Uncover the secrets to effectively storing a car battery, preserving its life and performance with our straightforward and insightful guide.
Car batteries, sturdy and essential components of all kinds of vehicles, require care during prolonged periods of inactivity. No matter if the battery is left in the vehicle or taken out, proper storage can preserve the battery’s health, greatly extend its lifespan, and ensure it’s ready to go whenever you need it. If you’re planning to store your car battery in your vehicle or on a shelf, whether for seasonal reasons or longer-term storage, this guide is here to walk you through the process.
Why Store a Car Battery?
Car batteries, like any other battery, have a limited lifespan. When left unused or exposed to extreme conditions, their efficiency can diminish, leading to potential issues when you next start your vehicle. Storing your car battery correctly can extend its lifespan, prevent damage, and save you money by avoiding premature replacements.
How to Store a Car Battery
Step 1: Disconnect the Battery
Before embarking on the storage process, it’s crucial to ensure the vehicle is turned off. Once confirmed, with the appropriate tools in hand, start by disconnecting the battery. Always begin with the negative terminal to prevent any accidental short circuits. This step is not just about safety but also about preserving the battery’s health. When a battery remains connected, even if the car isn’t in use, it can slowly drain, reducing its overall lifespan.
Step 2: Clean the Battery
Over time, batteries can accumulate dirt, grime, and even corrosion, especially around the terminals. Before storing, it’s essential to give your battery a good clean. A simple mixture of baking soda and water works wonders in removing any unwanted build-up. Gently scrub the surface with this solution using a brush. Once cleaned, dry the battery thoroughly. This not only ensures the battery remains in good condition but also prevents potential issues when you’re ready to use it again.
Step 3: Clean the Terminals
The terminals of the battery are particularly susceptible to corrosion. This corrosion can impede the flow of electricity, leading to reduced performance or even failure to start your vehicle. To remove any visible corrosion from the terminals, scrub them with an old toothbrush and some baking soda moistened with some tap water or use a terminal cleaning tool. After cleaning, you can apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a specific terminal protector spray to prevent future corrosion.
Step 4: Choose the Right Location
The environment in which you store your battery plays a significant role in its preservation. It’s recommended to store the battery in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight or any heat sources. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can adversely affect the battery’s performance and longevity. A basement or a garage shelf, where the temperature remains relatively stable with low humidity, is ideal.
Step 5: Use a Battery Tender
If you’re storing the battery for an extended period, consider investing in a battery tender. This device continuously supplies a small amount of electricity to the battery, ensuring it maintains its charge. It’s especially useful for preventing the battery from completely discharging during storage. A partially or fully discharged battery can suffer from sulfate buildup, which can drastically reduce its efficiency and lifespan.
Step 6: Check Periodically
Even with all precautions in place, batteries have a tendency to lose charge over time. It’s a good practice to check on your stored battery at least once a month. If you haven’t installed a battery tender and you notice the charge is dropping, give it a recharge with a battery charger. This ensures that when you’re ready to use the battery again, it’s in optimal condition and ready to power your vehicle.
Wrapping it Up
A car battery is a significant investment, and proper storage ensures that you get the most out of this investment. Whether you’re a car enthusiast with a collection of classic cars or someone who just needs to leave town for a few weeks or longer, knowing how to store a car battery is essential. With the right precautions and regular maintenance checks, your battery will remain healthy and reliable, ready to power up your vehicle when needed.
Can I store my battery on a concrete floor?
Contrary to popular belief, modern car batteries can be stored on concrete floors without any issues. However, ensure the floor is dry and free from any chemicals that might damage the battery casing.
How often should I charge a stored battery?
If you’re using a battery maintainer, it will take care of the charging process. Without one, if you want to keep it in optimal condition, you want to charge it every month.
Is it safe to store a damaged battery?
No. If your battery shows signs of damage, such as leaks or cracks, it’s best to replace it. Storing a damaged battery can lead to hazardous situations.
Is it safe to store a car battery indoors?
Yes, as long as the area is dry and the battery is out of reach of children or pets. Ensure the room is well-ventilated to avoid any potential gas buildup.
Do I need to remove the battery from the car if I’m not using it for a month?
No, you don’t need to remove your car battery if you’re not going to use your car for up to a few months, but you’ll need to connect it to a battery tender to keep it from discharging and dying. However, if you’re not planning to use your vehicle for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to disconnect and store the battery to prevent terminal corrosion and preserve its life. Whatever you do, it’s highly recommended to connect your battery to a battery tender or charge it monthly when it’s not in use.