Help & Advice

Back to results

Charging your Car Battery Guide + Video

Image for Charging your Car Battery Guide + Video article

Keeping your battery healthy and happy is crucial if you don't fancy getting stranded somewhere. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to charge your car's battery.

Charging your Car Battery

If you've found this article, chances are that your car battery has gone flat! If you don't have anyone around to jump start, or you've gotten a jump start and want to fully recharge your battery, you're in the right place!

Car batteries can go flat for a number of reasons. If you forget to turn your lights off when you park your car, or you leave your car parked for a long period of time, you might come back to find that the battery does not have enough charge left to start the car. Even if you jump start the car as a quick fix, it's a good idea to charge the battery properly to keep it in good condition.

Batteries don't last forever, though. If your battery is losing charge, it may have reached the end of its life. Halfords can check your battery for free and advise if a replacement is required.

How to charge your battery

  • What kind of battery? - Take a look at what kind of battery you have. If your car has start/stop technology, you'll have an AGM or EFB battery. These will need a 'smart' charger. A conventional charger is not suitable for these types of batteries. If you're not sure what kind of charger your battery might need, pop into store and we can help you out.
  • Check the contacts - Before you connect anything, take a look at the lead terminals coming out of the top of your battery, and the clamps that connect them. If they look dirty or corroded, you'll need to clean them before charging your battery. Take a look at our guide to checking and cleaning your car battery to do this.
  • Disconnect the battery - Once everything is clean, it's always a good idea to disconnect the battery before charging. If you disconnect your battery, you might need to reset your radio, seat positions and dashboard settings, so make sure you've got the security codes if you need them! Always disconnect the negative (usually black) lead first and reconnect it last. Otherwise, you could get a bit of a nasty shock when you touch the positive terminal and are grounded. The terminals are usually connected to the battery by a clamp, which is loosened or tightened by a bolt on the side. Undo the terminals (negative first, remember!) and move them to one side.
  • Connect the charger - Keep the charger as far from the battery as the cables will allow, and never leave the charger on top of the battery while it's charging! Connect the clamps of the charger to the terminals on the battery, matching positive to positive and negative to negative. Then, plug the charger in.
  • Turn on the charger - Now it's time to turn on the charger. Some chargers will turn off automatically when the battery is charged, but others will need to be disconnected. Check the manual for your individual charger to find out how long it will take and what you need to do.
  • You're done! - Once the battery is charged, unplug the charger and then disconnect the clamps. Then, reconnect the car battery (positive first and negative last, remember!) and away you go! If you're using a smart charger, there will be an indicator to show you when the battery is charged.

Things to remember:

Charging your battery is really simple, but remember that batteries can give off hydrogen gas while they're being charged - especially if they're being charged at a higher voltage by a fast charger. Keep the charger away from the battery, and make sure you don't leave anything on top of the battery that could be damaged.

And there you have it - hopefully now you're confident in charging your car battery, and you can get back on the road again! To take a look at our range of chargers, click here. If you need a new car battery then take a look here! For a free battery check, take a look at our guide or head to your local store.

View all Battery Chargers