How to Hook Up a Car Battery Charger

by John Stevens J.D.

Finding that the battery in your car does not have sufficient power to start your car can be an unpleasant and inconvenient experience. Under optimal circumstances, a battery can be charged with jumper cables attached to a fully charged battery. However, even if a fully charged battery is available, it may not be possible to connect the two batteries if there are space constraints. Properly using a battery charger can solve this problem. Follow the steps below to hook up a car battery charger to your car's battery.

Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush. Wear protective eye goggles to ensure that no battery residue enters the eyes.

Determine whether the battery is a 6 or 12 volt battery by checking the battery label located either on top or on the side of the battery.

Locate the switch on the battery charger which determines whether a 6 volt or 12 volt battery will be charged.

Set the voltage selector switch to the appropriate position.

Ensure that the battery is in a well-ventilated area to minimize the risk of battery explosion.

Locate the black-colored alligator clip attached to the battery charger.

Attach the black-colored alligator clip to the negative battery post. The negative battery post can be identified by looking for a "---" symbol next to the battery posts.

Locate the red-colored alligator clip attached to the battery charger.

Attach the red-colored alligator clip to the positive battery post. The positive battery post can be identified by looking for a "+" symbol next to the battery posts.

Plug the battery charger into an appropriate electrical outlet.

Wait for the voltage gauge on the battery charger to reach the appropriate voltage of the battery, i.e., 6 or 12 volts.

When the battery has reached the desired charge, unplug the battery charger from the electrical outlet.

Remove the red-colored alligator click from the positive battery terminal.

Remove the black-colored alligator click from the negative battery terminal.


  • close Before using a battery charger, read all instructions and warning printed on, or accompanying, the battery charger, the battery and the vehicle using the battery. Only charge a battery in a well-ventilated area, as batteries produce explosive gases. Wear protective eye goggles when working with a battery.

Items you will need

About the Author

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.

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