’t have to remove the battery form the car. Some chargers needs to be plugged into a wall socket to do this.

If you don’t have a battery charger you can skip to the next part where we demonstrate charging a car battery with jumper cables.

How to charge a car battery with a portable charger

Sometimes the battery in your car or truck can go dead while you are away from home. If this happens and you need to charge the battery back up, a portable car battery charger is the best way to do it.

It takes only 2 minutes, you don’t have to wait for another vehicle to arrive and most importantly its 100% safe without the risk of sparks another hazards.

Materials needed :

  • Car Battery charger

1. Park the car and open the hood

Park the car and switch off all lights and other electronics. Take the key and put inside your pocket. This will make sure you don’t get electrocuted from the car’s battery in the next steps. After turning everything off, open the hood of your car.

2. Take the battery charger and make sure its switched off

Take your portable car battery charger and make sure its in power off position. You can place the portable battery at a convenient place, on ground or even under the hood as there is no risk of sparks or other electric hazards with them.

3. Connect the red jumper cable to the positive terminal

Take the red jumper cable and connect it to the positive terminal of the battery. The positive terminal of the car battery will also be marked in red color to identify easily.

4. Connect the black jumper cable to the Negative terminal

Take the black jumper cable and connect it to the negative terminal of the battery. The negative terminal of the car battery will also be marked in black color to identify easily.

Note that when you’re using another car’s battery to jump start your car, we connect the black jumper cable to a bare metal surface but with a battery charger you can directly connect it to the negative terminal of the battery.

5. Turn on the battery charger

Next turn the on switch of the battery charger.

6. Start the car

Get inside the car and start it. You’ll see that the car will start without any hassle with the help of the car battery charger. Keep the engine running and don’t turn if off.

7. Remove the cables and charger

Take off the jumper cables from the car battery. You don’t have to follow any sequence and its totally safe to remove them in any order you like. Store the car charger in a safe place and you’re good to go.

Step by Step Video

How to charge a car battery with another car using jumper cables

Materials needed :

  • Another car with a good battery
  • Jumper cable

Step 1 – Park the 2 cars facing each other

Park the 2 cars facing each other and they should not touch each other. Its better if you can find another car the same as your car or batteries having the same capacity.

Step 2 – Turn off both engines and pop the hoods

Turn off the engines of both cars and take out the keys. Make sure you’re switching off lights and other electronics as well. This is a safety measure to prevent you from getting electrocuted in the next steps.

Step 3 – Locate the batteries of both cars

Next step is to find the batteries of the 2 cars and identify their positive and negative terminals. Positive terminal will be marked with red and negative terminal with black.

Step 4 – Connect the Jumper cables

Connect the jumper cables in the following order to avoid sparks and other hazards that can occur. Make sure you’re not touching the ends of jumper cables with each other as well.

  1. Connect a red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the “Dead battery”.
  2. Keep the black end of the jumper cable on a plastic surface for the moment. We’ll be attaching this as the last step.
  3. Now take the other 2 ends of the jumper cable and attach them to the positive and negative terminals of the “Good Battery”.
  4. Take the black cable we kept on a plastic and attach it to a bare metal piece of the car. The engine will have many places where you can attach this. Make sure you’re never attaching this to the negative terminal of the battery.

The bare piece of metal should not be attached to an electrical component and not a moving part and away from the battery. This metal piece will act as the ground in this circuit.

Some cars have a specifically designated place in the car to attach this negative jumper cable. You can find it in the owner’s manual.

Step 5 – Start the engine of the car with Good battery

After fixing the jumper cables properly, its time to start the engine with good battery. Keep it running for 2 minutes.

Step 6 – Try to start the engine of the car with Dead battery

After allowing the dead battery to charge for about 2 minutes, its time to start it. If you can’t start it, let it charge for another 2 minutes and try to start it again.

Step 7 – Remove the jumper cables safetly

Now its time to remove the jumper cables in the following order. Make sure to follow this exact order to avoid sparks. Again until all 4 terminals of the jumper cables are removed, make sure not to touch them with each other.

  1. First remove the negative end of jumper cable attached to the bare metal of the car with “Dead battery”
  2. Then remove the positive terminal attached to the “Dead battery”
  3. Remove the red cable attached to the “Good battery”
  4. Finally remove the black cable attached to the “Good battery”

Step by Step Video

Common reasons for a Dead car battery

If you’ve ever experienced a dead car battery, then you know that it can be frustrating to say the least. Whether you just bought your car and the battery was already on its last legs, or it died after some time of use, having to wait hours or even days before AAA can show up to help isn’t fun at all.

Here are 7 of the most common reasons why your car’s battery might die so that you can avoid this happening to you in the future.

  1. Not switching off lights when the car is parked.
  2. Old battery (More than 4 years old)
  3. Exposure to hot and cold temperature
  4. Parasitic draw – Components of the car drawing power from the battery even when the car is turned off
  5. Loose connections of the battery
  6. Corrosion of the terminals
  7. Faulty alternator preventing charging of the battery when the car is running
  8. Long term disuse

Loose Connection of the battery terminals

There are two ports sticking out of your battery, one negatively charged and the other positively charged. There are wires that connect to each of these ports that run from the battery to the starter.

Sometimes the screws or bolts that connect the ports to the cables can come loose and the connection breaks. When this happens, your car will not start at all, since there is no power going to the starter.

Corrosion of the terminals

Corrosion on battery terminals is another very common cause of a car not starting . Corrosion, which often takes the form of a white powder (lead sulfate), adds resistance, reducing the amount of electrical current that can reach the motor.

Periodic cleaning of the terminals during your scheduled preventive maintenance will prevent oxidation from forming and will help your battery have a longer useful life. It is important to have this care carried out by a specialist, since corrosion dust is toxic and should not be inhaled, ingested or come into contact with the skin.

Faulty Alternator

Battery problems can quickly arise from other alternator problems. If your alternator is not working properly then it will no longer be able to recharge your battery. You will be able to start your car, you will drive for a while, but your car will turn off at any moment.

The battery will not be able to start the engine again and you will be left halfway through your trip. The alternator powers almost all of your car’s electrical systems once your vehicle is started and also recharges the battery.

So if your alternator isn’t doing its job, not only will your battery not fully recharge, but your car could die while you’re driving because it’s not making enough power.

Long term disuse

If your car has been sitting idle for a long time , usually at least two weeks or more, then your battery could have lost enough power that you can no longer start the engine.

After a battery starts a car, the alternator takes over and powers the electrical systems while recharging the battery. As long as a car is running fairly frequently, the battery will continually recharge and be ready to go.

However, if your car will not run for several days, the battery will slowly deplete and there will come a time when it will not have enough power to send the necessary voltage to the starter.

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