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When and How to Recharge a Car Battery

As a battery starts to age with the passage of time, its charge becomes weak causing slow engine cranking. A battery might need an occasion jump for starting it, especially when the cars are used for short runs or cold weather. A weak battery can be simply replaced but with a inexpensive recharger. One can nurse it along for weeks months or even years.

If the dashboard warning light shows on then there is a charging system fault. It has to be repaired immediately as recharging will not make it work. If the battery is refillable, the caps should be removed and a damp rag should be laid over the opening while recharging. If it is sealed having a charge-indicator window in the top, only the charger should be used if the indicator is green or dark. If the indicator is clear or yellowish then the battery should be replaced.

A trickle charger should be used to recharge a battery. It is a fairly inexpensive device which is designed to charge a battery at a slow rate. The trickle charger has an electric outlet cord and two wires with alligator clips. One has a red jacket and the other has a black or green jacket. The ignition of the car should be turned off. This has to be made sure first as it is the first important step. The red clip has to be connected to the battery’s positive terminal marked with POS or + and the other has to be connected to the negative terminal marked with Neg or -.

One has to be very careful not to let the metal clips touch each other or any other metal. In such case, they may spark causing an explosion of the hydrogen gas emitted by the battery. That can be dangerous. When the charger is connected to the battery, the charger should be plugged into the electric outlet and turned on. The charger should be run for a few hours or overnight. The charger should be left running until its meter gives a reading of less than 1 ampere. After that, the charger should be unplugged battery should be disconnected.

After recharging, the battery should be checked with hydrometer if it has removable caps. It is an inexpensive device with a float that indicates electric energies in the fluid. If the battery is sealed, it should be tested by starting the engine. After recharging, if the battery still fails to start the engine, a try should be given to jump start the engine. If the engine can be jump started and the charging system light or ammeter indicates normal operation, then it means that the battery is bad replacing it.