Should I Start My Car to Charge the Battery?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Milwaukee, WI

Do you have a battery question or concern?  You can always call our toll-free customer service number (1-888-8OPTIMA), drop us an e-mail (

Today's question comes from Dan C-

I've got a question for you! I'm trying to charge the OPTIMA YELLOWTOP in my off-road only Jeep that gets started about once per month. I have one of those smart chargers with 15A/10A/2A charge rates. I'm getting conflicting advice on weather to set it to Gel or AGM. Which is it? Also can I do the 24hr recondition mode on this battery?  I'm not sure if its just for wet batteries. Also, should I set it to charge at the 15 amp rate? The auto parts store tested the battery for me last night and said it was at 11.7v and 150 CCA. Thanks for your help!

Thanks for the question, Dan!  If your vehicle only sees occasional use, keeping your battery properly-maintained with a  quality tender or maintainer is a good idea.  We do not recommend charger rates that exceed 10 amps and "gel" or even "gel/AGM" charger settings should never be used on OPTIMA batteries, as they may not fully-charge our batteries and could damage them over time. A "recondition" or "desulphation" mode can be used on our batteries, as long as it does not exceed 10 amps and does not require a "gel" or "gel/AGM" setting.

In order for any battery to be properly-tested, an attempt should first be made to fully-charge the battery.  Fully-charged, our REDTOPs will measure about 12.6-12.8 volts and our YELLOWTOPs will measure about 13.0-13.2 volts. If the auto parts store measured your battery at 11.7 volts, it was more than 70% discharged. We're glad to hear you are using a YELLOWTOP in your Jeep, as many off-road applications include winches and YELLOWTOPs are the appropriate choice for vehicles with winches and other significant electrical accessories.