How do you connect a trickle charger to your car battery?

I don’t use my car too often, so my friend gave me a trickle charger to keep my battery in shape. I’d like to use it this weekend, but I don’t know how to hook it up. What’s the best way to connect a trickle charger to my car’s battery?

Trickle chargers are great tools for keeping your battery in good condition. Luckily, they’re also easy to use! Follow these steps to safely connect your trickle charger to your car battery:
  • Step 1: Set the trickle charger voltage to the right setting for your battery. Most cars do best with 12 volts, but you should consult your owner’s manual or mechanic before starting.
  • Step 2: Scrub your battery terminals with steel wool to make sure it gets a good connection with the trickle charger. Make sure the car is off before you start.
  • Step 3: Connect the charger cables to your battery by first clamping the black (-) terminal to the battery, followed by the red (+) cable.
  • Step 4: Plug the trickle charger into an outlet and turn it on.
  • Step 5: Unplug it after two days—at most—to avoid any battery damage.
Congratulations! If you followed those steps, then your battery should be hooked up to your trickle charger. Since you don’t use your car too often, consider buying a floating charger for longer periods. Floating chargers are long-term trickle chargers, so you can keep them plugged in indefinitely without damaging your battery.
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Joshua Levy
Answered on Nov 23, 2021

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