How to charge your car battery with a battery charger

Charging your vehicle’s battery is a much more efficient way of keeping your car running than jump-starting it once the battery has gone flat. It’s also much better for your battery in the long term.

Thankfully, with a battery charger to hand, it’s not too difficult to do it yourself. Just follow the simple steps below.

Check your charger

Always make sure you’ve read the operating instructions on your specific charger, and make sure that it’s fit for purpose.

If your vehicle has Stop/Start Technology, it will be fitted with either an EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) or an AGM battery (Absorbent Glass Mat), so you’ll need a smart charger to charge these types of battery safely.

Before you start charging, ensure the battery terminals are clean and free from corrosion. If not, clean the terminals before charging, as this helps to ensure a good connection.

Get connected

With that prep work done, you can now connect your charger to the battery. Some manufacturers may advise disconnecting the battery during charging, so always check your owner’s handbook before you continue and follow their recommendations.

Ensure the charger is switched off, then you should connect the red positive (+) lead to the positive (+) terminal on your battery. Always connect the black negative (-) lead to the negative (-) terminal on the battery last. Ensure the charger is situated away from the battery and switch the charger on to commence charging.

Keep a close eye on the charger, and once your battery is fully charged, switch the charger off and disconnect it from the mains. Make sure you disconnect the negative lead first, then the positive lead last.

And that’s it. Your vehicle should be charged and ready to go.

If you need to charge your battery, you can find battery testers and chargers on the Green Flag Shop.

Scott Wilson is vehicle and customer data insight manager for Green Flag.

7 comments on “How to charge your car battery with a battery charger

  1. Joe Vallance 07/05/2020 1:39 PM

    I use a small to up battery charge from sun light I no it will not fully charge a flat battery but hope it keep it charged.

  2. Keith Swift 27/05/2020 6:03 PM

    Remember to make sure the distilled water in the cells are at the coorect level.

  3. David 19/06/2020 8:32 PM

    The Ford Focus 2012 model should NOT be charged whilst connected to car terminals unless you want to damage the CPU
    IF you wish to leave battery in vehicle than disconnect the earth terminal move away from battery then connect live first and then negative terminal on battery NOT the earth cable
    This should not damage any electrical parts

  4. Mahad Mirza 25/08/2020 8:56 AM

    When your battery gets discharged completely and you would like to recharge it, charger which could work slowly but effectively, and which can cause no damage to your automobile battery.

  5. Adam Golightly 14/09/2020 11:05 PM

    It was interesting to learn about how an AGM or EFB battery can be in a car with stop and start technology and in order to be safe, they need to be used with a smart charger. My cousin has been having a lot of problems with his car battery because he has to jump start it a bunch and get help a lot. He has been thinking about getting a battery from a professional so that he can charge it or replace it easily.

  6. Robert cattle 27/11/2022 5:46 PM

    I have Honda jazz 2017 with AGM battery which needs a boost.
    Can I charge it in car or must I disconnect all terminals……if do this will my electronics not like the disconnect. Please

  7. Henry Killingsworth 26/01/2024 7:12 PM

    You made an interesting point when you mentioned that it is important to make sure the terminals are clean before charging a battery. Would it be a good idea to use a toothbrush when cleaning a battery terminal? I would think that it would be a good idea to use something with bristles that can remove dirt and grime that are on the battery terminals.

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