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How to recharge a car battery? Tips for optimal charging

Most of us have seen some movie scene where jump-starting a car is one of the usual ways that is shown to recharge a car battery. But it is known to a very few that this isn’t the only way and it's not necessarily the best way.

Read this blog to find out how to charge a car battery the right way.

On average most batteries only need to be recharged after five years. But this directly depends on how well you take care of your car. If your car requires frequent recharges this can indicate that your car battery is of poor quality or that you are not maintaining your car well.  Some batteries have a charge indicator and you can find out with the help of an indicator.

Follow these few simple guidelines on how to recharge your battery yourself.

Use a Trickle Charger

This device delivers electricity to your battery from a power outlet in a slow, steady stream. You don't need to charge your car fast. A slow charge is much better, as batteries tend to hold the charge for a longer period with this method. The trickle charger has an electric cord with a plug and two jumper cables with alligator clips.

Clean the Battery Terminals

Make sure to check the terminals of the battery and clean them. Remember that you should not touch the terminals if they are covered with a whitish powder. This is dried sulfuric acid and it can burn your skin if you touch it with your bare hands. Always use a manual sandpaper pad to wipe the terminals, or get a wet cloth and apply a layer of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the cloth. Take care not to allow the solution to make contact with skin and clothing. Rub the terminals down with your removal system, and ensure that they are ready to receive the wires.

Remove the Cell Caps

Most of the car batteries have a series of small caps at the top. These are called cell caps, and they have to be removed before you can use a battery charger. These caps are either on the very top of the battery or under a yellow strip which can be peeled on and off, some may have no caps at all. If your battery does have cell caps, they must be removed before you begin charging, otherwise, the gases created by charging will not be able to escape into the atmosphere.

Attach the Charger Cables

When you are attaching the cables or the wires to the battery terminal make sure that the car is switched off. The charger will have two wires. The red wire has to be connected to the red or positive terminal (it might be labeled the POS terminal on the battery). The other is connected to the negative terminal or the terminal marked as NEG. Please remember the two wires shouldn’t and cannot touch each other. If they touch the wires will spark causing the ignition of hydrogen gas that surrounds the battery. This can cause nasty burns or even an explosion.

Turn on the Charger

Once both the terminals are connected the next step is to connect the charger to the electric outlet. Turn on the current and the battery will charge itself. Leave the charger on overnight. In the morning, turn off the charger and then check the reading on it. If the reading is less than an ampere then you can unplug the charger.

Check the Battery

After the recharging, check the battery to see if it works. It’s best to use a hydrometer to find out the amount of electric energy in the fluid or turn on the engine. If the battery still does not turn on, then you might have to get it replaced.

An important point to remember - Since battery acid is hazardous, be sure to take adequate precautions when handling old battery terminals to protect skin and clothing.

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