If you have been away or on a vacation and your car battery sits idle for days, the battery can become dead. There is a safe way that will allow you to recharge the battery and bring it to life again if there are no other problems.
Moreover, in desperation or re-awakening your battery or giving it some “extra power,” some people go off the track and overcharge the car battery, ending its life.
Not charging or overcharging the battery has an impact on the car. You do not have to worry yet.
We have some valuable insight to enlighten you about when can car battery be recharged or overcharged- and what you should do in such cases.
Can The Car Battery Be Recharged
If you are trying to start your car and the engine does not pick up, either the battery is not optimally charged or is completely dead. Usually, people fear killing their batteries with extra volts, so they incorrectly undercharge them with the battery voltage below the adequate operational limit.
Mainly, a car battery functions well at 12 or more volts. To be precise, the battery turns dead if the volts are below 12- 12.4 volts. However, an efficient car battery would not require a recharge before 5 years with proper maintenance.
If your car battery requires frequent recharges, it may indicate that the quality is subpar or you are not upkeeping its maintenance. Nowadays, most car batteries have a charge indicator that changes color (clear or yellow) when it needs to be recharged.
How To Safely Recharge A Battery?
Now that you know it is time to recharge your car battery, it is better to take it to a professional. If you want to do it yourself, here is how to recharge a battery safely:
(**Batteries acid is dangerous, always protect your skin and clothing when holding an old battery or its terminals**)
- Start with slowly charging the battery using a trickle charger that ensures a slow yet steady voltage flow. (A trickle charger comes with an electric cord with two jumper cables with alligator clips and a plug.)
- Check the battery terminals and then only clean them. If the terminals have whitish powder- that is sulfuric acid, and you should NEVER touch the terminals with bare hands as it’s incredibly hazardous.
- Remove the small cell caps from the car battery. If your battery has only yellow strips and no cell caps, peel or remove those strips.
- The car should be turned off before you attach the wires. Two wires go on each battery terminal. The red one goes to the red or positive battery terminal, and the other one goes to the negative or NEG terminal.
Caution: the two wires should NEVER touch each other, as it will ignite a spark and may result in burns, or even worse- an explosion.
- After safely connecting the terminals, please turn on the charger after connecting it to the electric supply.
- Turn on the car/ engine to see if the battery works- if it does not, you will have to get it replaced.
Can The Car Battery Be Overcharged? If So, How To Prevent It
Two main reasons that result in the car battery overcharge:
- Human error – you misuse the battery charger or try to charge the battery way too quickly, or leave the charger unattended for too long
- Regulator issues – the internal voltage regulators (built in the alternator) that come with most modern car batteries supply a controlled voltage when the car is running. If the regulator breaks or fails, an uncontrolled supply to the battery occurs, resulting in an overcharge.
To avoid overcharging the battery and killing it:
- Learn the proper use of the battery charger
- Keep a check on the car battery, especially if it is getting old
- Avoid keeping the car in too much heat
- Replace the battery within 3-5 years
Can A Car Battery Recharge Itself?
No, that is not possible. Car batteries need an alternator for recharge, and they cannot charge themselves.
With adequate maintenance and care, you can avoid the hassle of car battery recharge/overcharge altogether. Timely battery evaluation and replacement are crucial to upkeep the car’s running and safety.
Because when the car’s battery is at stake, your life is in danger too.