Your car battery consists of several components that chemically react with each other to supply and store electricity. While you can repair or swap it when it’s no longer feasible, waiting until that critical moment can pose quite a risk. That’s why storing a spare battery for emergencies is a smart move.
However, the reactions within that battery don’t just magically stop. If stored improperly, that car battery might be useless, especially when you need it the most. Throughout this guide, you’ll learn about how to adequately maintain a car battery when not in use.
How To Maintain a Car Battery When Not in Use?
Many of us imagine the scenario of our cars giving up on us during a medical emergency or a desirable interview. That’s why we prefer keeping a bunch of spares in the garage to replace the required part within minutes. But in the case of a car battery, that may require additional maintenance if you don’t want it to get discharged over time.
You see, car batteries undergo chemical reactions even when not connected to any circuit. The charges between the electrolyte and the electrodes still get exchanged, albeit at a much slower rate. That’s why it is best to exercise a few measures to preserve the battery’s charge for as long as possible.
- If you park your vehicle in the garage, disable the security system and turn off all parking lights. You don’t require them, as you can conveniently secure the premises instead of the car itself. Unplug any unnecessary accessories as well.
- Your car’s alternator charges the battery back to full. So, try driving your car for at least 30 minutes weekly.
- Disconnect your battery’s terminals if you believe the car will remain stationary for an extended period. You need to disconnect the negative terminal to break the circuit. Use gloves when removing the screws, and wrap the open end with electrical tape.
- Have a portable jump-starter handy, more so if your car battery charger doesn’t have a jump-start feature.
- Don’t turn your car’s engine on and off repeatedly. The maximum current from the battery drains when the engine starts. It also helps to avoid short trips and not turn the car off at a traffic stop if you’re waiting for less than 20 seconds.
- If you have more than one vehicle in your household, try to alternate between them for every trip.
- When availing yourself of a new car battery, study the specifications of your current battery. Ensure that the new battery meets or surpasses them.
See full this video: How to Preserve car Battery During Long Periods of No Use | Maintain Battery Health & Charge
What Does a Car Battery Do for the Car?
A battery fulfills two primary functions in a car.
Starting/Running the Engine
Your car’s engine uses electricity to ignite the gas within the cylinders. When you start the car, the initial charge ignites the first few sprays, which initiate the stroke cycle and power the transmission. As the car moves, the alternator uses the motion to charge the battery back to maximum.
Powering the Electrical System and Accessories
Any part of the car’s electrical system, including the lights, indicators, and dashboard displays, is powered by the energy supplied by the battery. It’s also responsible for powering any additional accessories, such as neon lights and audio amplifiers.
How Long Does a Car Battery Stay Charged?
Suppose your car battery isn’t recharging; it should perform its functions adequately for about two weeks. After that, you might have to recharge it using jumper cables or a battery charger before it becomes usable again.
How Long Should a Battery Last Without Driving?
In case you let your car battery sit without driving, it can retain its charge for anywhere between four weeks to three months. The precise duration varies with the type and age of the battery, average usage, weather, and other factors that affect the total charge capacity.
How To Start a Car Battery That’s Flat?
You might get a bit nervous when you check the battery, and it shows close to zero volts on the multimeter. Yet, a few methods can help you start a car with a flat battery.
Using a Car Battery Charger
If you have a suitable battery charger, you can configure it to revive the battery by connecting it to a mains supply socket and turning it on. It takes a few minutes, but you must examine the battery for any signs of damage or excess battery drain afterward.
Jump Starting Using Another Battery
You can jump-start your car battery using a couple of cables, crocodile clips, and another fully charged battery. Connect the cables to the terminals of the charged one first. It helps to leave them connected for at least 20 minutes to ensure that your battery has enough charge. After you remove the cables, you can examine them using a multimeter.
Check-in With a Local Service Station
Sometimes, it’s best to let the professionals handle the job. That way, you stay clear of any hazards and can access any additional services regarding the repairs and maintenance of your battery. Service stations, like Walmart Car Care, even offer emergency roadside assistance. They can tow your car to the nearest center for a reasonable price.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How to keep car batteries from dying when not in use in winter?
You must ensure that you disconnect all the terminals and store the battery in a dry place that protects from cold winds and snowfall. Since any condensation on the terminals poses a risk of a fire hazard, it is also a good idea to insulate them appropriately using matching covers.
Why does my car battery keep dying in cold weather?
Colder temperatures decrease the rate of reactions within the battery. So, the transfer of chargers to and from the terminal decreases. It lowers the efficiency and increases the load on the battery.
Why does my car battery die after sitting for a few days?
Even though your car’s engine is turned off, the battery still supplies the power to the digital clocks, security system, and parking lights. Thus, it’s best to disconnect the terminals if you’re not planning to use your car for some time.
Why does my battery keep dying when my car is off?
Your car battery retains the majority of its charge for some time when you turn your car off. However, if it keeps dying, you must examine it closely for any faults. If you spot corrosion on the terminals or electrolyte leaks, you should turn it for repairs.
Will a car battery recharge itself overnight?
No. You need to connect your battery to a suitable charger if you wish to charge it without starting your car.
Unlike other components that require less maintenance when not in use, your car battery’s performance decreases the longer it’s stored. Checking any stored batteries every few weeks enables you to prevent any hazards. We hope this guide provided all you need on how to maintain a car battery when not in use.
- How do you keep a car battery from dying when not in use?
- How do you keep a car battery charged when not in use?