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How To Keep Your Car Battery from Dying in Storage

Hugh Grant



Have you ever left your car idling due to a dead battery after leaving it in storage? Battling a lifeless car battery can be as inconvenient as it is avoidable. Whether you’re storing your car during a long winter or taking a hiatus from driving, these expert tips ensure that your battery starts right up when you’re ready to hit the road again.

1. Fully Charge the Battery Before Storage

Begin your car storage prep by giving the battery a full charge. A battery maintainer or trickle charger can be invaluable here; they keep the battery’s charge topped up without overcharging, which can harm your vehicle’s electrical system. It’s best to charge the battery overnight before disconnecting it for storage.

2. Clean the Battery and Inspect for Damage

Before storage, your battery should be clean of any debris or corrosion on the terminals. Take a close look for any signs of damage – like leaks or cracked casing – which could indicate a need for replacement. A simple mixture of baking soda and water can be used to clean the terminals, and an old toothbrush is perfect for scrubbing the grime away.

3. Utilize a Battery Maintenance Device

A smart battery maintenance device, which monitors the battery and can apply a charge when needed, is an exceptional investment. These devices extend the life of your battery by maintaining an optimal charge, even during long periods of inactivity.

4. Disconnect the Battery Cables

Once your battery is fully charged and clean, disconnect the cables. First, always remove the negative (black) cable, followed by the positive (red) one. This prevents any electrical drains that might occur through the chassis or other wires during storage.

5. Store in a Cool, Dry Place

Heat can be a battery’s kryptonite, so store your battery in the coolest, driest place you can. Extreme temperatures can accelerate self-discharge, but a moderate and consistent environment will help preserve its energy.

6. Apply a Battery Protector

Corrosion can build up on terminals, even after they’ve been cleaned, so applying a battery protector can provide an extra layer of defense. A terminal grease or a petroleum jelly application can stave off corrosion, ensuring your battery has a clean connection when re-installed.

7. Turn Off Any Battery-Draining Devices

If your car has any parasitic loads – electrical systems that draw power even when your car is off – make sure they are disconnected or turned off. This includes clocks, alarms, remote starts, and any aftermarket electronics.

8. Start the Car Periodically if Possible

If you have the means, starting your car for a brief drive every few weeks can help keep your battery healthy. This allows the alternator to charge the battery and prevents it from sitting with a low charge, which can lead to sulfation and permanent damage.

9. Keep the Battery Off the Ground

To avoid any potential discharge through contact with the ground, store your battery on a wooden or plastic stand. This also ensures that the vent caps are not blocked, allowing the battery’s gases to properly vent.

10. Consider a Solar Battery Charger

For extended storage periods, a solar battery charger can be a fantastic way to keep a consistent charge. These chargers convert sunlight into electricity, maintaining your battery’s health while also being eco-friendly.

By following these ten tips, you can significantly increase the odds of your car starting without trouble after a long stint in storage. Remember to be diligent about your car’s battery health – after all, it’s the heart of your vehicle’s power.

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