The short answer is yes, but, it may take several hours to fully charge your battery wasting fuel.  You also run the risk of having your battery discharge at idle speeds.  This can happen when cars are running idle even while charging your phone for a long period of time or with your car accessory equipment “on” in the background.  

Battery Function

The car battery is used to start the car and requires a huge amount of voltage to start the car.  Once the battery has discharged this stored energy or voltage the car has an alternator that is used to generate power sufficient to replace the energy used to start the car and operate the car.  The cars built today use voltage from the battery to operate every electrical component in your car-things that you don’t customarily think about.  For example, if you have an alarm system on your car and you had it engaged to alarm you are using power without replenishing it in the battery until the next time that you start your car.  Another example, is the enormous stereo systems and other technologies that are in your car use power even in the “sleep” or off mode.  All in all the battery is the heart of your car.  You have to maintain it for it to function properly.

Each cell in a car battery is able to produce about 2-volts of energy.  In most car batteries you have six cells, and therefore a 12-volt battery.  The plates are submerged in sulphuric acid between the two plates that triggers a reaction.  In scientific terms, the acid acts as a catalyst and is nothing more than a device that translates chemical energy into electricity.  Batteries store energy and transform it into electrical energy on command.  The battery provides short bolts of energy in order to power your lights, accessories and engine.  Once the battery jolts the engine to life, power to the car is supplied by the alternator.

Even in this day and age of technology mankind has not developed an automobile that can self-sustain its on energy requirements without a source to re-charge it. This is the same problem that faced the early developers Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of battery powered automobiles. 

Must produce more energy than consumed

In order to recharge a battery the car has to be able to supply more energy than energy consumed.  The alternator is a generator of electric power in a car and is a major component of the vehicle’s charging system.  When an engine is running at ample rpm’s the alternator charges the battery and supplies additional electric power for the vehicle electrical system.  You also have to consider the power the engine is using to keep itself running, fuel pumps, computer, electric cooling fans are all consuming power while running the engine.  

Best ways to maintain a car battery

The best ways to maintain a car battery is to physically operate (drive) the car for about 10 or more miles at 30-40 mph speed or higher for a period of about 30 minutes or to place a trickle charge on the battery.  The best thing to keep the car battery charged is drive the car on a regular basis.  You have to realize that the vehicle’s alternator or generator is made to maintain the battery and not charge it back up once it is low. If the vehicle is left unused for long periods of time, this can put unneeded stress on that system.  If you’re not going to be driving the car, just idling the car will do your battery more harm than good.  Starting a car draws 100 to 300 amps to start a car and idling a car for 15-20 minutes will only replace 3-4 amps, the car battery never gets fully charged.  Avoid short driving distances (less than 10 miles) as these drives do not fully charge your batteries.

A trickle charge is a car battery charger (cost $30 to $40) designed to be left on a car for a long period of time to re-charge the battery.  It slowly adds the charge to the battery and does not allow for the normal depletion of charge that batteries commonly have.  It keeps the battery from being depleted from non-use.  A two amp six and twelve volt battery trickle charger has the convenience of multiple battery connectors and charge a variety of equipment.  It can charge large or small batteries and with a 12 amp connector is used to charge your car battery. 

Let Carefree take care of your car battery

Carefree Home Watch offers a Concierge Service where we will drive your car along a predetermined route of your choice in order to sufficiently charge the battery or we can monitor your self-installed trickle charge to ensure that it is functioning properly.  Ask Carefree Home Watch for more information or visit us at  

Exceptional care when you are not there™.  Carefree Home Watch, 239.234.1847.