Do you need to learn how to jumpstart a car or find another way to charge a car battery? Generally, there are four ways to charge a car battery. Below are the instructions.
- Using Your Car: Your car should charge the battery whenever it is running. Every car has an alternator that produces electricity whenever the car is running because a belt connects a pulley on the alternator to a pulley on the flywheel. If your car battery dies while you are driving down the road, the alternator may not be producing electricity to charge the battery. If you have a car with a manual transmission, you may be able to push start the car to get it running. Driving around for about 30 minutes should charge the battery enough to bring it back to life. In order to conserve electricity, try to turn off any electrical equipment that you do not need, such as radios and lights. This will help direct as much electricity into the battery as possible.
- Jump Start: If you have an automatic transmission, a good option may be to jump start your car. (Caution: A charging battery produces hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is explosive, so allow proper ventilation and take all necessary steps to reduce the chance of sparks.) Here's how:
- Park a running car close enough to the car with a dead battery to attach the jumper cables. Turn off all unnecessary electronics, and turn off the ignition on both cars. Be careful that the two cars are not touching.
- Clamp the "+" (red) clamp to the + terminal of the dead vehicle.
- Clamp the "+" (red) clamp to the + terminal of the working car.
- Clamp the "-" (black) clamp to the - terminal of the working car.
- Clamp the "-" (black) clamp to an unpainted metal surface of the dead car to provide a solid ground connection. Do not clamp it to the "-" terminal of the dead car. Make sure that the cables will not be in the way of any moving parts.
- Start the working car and wait several minutes for the battery of the dead car to charge. Then, try and start it. If the dead car doesn't start, wait a few minutes and try again.
- Once the dead car starts, remove the jumper cables in the opposite order from when you put them on.
- Try to let it run for a while before turning the engine off. The battery needs time to charge from the alternator if you want to be able to start the car again later on.
- Battery Charger: Battery chargers plug into a normal 110 volt household outlet, and they charge your car battery while it is not connected to your car. Battery chargers can perform a quick charge, a slow charge, or a trickle charge, and they can be the most efficient method for charging your battery. Sometimes, a battery charger can revive an old battery that couldn't quite charge using the car's alternator.
- Solar Car Battery Charger: If you're going to leave your car unattended for an extended time, it may be helpful to purchase a small solar powered charger to maintain your battery while you're gone.
- A Helpful Hint: Sometimes a white buildup will form on the terminal due to corrosion. If this buildup gets between the battery terminal and the clamp, it prevents the electricity from transferring between the two, and the car acts like the battery is dead. To remove the corrosion, try scraping the terminal with a wire brush if you have one, or you can use steel wool. Otherwise, any acidic liquid (even soft drinks) can remove the buildup.
If you keep needing to charge your car battery, it may be time to check out car battery prices. Car battery prices range, and you can find the best car battery for you so you don't have to spend so much time dealing with your car battery problems.