How to Properly Store Your Vehicle's Battery
There are many reasons why you may need to store your vehicle's battery. The vehicle may only be used occasionally for shows or events, it may be a seasonal vehicle only used on nice days or in the winter, you travel and need to put your vehicle in storage, or a hundred other reasons.
When storing your vehicle for long periods of time, it is important that you take care of the battery. Just letting it sit, unattended can do a lot of damage to the battery.
Idling Doesn't Cut It
Some people think that if you just start your vehicle from time to time, it will keep the battery fresh and also help keep your engine in good condition. Unfortunately, what happens is actually bad for your vehicle.
A vehicle needs to be driven (not just idling) for at least 20 minutes. Just letting your car idle for 20 minutes could cause it to overheat and letting it run for less time allows for condensation to build up in the engine and drive train. This moisture can cause important parts to corrode, leading to mechanical failure.
In addition, some of the reasons that you stored the vehicle to begin with make it impossible to start and operate your vehicle. The weather may not be favorable or you may be far away from the storage location.
The Best Way to Store Your Battery
Your battery plays such an important roll in the operation of your vehicle, that you need to make sure it is taken care of. All batteries will lose their charge when stored without being used. There are some things to keep in mind when getting ready to put a vehicle or battery in storage.
Type of Battery
There are two common types of batteries: the traditional lead-acid battery and the AGM battery.
The lead-acid battery is usually less expensive but can be damaged easier by dropping, tipping, or weather conditions. The AGM battery is spill-proof and resistant to vibrations and impacts.
AGM batteries are maintenance-free and you don't need to worry about electrolyte levels. You should never open an AGM battery as you could damage it beyond repair. On the other hand, some lead-acid batteries need to have water added to keep up their electrolyte levels.
A CTEK charger can charge the battery and maintain it during storage. You can keep the battery in the vehicle, preventing the need to reset the onboard computer. All CTEK smart chargers are designed to charge and maintain lead-acid or AGM batteries. Simply connect the charger and forget about it until it's time to use the battery. The charger will keep the battery level topped off, recondition damaged batteries, and prevent damage occurring from being overcharged or discharging.
Tips for Battery Storage
The best thing you can do when it comes to storing your battery is to use a CTEK smart charger. That being said, here are some other tips to help get the most out of your battery.
- Check the battery for damage. If there are any signs of cracks or corrosion, you should probably just get a new battery. Also, make sure that the electrolyte levels of a lead-acid battery are at the correct level.
- Clean the battery. While checking the battery for damage, you should take this time to clean the battery. Clear electrolyte deposits and corrosion from the battery to prevent quick self-discharging. You can use a battery spray cleaner or baking soda and water mix. Use the cleaner and a wire brush to clean the terminals.
- Choose a good location for storage. It is recommended that batteries are kept in a dry location with good ventilation. The temperature in the area should be between 40F and 60F. Temperatures outside of that range can cause the battery to discharge quicker. A fully charged battery won't freeze until the temperature reaches -80F, but a discharged battery can freeze solid at 32F.
- Choose the right charger. CTEK offers a chart to help you choose the right charger for your needs. All of them offer plug and play features that are fully automatic, but there are chargers that may be better than others for specific applications, such as the Polar, or the MXS 25EC.
Let CTEK Help You Store Safely
When using a CTEK Smart Charger for your stored battery or vehicle, you can relax knowing that the battery is being taken care of and it will be ready when you need it. Take care of your battery and it will take care of you!
Check out our Charger Selection Tool to find out which charger is right for your vehicle.