Recharge or replace a car battery

Picture of a car battery

You turn on the ignition, nothing! Battery failure is quite frequent, especially when temperatures vary at night or if you have forgotten to turn your lights off! To understand how to recharge your battery quickly, even change it if necessary, we can guide you step by step. Are you ready? Follow the guide.

Why is my battery flat?

Your car battery provides the electrical power to all of your equipment, whether technical (starter motor, headlights, etc) or comfort (radio, ventilation, etc.). Therefore, the battery is a key component of your car. When you are driving, the alternator, driven by the engine, generates electrical energy and recharges the battery. But when the engine is switched off, certain accessories continue to consume electricity (clock, alarm, central locking, etc.). In addition, quite naturally, an unused battery discharges gradually and then goes flat. This is why, when you try to start after a hot day, a cool night, a few weeks or months of standing, your battery is flat.

What do I do when I have a flat battery?

You have different solutions: use a battery charger, use battery jump leads or change your car battery. There are certain precautions to take to avoid damaging your vehicle or resulting in injuring yourself. Relax, Total is with you for these simple operations.

Connect a battery charger

Your car battery can be recharged using a special charger. Follow the rules in order to connect your charger correctly:

  • Before starting to charge the battery, ensure that you are in a well-ventilated location. Battery recharging gives off hydrogen. In addition, batteries contain acid. Protect your eyes with protective goggles and avoid all heat sources (sparks, cigarette, cigarette lighter, etc.).
  • Locate the positive terminal (+, POS or P) and the negative terminal (-, NEG or N). Generally, the positive terminal is red and the negative terminal is black.
  • Check that the engine and the ignition are off.
  • Connect the charger red lead clamp to your battery positive terminal.
  • Connect the charger black lead clamp to your battery negative terminal.
  • Connect the charger to the mains.
  • The charging time varies depending on the charger and the battery. Wait a few hours before disconnecting the charger in the reverse order of the connection operations. You may now start the vehicle.

Connect battery jump leads and start the vehicle with another vehicle

You need to start quickly and don’t have the time to wait for your battery to recharge? Use the battery power from another vehicle using jump leads.

  • Position the vehicles opposite one another but without their bodyworks touching
  • Start the engine of the vehicle with the battery in good condition and let it run.
  • Connect the red lead to the positive terminal on the vehicle to start then to that of the feeder vehicle.
  • Connect the black lead to the negative terminal of the feeder vehicle.
  • Ideally, the black lead clamp should be fixed to an unpainted metallic surface in the engine compartment of the vehicle needing to be started, as far as possible from the battery (engine mount, shock absorber turret). In this way, this will prevent the hydrogen vapours from the battery from catching fire. If the vehicle configuration does not enable this, you may connect the clamp to the negative battery terminal of the battery which is faulty, taking care.
  • You can now start the vehicle which has the faulty battery.
  • When the vehicle starts, disconnect the leads in the inverse order ( - terminal of discharged battery terminal, - terminal of backup vehicle, + terminal of feeder vehicle and then + terminal of discharged battery vehicle).

Take care to avoid a short-circuit: the red and black leads must never touch!

This operation does not instantaneously recharge the flat battery. We recommend running the engine for at least 15 minutes or driving around 20 km to build up your battery power.

If, in spite of this advice, if you still have a battery failure problem, then your battery is probably worn out. You need to change it.

The average service life of a battery is from 4 to 5 years. When it is worn out, it must be replaced by a model recommended in the vehicle service manual. The professionals chosen by Total are able to advise you and can replace your battery.

If you wish to carry out this operation yourself, the procedure is as follows:

  • Disconnect the battery negative terminal and then the positive terminal.
  • If the battery is held in place by a fixing system, loosen the nuts.
  • Remove the battery from its tray. Warning, although it is small, the battery is a heavy component. Use the built-in handle if your battery is fitted with one.
  • Position the new battery in the battery tray.
  • Remember to secure the battery with the fixing system provided by the manufacturer.
  • Connect the positive terminal and then the negative terminal.

You can now start your vehicle!

Total specialists can carry out these operations for you. Make an appointment at your Total service center!