Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Charge car battery with CTEK charger

CTEK smart car battery charger

Battery charger tells you how long the charge will take

I’ve written about the CTEK Time-To-Go charger before because I think it’s a brilliant idea. Now, CTEK has supplied me with a unit to test. Here’s why I think this charger is so different from all the rest. Too many times DIYers slap a charger on their car battery and take off before their battery is fully charged. They think their car’s alternator will finish the job. Well, I’ve got news for you, it doesn’t always do the job. Here’s why I think the CTEK TIME TO GO charger is such a good idea.

CTEK TIME TO GO Charger works with most batteries

The TIME TO GO charger works with standard lead acid (SLA), Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM), GEL, Maintenance Free and Calcium (Ca-Ca) style batteries.

CTEK TIME TO GO Charger has a recondition mode

Sulphation is your battery’s worst enemy. Over time every battery develops some level of sulphation and, if left untreated, it shortens the life of your car battery. The CTEK TIME TO GO battery charger has a reconditioning mode to reverse the effects of sulphation, and that will increase your battery life.

CTEK TIME TO GO tells you when your battery will be fully charged

No more guessing when your car battery will be charged.

How to use your CTEK TIME TO GO battery charger

Connect the cable clamps to your battery; positive to positive, negative to negative. Then plug in the charger. Press the mode button to program the charger to the type of battery you have; AGM for an AGM battery and “standard” for all others. Once it’s programmed, it will run a quick test and tell you how long the charge will take by lighting one of the LEDS.

The TRY light lights up when the battery has enough power to attempt starting.

To recondition your battery, simply press the mode button until the RECON LED lights up.

CTEK time to go car battery charger

Rick installs the CTEK TIME TO GO charger on his 2005 Subaru Outback equipped with a yellow Optima battery

ctek time to go battery charger

I programmed the charger to AGM mode and it told me that it will take 4-hours to bring the battery to full charge. The “TRY” light also lit up. So I could have tried starting it if I needed to go somewhere.

Why you should never use your alternator to charge your car battery

I can’t tell you how many times I hear DIYers give advice to start a vehicle and let it idle to “charge up the battery.” What they don’t understand is that an alternator barely puts out 30% of its capacity at idle RPMS. Letting your engine idle usually won’t bring the battery back to full charge, especially if you run the blower motor, heated seats or rear defogger while it’s idling. In that case, you’ll actually drain more from the battery than the alternator can replace.

Even if you take off for a short drive, your alternator may still not provide enough power, especially if you’re doing stop and go driving in winter or hot summer conditions. Your blower motor, heated seats, AC, defogger, wipers and headlights can easily draw upwards of 90-amps. Unless you drive for at least 30-mins at highway speeds, you’ll never produce enough power to recharge the battery while also powering all those accessories.

Finally, a battery charger costs about $100. An alternator costs about $500. Why risk overheating your alternator just to recharge your battery? It has a limited lifespan the way it is. Why shorten it by making it do more work?

FTC Disclaimer: CTEK is not paying me to write this post. Also, CTEK provided this sample unit at no charge with no assurance that I would write a positive review. Quiet the contrary, my blog policy is that I will never write a positive review on a product unless I actually like it and feel it’s a good choice for my readers. Finally, I am purposely NOT including a link to Amazon for this product to prove that I’m not benefiting financially by endorsing this product.

©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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