Charging your car battery with a trickle charger

Car maintenance

19 January 2021

Imagine the scene – you’ve got in your car, turned the key, but your car refuses to start. Sounds like you have a flat car battery on your hands. Not quite the start anyone needs to their day. There’s plenty of reasons why your battery might be flat: you may have accidentally left the lights on, the battery might be on its last legs, or you may have a faulty fuse somewhere.

Sometimes your car might just need a jumpstart to get it back up and running. However, this may only fend off the problem for a day or two before you’re back to square one. It’s a much better idea to keep your car battery in good condition. In many cases charging up your car battery will be the answer. In this guide, we’ll take a look at trickle chargers, which will help keep your car battery healthy and prevent a breakdown and a call to your car insurance provider.

Man charging his car battery

What is a trickle charger?

A trickle charger is the best option to help you keep your car battery from going flat. They provide a low voltage charge to your battery to bring it back up to speed. This slow charge is a better long-term option than quickly topping your battery back up. It’ll help prevent overcharging your battery and will keep it in better condition in the long run.

It’s worth noting that trickle chargers won’t work for batteries that are completely dead. So, if your battery has completely discharged, you may need to perform a jumpstart in the first instance. Once you’ve done that you can keep your battery in a good condition with the trickle charger.

There’s three main varieties of car battery, so it’s important you check what one your car has before you try to use a trickle charger.

How to use a trickle charger?

Using a trickle charger is surprisingly easy. When you decide to top up your car’s battery, simply follow these steps:

  • Park your car in a safe, well-ventilated environment
  • Turn off the engine and remove the car key from the ignition
  • Find an ideal ground location – ideally, you’ll be looking for a spot of bare metal on the car’s frame
  • Connect the red clip to the positive terminal on the car battery
  • Connect the black clip to the negative terminal on the battery
  • Turn on the charger and leave it to charge for the appropriate amount of time.

Of course, your car’s handbook and the trickle charge guide will help you if you get stuck at any point. If you’re unsure as to what you’re doing it never hurts to bring in a professional who can help you through these steps.

How long does it take to trickle charge a car battery?

Trickle chargers are designed to slowly charge your car. This will help keep your car’s battery in good condition for years to come. However, the length of time this takes can vary depending on the condition of the battery.

Generally speaking, trickle chargers should take around 48 hours to fully charge your car’s battery.

What are the benefits of using trickle chargers?

Beyond just keeping you battery charged, trickle chargers have a few added benefits. Firstly, they are generally easy to operate, meaning you don’t need to be an expert mechanic to get the best out of them. Additionally, because of how a trickle chargers work, you’ll be able to prevent your battery from overheating.

They’re a great tool to have if you have an older or second-hand car. Routinely charging your battery will help keep it in good condition and reduce the chances of a flat or dead battery.

While no one likes waking up to a dead battery, it’s good to know there’s steps you can take to avoid this problem. Keeping your car’s battery topped up with a trickle charger might just be the thing that stops you from an unwelcome surprise in the morning!