If you have ever dealt with a dead battery, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. You wake up the next morning, prepared to get to work early and only to find you can’t take your car with you as you just can’t get it to start.
What’s a Dead Battery Anyway?
A dead battery will leave your headlights on overnight and there wouldn’t be any voltage on the battery. Imagine walking to your car, and you try to start it but nothing happens.
No interior lights showing, not even the radio is squeaking. And after checking, you found you have your headlight on and now your battery is super-dead.
In this case, your charger won’t take any charging because the charge cycle is killed and cannot start on the battery.
One of the most effective ways of charging this kind of dead battery is to hook up another battery to it and get the voltage transfer across. If you have another battery that’s fully charged, all you’ll need is a set of small jumper cables to connect both.
Use the cables to connect both the positive and negative points across both batteries and allow some hours to pass. After some hours have passed (you can do this for an hour if you are in a hurry), you are ready to charge the battery with a regular battery charger.
At the end of this exercise, you should see some volts showing up on the once dead battery. To be sure, you can use a test to see the exact points on it.
This is a good summary of how to charge a dead car battery with a charger.
How Long Can Your Battery Last?
The lifespan on a car battery is largely dependent on how it’s maintained. With a proper maintenance culture, you can enjoy your car battery for up to 7 years, assuming you use it regularly and you often charge it properly.
If you put the battery through excessive deep-cycles, or the battery itself is having charging problems or corroding happening to it due to lack of usage, you can expect the battery not to last for a couple years but not up to 7 years in this case.
Different Ways of Charging Your Battery
There are so many different ways of charging a dead car battery. Each one varies in effectiveness and the one you go with depends on your situation.
However, it’s important to state at this point that not all of these methods a great. Some are fine for quick fixes while some are better if you want your battery to last longer.
You’ll learn which one is the best option among all these at the end of the following paragraphs.
Let’s get start:
1. Use a Second Battery + Some Accessories
This is one of the most popular methods of charging dead batteries. Actually, it’s more of boosting your battery than charging it.
If you want to jumpstart a super-dead battery, with the hope of charging it later, a second battery is a good option for this. All you will need along with that are jumper cables.
Simply connect the positive mouth of the cables to the battery positive point and do the same for the negative axis too. Allow at least an hour before disconnecting. This should not be done for frozen batteries though, as that may lead to the battery exploding.
2. Use Distilled Water
Most handymen use this method and I’ve seen a couple of drivers getting a good charge on their battery after a few hours.
Usually, the distilled water will revive a battery with a low electrolyte level, which then activates a wider reaction area, enough to push your car engine forward once more.
Although this is a method, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you have with you a dozen tablets of Aspirin, you can revive your car battery with that along with a glass bottle of warm water.
Dissolve these tablets into the bottle of water, mix and pour equal amount in each cell of your battery. Ensure the plates are properly covered with this mixture and you are good to go.
4. A Dedicated Charger
While all the methods above are good as quick fixes, the best way to return your battery to a working state is to use a dedicated charger.
Since your alternator is completely dead at this point, it’ll be pointless trying to drive around with the intention of reviving the battery with it.
A dedicated charger, on the other hand, has the capability to transfer electricity into the battery and charge it at a deeper level without causing any sort of damage. You can charge while the battery is still in the car, but it’s probably best to take it out as it’s safer.
If you don’t want to take any chances with your car battery or are looking for the more legitimate charging procedure, always use a smart battery charger instead of the above-mentioned options. It’ll ensure your battery last longer.
How to Prevent Dead Battery
Car batteries have cells that host the powerhouse which supplies your car engine with the power of motion. Each cell has varying levels of electrolyte and if one goes flat, it can destroy the others and render them flat too.
When this happens, there comes an internal short-circuit in which the battery is not able to hold or take a charge anymore. This is caused by leaving the battery uncharged/flat for a long period of time.
Therefore, the best way to prevent dead battery is to ensure your battery is always charged and not left to corrode or flat for too long.
How to Use a Portable Battery Charger
When using a battery charger, it’s important to mind some safety precautions. Some of these might be obvious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some of the things you should know before you charge your battery with a charger:
1. Charge the Battery Outside the Car
The first thing you want to do is to put out the battery and ensure it’s on the ground before connecting a charger to it. It should not be in the car or the bonnet before you start charging it.
2. Turn the Charger off After Charging
After you are done with charging the battery, you should turn of the charger immediately. While it may not have an obvious effect on your charger if you leave it on, you can ensure it lasts even longer by taking this step.
3. You Need to Protect Yourself
There are many things that can go wrong while trying to charge your car battery. In order to ensure you are well protected, it’s important to wear protective clothing and have some sort of eye protection in place.
Moreover, the battery should be far away from your face as much as possible. Another important precaution to take is to keep a considerable distance between the charger and the battery by using longer cables.
Lastly, if you are going to leave the battery to charge for longer, then don’t put it where you might easily kick it. Let it be out of the way but in a visible location.
4. Know the Battery Voltage
The first thing you should check is the battery voltage as this is important for determining the kind of charger you are going to use for charging the battery.
You can check the instruction booklet that comes with your battery for this. If it matches the DC output voltage on the charger, you are good to go. If not, you have to get one that matches.
5. Identify the Terminals on the Battery
If you are unsure what the negative and positive terminals are on your battery, you need to learn how to identify it so you don’t make mistakes while charging.
Typically, these will be marked by a recognizable symbol or letter. Most manufacturers will use -/N/black to identify the negative post while +/P/red will typically denote the positive post.
This will correspond the red and black tips on the cables you’ll connect to the battery.
Final Words on How to Charge a Dead Car Battery with a Charger
Now that you know how to charge your dead car battery, you are ready to drive into the streets with a renewed knowledge of your vehicle.
While it’s a safe thing to charge your battery anytime a situation like this comes up, you can do better by preventing this from happening in the first place.
As long as you don’t leave your battery flat for too long, you shouldn’t experience this problem. Also, proper maintenance culture will help you discover your battery needs some charger before it goes flat again.
For more article on batteries, go here: Best ATV Batteries.