How to Charge a Car Battery by Driving

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If you have a manual transmission, you can start a vehicle that has a battery with no charge left. It's possible to perform a push start of the car and then charge the battery while driving. Driving can restore battery power and prevent the need for a jump start from another vehicle. Although driving can add battery power to a car with an automatic transmission, you will still need a jump since it needs a charged battery to start.

How to Charge a Car Battery by Driving
(Dana Dowling/Demand Media)
Step 1

Turn off anything within the vehicle that uses power. This includes radios, air conditioning units and interior lights. Ideally, charge the battery during the day and in good weather. This way you can avoid using your headlights and windshield wipers as well.

Dana Dowling/Demand Media
Step 2

Perform a push start of your car with the dead battery. Press in the clutch and go into first gear. Release the brake and have another person start pushing the car. Release the clutch and give it a little gas to get the car running.

Dana Dowling/Demand Media
Step 3

Head to an area where you can drive at a consistent speed. Highway driving is ideal for charging a depleted battery. City driving where you are constantly stopping and going will not provide an even charge.

Dana Dowling/Demand Media
Step 4

Continue to drive for half an hour to charge the battery. Keep all power sources off during this time period. You can drive longer, but a half an hour is needed in order to give the battery a good enough charge.

Dana Dowling/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Although this will charge the battery for your vehicle, you may want to hook up the battery to a charger after driving if one’s available to you.

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