Car trickle charger – Tips and brief buying advice

By Oluwaseun Solomon
Publish on January 11, 2019

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Trickle chargers replenish car batteries and make sure you will be able to start the car easily and get going without facing any dead car battery issues in emergencies. So how to use it?

1. What is a car trickle charger

Car trickle charger is used to charge car batteries. It’s a device that adds charge to a car battery gradually. However, has discovered from various online forums that lots of people are debating how long a car trickle charger should be left attached to a car battery when being used to recharge it. This is not so surprising as there are currently various trickle chargers available on the market which many of these debaters have and use.

Knowing when and how to use these trickle charges goes a long way in helping to get the most out of them. If you are the type that does not drive your car very often, you would definitely need a device like a car trickle charger. Using these trickle chargers would ensure that during time of emergencies, you will be able to start the car easily and get going without facing any dead car battery issues. These trickle chargers help to replenish car batteries even they have not been in use for a long period of time.

2. How do you use a car trickle charger?

A trickle charge recharges a car battery in such a way that it gets to the optimum while making sure the car battery is not overcharged. It even discharges the battery a little bit on purpose sometimes just to intelligently avoid overcharging the battery.

Using a car trickle battery charger is very simple. A car trickle charger will typically have a power cable and two alligator clips that come built in it. Before connecting a trickle charge to your car battery, make sure to inspect all switches and buttons and have them adjusted and set properly. Also, make sure to verify the voltage and amperage of the charger and set it appropriately.

2.1. Get the car battery ready

To avoid things getting out of hand, be sure to take all precautions. First, pack your car in a place that is well ventilated and free from rainwater’s reach. Turn off the engine and remove the key.

2.2. Attach the cables

At this point, get the alligator clips attached to the battery terminals. Normally, you will find the charger has 2 clips: a black one and a red one. The red clip is the one for positive – so it should be attached to the positive terminal of the car battery. Connect this red one first and once you have done that, now go ahead and connect the black clip to the ground terminal.


The red clip of a trickle charger should be connected to the positive battery terminal and black to the ground terminal

Make sure you attach these clips solidly while doing the connection. Once you have everything set properly, go ahead and connect the trickle charger to an electric power source (or outlet).

Note: To avoid injuries and shocks be sure to keep your hands away from the clips and battery terminals before you turn on the trickle charger.

2.3. Turn on the trickle charger

At this stage, you would have had all the connection setup. Now check the charger’s manual to verify that you have followed all the correct procedures for the type of your car battery. After you have verified that everything is done right, turn on the charger. Now, read the amp meter on the charger carefully to know if the car battery is dead or fully charged already.

Also, properly inspect if the entire charging process is running well. The car battery is probably dead if you observe that the trickle charger couldn’t charge the car battery after about a minute. Nevertheless, if it complies, you can leave the trickle charger connected to the car battery like that for long without any negative impact. Else you have to remove the charger only after a few days. We will mainly suggest you just go through your trickle charger’s manual for the best practice.

2. Car trickle charger - A quick buyer’s guide

Are you planning to buy a car trickle charger? Have these 3 insights about car batteries and the trickle chargers:

  • A dead car battery is often as a result of either leaving the battery uncharged for a long time or overcharging the battery.
  • You should understand that your car battery loses charge daily if you do not drive the car frequently.
  • For multiple uses at a time, a 2A and 12V trickle charger is standard. 

How To Trickle Charge Your Car Battery

4. To trickle charge a dead car battery – How long will it take?

It will sort of take longer time to charge a dead car battery with a normal trickle charge operating at 2 amps. Some important factors to note which greatly determines the amount of charging time in this setup are:

  • The amp and size of your car battery
  • The amp of the trickle charger you are using or planning to use

For instance; while a high amp trickle charger like say the 40 amps charger now, will take only an hour or less to charge a car battery to successfully, a low amp charger might take up to 24 hours to charge the same battery properly.

5. Can a car trickle charger spoil my car battery?

In the past, trickle chargers could overcharge and destroy a car battery when left connected more than the appropriate time. But this is now a thing of the past as modern trickle chargers now have intelligent technology built into them that makes them automatically enter a float-mode when the battery is full. This eliminates the trickle chargers overcharging batteries completely.

That's almost everything you need before using a car trickle charger, find out more useful tips to take care of your beloved vehicle at Car Maintenance advice!

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Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes articles that are very informative and easy to read on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews here on Naijauto.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing ... See more




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