Auto Shop Equipment Essentials – Part 5

April 4th, 2011

No list of must-have auto shop equipment would be complete without mentioning battery chargers. This is a vital component to add to any garage owner’s arsenal of tools and equipment. They are not only needed for charging batteries of disabled vehicles, but also for starting them if necessary.
But what type of Automotive Battery Charger should you get? There are so many different types and styles that a consumer who doesn’t know what he is looking for can be overwhelmed. First course of action is to determine the purposes for your charger. Do you need it just to trickle charge some car batteries, or will you also need it for jump starting cars as well? What type of vehicles will you be using it on? If you’re focusing mainly sports cars, then you probably don’t need a very large or powerful charger. Maybe a bench top charger with a 10 amp maximum charging rate along with a lower 2 amp trickle charging rate when needed will suffice. Then again, if you service a fleet of trucks, you’ll want to make sure that the charger you get has plenty of power and charges at a variety of charging rates, along with a powerful 200 to 300 amp starting rate.
Then there are other features that you may want to consider. Some chargers will have some very useful features that will help you diagnose vehicle charging system problems. Some of these features include a battery load tester to confirm the battery is good. Some chargers can test the alternator to make sure it is supplying voltage to the battery. Some chargers have a timer that will turn it off after a designated time peroid. Others are automatic and will turn off when the battery is fully charged so you don’t have to worry about overcharging the automobile battery. Some chargers are UL approved for outdoor use.
Finally, you’ll want to consider which manufacturer you prefer. There are many fine manufacturers of automotive battery chargers. We carry several that are considered leaders, including Schumacher, Solar, and Christie. Stick with a leader and you can’t go wrong.

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