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Don’t let short journeys damage your battery


Charging and maintenance advice from CTEK

According to a recent AAA fall travel survey, 73% of participants planned to go on vacation after Labor Day. Of those who plan to travel 82% noted they will travel by automobile. However, with fuel prices and the general cost of living increasing rapidly, many drivers are starting to think twice before hopping in the car on a regular basis, are maybe going out less often and, when they do, are taking shorter journeys. 

Did you know that taking fewer, shorter journeys could be causing lasting damage to your car battery? 

Nothing could start off a fun weekend get-away on the wrong foot than a dead battery. Additionally, a hefty bill for battery replacement is all you need when you’re focused on making your household budget stretch that little bit further for that quick get-away. But luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your 12V battery in tip top condition and avoid that unwelcome dent in your wallet.  

Here is CTEK’s quick guide to battery health.  

1. What is draining your battery? 

It takes 150-350A of battery power just to start the car, so nipping out on lots of short journeys, particularly in urban areas, drains the battery because the alternator won’t have the time or capability to replace this charge. This is especially so if your car has a ‘stop/start’ function. In fact, if you’ve noticed your ‘stop/start’ hasn’t been kicking in lately, this may be because your battery isn’t sufficiently charged, as your car will gradually turn off ‘non essential’ functions to focus the remaining battery charge on keeping the engine turning. 

Even while your car is parked, your battery will lose 0.1V of energy every month and, if your car is also running an alarm system, onboard computer, remote locking etc, the continual drain on the battery will be much more than that. 

2. Why is a drained battery bad news? 

There is a very fine line between a fully charged battery and a dead one, and even a small drop in charge can compromise battery health, reducing its life span and making replacement necessary. A 12V car battery is fully charged at 12.72V. Below 12.4V, sulphate crystals can build up, degrading the battery and reducing battery capacity. And below 10.4V, the battery won’t start the car at all.  

3. Charging your battery 

Driving around in your car will only ever charge your battery to 80% capacity so, to top it up to 100%, you’ll always need a battery charger.  

A smart battery charger like the CTEK MXS 5.0 uses patented adaptive charging to establish how much charge is needed and then safely top it up. The CTEK MXS 5.0 is a fully automatic microprocessor controlled charger with built-in automatic temperature sensor that features a unique combination of advanced charging modes. The MXS 5.0 is the fastest, most effective, and versatile consumer charger CTEK has ever made.

The MXS 5.0 features capabilities for improved charging in all weather. It is the perfect charger for the user with multiple vehicle types and higher demand battery charging and maintenance requirements. The MXS 5.0 offers features such as a special reconditioning function that restores stratified and deeply discharged batteries, unique maintenance charging, and the charging of demanding AGM batteries. The charger is splash and dustproof, designed to protect vehicle electronics and non-sparking, reverse polarity protected, and short-circuit proof.

Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a reliable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense. And, as battery failure can damage or compromise a vehicle’s electronics, a charger is most certainly a worthwhile investment. 

Investing in a charger like the CTEK MXS 5.0, with built-in functionality for both maintenance and troubleshooting, is the smart choice for drivers. Before you find out your battery is dead and ruin the start of a fun Fall get-away with an added expense, ensure your trip gets off to the right start with a smart battery maintainer.