General Question

bpeoples's avatar

How long does it take to recharge the battery after starting the car?

Asked by bpeoples (2531 points ) January 11th, 2011

I imagine this varies by car, but assuming a fairly recent (12-year-old) gasoline powered sedan. We rarely drive our car more than 20 minutes at a time, and we’ve been having trouble with a 2-year-old battery that we just replaced.

So, it’s possible the alternator is going, or the battery just didn’t do so well in the cold after 2 years, but I’m more curious about the charging time after starting.

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8 Answers

Brian1946's avatar

Unless you run a lot of your electrical accessories (air circulation fan, auto sound system, etc) with the engine off, 20 minutes should be more than enough to recharge your battery.

If your alternator has a loose or misaligned belt, it could be causing a battery-recharge failure.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

2 year old batteries can fail. What was the warranty time period when you bought it? If it was 36 months it may be done.

I used to sale auto parts including batteries, if a battery is not fully charged, low on water, over-heated or left for long periods of time without charging – - It shortening the life.

The basic battery is good for two to three years, specialty and deep discharge will last longer.

bpeoples's avatar

Thanks folks!

Scooby's avatar

If in doubt take the battery to get tested, if it’s not the battery at fault you may need to look elsewhere…. At least you’ll know for sure if it’s the battery at fault….. ;-)

reinvestor's avatar

I would say 20 minutes is adequate for a properly working battery/alternator on an average car. It could be either that are at fault, so have them both checked. It could also be that neither are bad per se, but a combination of both under-performing, so keep that in mind.

Also remember to keep the terminals clean, since poor contact on the battery terminals can be the source of numerous electrical problem, including hard start/no start since the starter draws such a high current in such a short amount of time. I have seen batteries last more than 10 years and less than 1 year. Retailers typically mark on the battery when it was sold, so try to take it where you purchased it even if you don’t have any paperwork. Also, check the battery tie-down to make sure the battery isn’t bouncing around as you’re driving – that can significantly shorten it’s life.

Arbornaut's avatar

Assuming your alternator is in good working order, it depends entirely on the condition of the battery. Not long at all if its in good nick.
Check the fluid levels and top them up with distilled water if they need it.

filmfann's avatar

My dad used to say 12 minutes. I have no idea if that is right, but he was a car-genius.

woodcutter's avatar

if you have an Auto Zone or some place like that, they should be able to test your car right there in front of the store. They want to sell you some parts/battery. This way you won’t have to replace things unnecessarily and just replace what’s gone bad. Two years seems awful premature for a battery to go bad.

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