Auto Repair Blog

Published 07:00 AM, Tue January 5, 2016

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How long should you charge a car battery?
Few things are more frustrating than getting into your car only to find that the engine won’t start. Often, the problem is as simple as a dead battery. Although this is obviously inconvenient, you can always attempt to jump start the car in order to revive the dead battery. This is assuming you have jumper cables, another vehicle with a working engine and some basic knowledge of how battery recharges work.

If you’ve never jumped a dead battery before, you may have a few questions. For example: How long does it take to charge the battery? How long should you give it before trying to power the engine and get back on the road—and at what point do you throw in the towel and admit that there might be a deeper issue with the car engine?

Jumping a Dead Battery: Birdseye View

To start the process of re-charging the battery,  you’ll first need to get the good car and the bad car as close together as possible. Then, you’ll attach the red/positive cable to the battery terminal in the good car and then to the dead one. You’ll also do the same with the black/negative cable.

Now here is where you’ll want to time things. Turn on the engine in the good car and wait two minutes. Then turn on the bad/dead one and wait an additional two minutes. From there you’ll remove the cable in the reverse order at which you put them on, and you’ll let the car run for two more minutes before you get back on the road.

What if That Doesn’t Work?

So what happens if that doesn’t work? If that’s the case, there may be something else wrong with your vehicle.

Some possibilities for this scenario include:

  • The terminals on your car battery may be corroded and in need of a deep cleaning.
  • Your battery may simply be very old, and beyond the point at which it can be repaired—in which case, of course, it will need to be replaced.
  • There may be a problem elsewhere in the engine—with the alternator, a blown starter, or something else.

Obviously, there are times when a battery recharge is not only possible, but fairly straightforward. So long as you know what you are doing, it shouldn’t take but a few minutes to recharge the dead battery. But if you are still unsure about the process, you may want to request help as it can be dangerous.

If the problem turns out to be something more serious than a dead battery, you’ll want to take your car to your local Meineke Car Care Center, where the problem can be diagnosed and repaired as quickly as possible.


  • MarcusYang

    The battery life is very important when it comes to enjoying your ride. The article helps to understand the things that need to be followed in order to keep the battery in good condition. Great job by the author!

    • joe smith

      “The battery life is very important when it comes to enjoying your ride?” lol wow really? ya think? PS if “The article helps to understand the things that need to be followed in order to keep the battery in good condition,” it shouldn’t be title HOW LONG SHOULD YOU CHARGE A DEAD CAR BATTERY.

      Crappy job by the author!

  • JoeBeach

    You didn’t answer the question of how long it takes to charge a battery

    • joe smith

      Gotta love those non-answers lol. Sadly this is typical. I’m amazed how hard it is to find a straight answer to this simple, although it can of course vary depending on various things……but then just say that. Something like (hypothetical example): “typically just a minute or 2, but if the battery is completely dead, as much as 5-10 mins, but if it takes longer, it’s probably beyond hope and you need a new one.” Fill in the right numbers and how hard is that?

  • pam221967

    okay, i think i’m going to ask a question i already know the answer to but here i go, the battery out of the blue just did not start one evening, so we jumped it and all was fine, for a bite, a week or so after it began to each time we started the car the battery was dead, anyway, okay i’m a girl—woman and i do have some brains with mechanics, my husband ? not so much so instead of listening to me about what needed to be done, and that being, first get the crap off the battery terminals,, clean it i said, then if that does not work look into the starter or altenator or even fuses. but he decided to have a friend ????? look at it and instead of cleaning it he just hooked it up to a charger and it’s been charging know for 3 days, am i wrong or is this way to much.