It can often be confusing what to do with a new car battery first.
Should you charge them first and then use, or should you use them right away from the store?
Let me clarify this dilemma for you right away:
Does a car battery need to be charged when it is new?
Car batteries do not need to be charged when they are new because they were already charged in the factory before shipping. However, the manufacturing process requires them to be charged because of testing purposes and extending their life span.
Do new batteries come charged?
New car batteries come charged from the factory. They must be charged before hitting a dealer’s shelves to prevent degradation.
After the batteries are filled with the electrolyte solution, they are fully charged in the manufacturing process.
Depending on circumstances, batteries may or may not stay longer on shelves before customers buying them.
It’s always a good idea to purchase as a newer battery as possible because as they stay at the dealer’s shelves, they slowly discharging.
As they are discharging and without being charged again, plates start to oxidize, making the battery lose its capacity.
Until the early ’70s, lead-acid batteries came without electrolytes added before they were purchased.
After a customer purchase the battery, the customer or a seller fills the battery with the acid electrolyte solution, and you can use the battery right away.
The main reason is that stored that way, lead-acid batteries have an indefinite shelf life.
After that period, newer regulations came and new car batteries require to be filled with the electrolyte solution in the factories.
The new regulations are mainly there to protect people from not knowing to handle the acid and protect them from hurting themselves.
Should I run my car after installing a new battery?
There is no need to run your car after you have installed a battery. After installation, you should proceed with your car normally like every other day.
If you need to go somewhere, sure, drive your car. If you don’t need to go, then you shouldn’t run your car, it is not necessary.
Lead-acid batteries already came fully charged from the factory. So it depends on how long they’ve been on the dealer’s shelf it can be slightly discharged.
Even they are slightly discharged, they probably have sufficient power to start your vehicle without charging them first after the purchase.
The biggest misconception that you must run your car right away after installing a new battery is because people think that the battery needs to be charged this way, or it needs to be registered by your car.
Let’s put it this way, many people use their vehicles primarily for short distances.
This is not a particularly good habit because short trips mean that you are constantly starting and stopping the engine, not giving enough time alternator to charge the battery fully.
Although the battery is not fully charged you’re still able to start a car with a semi-full battery.
How long should I let my car run after installing a new battery?
If you installed a brand new battery and noticed car lights are dimmed, this is usually an indicator that the battery is partially discharged.
It’s better to attach a car battery to a charger until it’s fully charged.
But many people don’t have a charger at home, so the best bet is to start an engine and let an alternator charge the battery.
You can either drive your car around or simply let the engine running in front of your house.
If we assume that your alternator is good you should let it run for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
This is more than enough time to sufficiently charge your battery.
If you’re a vehicle owner of any kind, it is a good idea to invest in a good battery charger. It comes pretty handily to just hook your battery to a charger and let it charge that way.
These days we have smart chargers. When the battery is fully charged, the charger will stop charging it, making sure not to overcharging your battery.
How to charge a new car battery for the first time?
New car batteries are nothing special comparing them with an older one in terms of charging. They should be charged the same way as the already used batteries.
As I mentioned before, new car batteries don’t have to be charged before use. They have enough power to start your vehicle, right off the shelf installed into your vehicle.
From the manufacturing to the engine bay, batteries are slowly discharging. So, if you want you can charge them before installing them inside your vehicle, but it’s not required.
You simply connect your charger to the new battery as usual.
- Connect red clamp from a charger to the positive terminal of a battery.
- Connect black clamp from a charger to the negative terminal of a battery.
- Insert power cable from a charger to the wall power outlet and start the charger.
- When the charger shows that the battery is full, disconnect everything.
- Install the battery inside your vehicle.
It’s that simple.
Depending on how long a new battery was on the dealer’s shelf and its state of charge, it may require a longer or shorter time to charge fully.
Does a new car battery need to be jumped?
A new lead-acid battery does not have to be jumped after the installation. They come fully charged from the manufacturing process.
Some people reported that they need to jump a battery to start an engine, although it’s a brand new battery.
A combination of several factors can cause this.
Perhaps they bought a battery that has been on the dealer’s shelf for a long time.
And we know if batteries are not used for longer, they will slowly discharge.
Ok, the battery was installed, they start the car normally and went home.
The next morning car was not able to start, and they need to jump the battery.
This leads to confusion. because a new battery shouldn’t work like this, right?
Well, this can be caused by, for example this:
- You bought a new battery that is partially discharged.
- Meanwhile, your alternator failed.
- You’ve driven home and the electronic car system worked out of the battery instead of an alternator.
- The battery drained to the point that it does not have enough power to start a car.
- And the result is that the next day you can’t start your vehicle.
This situation leads to the belief that a new car battery needs to be jumped before use, which is not true.
Jumping a new car battery becomes true in certain situations, like the one I described above.
New car battery not fully charged?
If a new car battery is not fully charged, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s because typically, they came charged around 90% of original capacity from the factory.
Different brands might have slightly less or more of a charge inside a battery when they are new, but If you compare car battery brands they all come at around that much of a charge state from the factory.
With that said, if you measure its voltage and it’s significantly lower than it should, it means the battery has been waiting for the customer for a long time.
If it’s a low demand for new car batteries for a couple of months, it’s natural that they will stay longer on shelves.
They will be discharged at a slow pace. And still, that does not mean they are completely unusable.
But, on the other hand, you always want to buy as newest battery you can find to minimize the potential degradation of an unused battery.
If you are looking to purchase a new one, and the seller told you that you need to charge it first before use, please, do yourself a favor and move away from that store.
This is usually an indicator that the battery is quite old, and the dealer knows for this, so they are suggesting charging it first.
The dealer just wants to get rid of old batteries, and it’s better not to buy from them.