How to Charge a Car Battery With an Electric Charger

Updated February 21, 2017

The battery in your car is made to provide power, and be recharged over and over again. And then one day you climb in behind the wheel, insert the key and hear a whirring noise. The car battery is dead. But don't worry. All you need are a few common household items and the information in this article, and you'll be back on the road in no time.

Wearing your safety goggles, check the condition of the car battery. Make sure the casing isn't cracked or otherwise damaged. Damaged batteries cannot be charged. They need to be replaced.

Use a wrench to remove the negative (-) battery cable from the terminal first. Remove the positive (+) cable last. Inspect the battery terminals and cable clamps for corrosion; clean if necessary with a wire brush.

Check the water level in a lead-acid battery. Fill it with distilled water if need be, but do not overfill.

Leave the electric battery charger "off." Connect the positive (+) cable of the charger to the positive battery terminal. Repeat the process with the negative (-) cable and terminal. If the charger has multiple voltage choices, set it at 12 volts. Plug the battery charger in and turn it on. A power light or a meter on the charger tells you the car battery is being charged.

Leave the car battery and the electric charger alone; don't touch them or the cables. When the charger has finished, an indicator light will tell you.

Wearing safety goggles once again, shut the charger off. Remove the negative (-) charger cable first, then the positive (+) cable. Hook the battery cables up again. The positive (+) cable gets connected to the positive battery terminal. The negative (-) cable gets connected to the negative battery terminal. Make sure the clamps are secured tightly to the battery terminals; don't overtighten.


Read the owner's manual for the electric battery charger so you're familiar with it.


Charge the car battery in a well-ventilated area away from sparks and open flames.

Things You'll Need

  • Car battery
  • Electric battery charger
  • Safety glasses
  • Combination wrench
  • Wire Brush
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About the Author

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.