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Auto Technology News Room

How to Maintain Your Sitting Car Battery

April 2020 | By Stephen Allman

 

How long a vehicle sits before the battery dies all depends on the car, but there are steps you can take with any vehicle to preserve a battery’s health. Check out these tips below to maximize your battery’s performance and keep your vehicle running longer.

Battery Saving Tips While Your Car Is Not In Use

Your battery is a key part of your vehicle. From starting the car to running all the accessories, the battery provides your vehicle with the power needed to keep you moving. Under normal driving conditions, your vehicle’s alternator charges your battery while you drive. But if your car sits unused for an extended time, it could hurt your battery. And if your battery is 3 or more years old, it could prove deadly for the battery.


How long a vehicle sits before the battery dies all depends on the car, but there are steps you can take with any vehicle to preserve a battery’s health. Check out these tips below to maximize your battery’s performance and keep your vehicle running longer.



battery tip #1
garage-car
battery tip #1

If in a secure garage, disengage security system to preserve battery.

If your vehicle is parked in a secure garage and has a security system, you may want to consider leaving the alarm system turned off. Leaving it on will only drain the battery more quickly. And if you don’t have a choice but to park outside with the alarm turned on, drive the vehicle for at least 30 minutes a week to keep the battery charged.



battery tip #2
Car driving on Highway
battery tip #2

Charge battery weekly by driving car for at least 30 minutes.

As your car sits, the battery must keep all the memory stored for the different computers onboard the vehicle. While the battery drain doesn’t seem like much, it adds up over time and could get to the point where there is not enough energy left to crank the engine.


You may think heading out to pick up takeout a few times a week is enough to keep your battery running well, but that’s not enough to preserve the health of your battery. If you only use your car for short trips or keep it parked for days at a time, the battery won’t have time to recharge sufficiently. To keep your battery adequately charged, we recommend driving the vehicle once a week for at least 30 minutes, preferably at highway speeds to ensure that the battery gets the boost it needs.



battery tip #3
Disconnect the negative battery terminal
battery tip #3

Disconnect the negative battery terminal to preserve your battery.

As mentioned above, there are many components in your car—like clocks, computers and security alarms—that continue to draw power from your vehicle when it is turned off. This is called key-off battery drain or parasitic drain, and it could cause you to wind up with a dead battery after multiple weeks with no driving. By disconnecting the negative battery cable first, you are disconnecting the battery from the chassis ground. If you disconnect the positive cable and accidentally slip the wrench to any other parts of the vehicle, you could damage electrical parts or components—which could prove to be very costly.

How to Disconnect a Negative Terminal

  • 1. Wear protective gloves and eyewear and remove jewelry
  • 2. Find negative terminal on top of battery
  • 3. Look for black cap or minus sign near connector (positive terminal has a red cap or plus sign)
  • 4. Use socket wrench to loosen nut on negative connector (by turning counterclockwise)
  • 5. Disconnect negative connector by pulling it off
  • 6. Set it aside away from the battery


battery tip #2
Portable Jump-Starter
battery tip #2

Get a portable jump-starter.

We offer a variety of portable jump-starters and battery accessories to help keep your battery in good working condition. To learn more, visit an All Battery Center® store near you. The Interstate Batteries Charge and Go 12V Lithium Portable Jump Starter and Battery Charger is also available for purchase on Amazon.


And if you’re having any doubts about the reliability of your battery or your battery is more than 3 years old, you should have it tested by a professional. Today’s battery testing technology can identify batteries that are close to failure BEFORE you find yourself with a battery that won’t start your vehicle.


Check out our video How to Maintain Your Sitting Car Battery.




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