I keep a car in a distant location. It gets driven about once a month for a day. The battery often goes dead in between uses. I’ve been looking into drip chargers that keep the battery loaded enough to get the car started after a long break. Does anyone have any experience with/knowledge about those? Mr. Google seems to say there are lots of choices.
I have no suggestions. I do have a comment on that they’re a great idea. My dad used one over the winter for his moto, and summer for the snowmobiles. I couldn’t tell you what model(s) that he used, just that they kept the batteries alive well enough through long periods of unuse.
Back in the day, Schumacher made a good trickle charger. I used one to keep my motorcycle battery charged. Father in law used one to maintain his deep cycle and regular batteries in his RV.
Today, there might be some trickle chargers available with some smart tech that would prevent overcharging the battery thus screwing it up. Surfing Amazon, looks like the cheap trickle chargers are about $30. The better chargers are around $100. They all seem to have the smart tech in a cursory read.
Hope this helps.
My father-in-law, who’s fleet I inherited maintenance responsibility for a few years ago, had a collection of trickle chargers, one for each car, that I gave up on after a year or two of non-performance. In fairness, they may have all been several years old, and there may be more reliable technology out there. He was very knowledgeable in this area, but none of his were dependable - I soon gave up on them.
The month you describe in your post, should not cause a “good” battery to drain in reasonable spring/summer/fall weather, in most places in Utah (high elevation/very cool nighttime temperatures aside). Perhaps take the car in to a local shop and have the battery checked - repeated low charges on a battery will cause it to fail sooner that one which sees regular use.
In the winter, in most places in Utah, a month of non-use will cause a “good” battery to drain enough to be questionable.
If your location is high and cold, is there any option to keep the car battery warm?
And finally, if you do get a better referral for something useful, and it works, please post or board mail the details to me
I have used them for several years. I have a home in SLC and SoCal and had problems with replacing batteries. Once I got this I’ve never had a problem. I have a “junior” model for my motorcycle. These things are great. What’s good about them is that they shut off once the battery is fully charged, and only comes on to charge back up.
Thank you! That is the situation I am facing. I keep the car in LA for when I go there. Sometimes a month passes, sometimes a little more. The garage where I keep the car occasionally turns it on and lets it run for 10 or 15 minutes, but that hasn’t been enough. I will try this device out. It’s exactly what I was looking for–someone who has experience with a similar situation and has a product they can recommend. Thanks again.
For what it’s worth, I use a Battery Tender charger connected to a cheap 15W solar panel from Amazon on the windshield of a van I drive infrequently, and it works very well. I just have it plugged into the cigarette lighter socket (good for up to 15 Amps in the van), so that everything is inside. Also, have you tried just disconnecting the battery when you leave it?
I don’t have any experience with these but got one of those battery packs for emergency jumps and that could be a quick solution each time.
Thanks, I was going to try that–it’s the simplest solution–but the car is parked in a very nice lot near I work. There are attendants all around, people coming and going, etc., so I decided to look for a simpler solution.
I also considered that. I decided that I didn’t want to go to the car in the middle of a work day, dressed for work, raise the hood, and stick my hands inside. I almost did because it’s irritating to call AAA in that same situation!
I personally would just install a master disconnect switch. We do this all the time in construction for equipment that sits somewhere. In fact, I even have an old pickup truck here that i seldom drive. Had the same issue as you; battery always dead when I needed it. So I put one of these in it. I just reach through the grill and flip it on. When I’m done for the day, flip it off. Works great.
Hmmm. That seems too simple! Thanks, might be the answer I need. I’ll check it out.
Battery Tender brand has been my go-to to keep motorcycle batteries charged during winter months.
I have also noticed that Lithium batteries do better holding charges. I’ve long periods if inactivity. They are more expensive up front, but have worked well for me.
Checking back on this thread to update everyone with the great experience I’ve had, after originally pooh-poohing these things.
I as I originally mentioned, I’ve inherited the job of managing the fleet - my FILs car collection, since he passed away a few years ago. He had several (I’m guessing 5 to 10 year old) trickle charger/maintainers, which I tried to use with no success.
After reading some of the posts here, i purchased a couple of Battery Tender brand maintainers, and found they work so well, I put one on each car. Most of the way through the winter now, I am thrilled with these reasonably priced, effective devices and would recommend them whole-heartedly.
I won’t end up having to replace any batteries this year, including an old 6 volt battery for a 1950 Chev, that I was afraid was gone at the beginning of the winter.
Thanks to all for the recommendations.
Hey salUTE, what do you do about flattening tires (as to shape, not air) and gas going bad. Do you get the cars out a moving every once in a while, or what?
I do a couple of additional things to make sure that each of the cars is maintained as well as possible:
- Each of the cars is stored with a full gas tank, including a gasoline additive (to insure there is no possibility of condensation from air in the tank polluting the fuel).
- I start each car and run it for about 20 minutes at least once a month. In most cases, I actually take the automobile out and drive it, and return it with the tires in a different position.
- One of the cars tends to leak transmission oil from a rear seal in the transmission if I don’t start and drive it a little more often, which I currently do about every 2 weeks.
- One of the cars is not drivable right now for minor reasons, and one will not start (needs a carburetor rebuild). I currently have these on jack stands to keep the tires off the ground.
I’ve been told by mechanics, that quality tires will not go out of round just sitting even for years at a time, but I’ve also been told the opposite by tire dealers, so I don’t take chances.
Automobiles, particular older ones, do not do well just sitting, and particularly in unheated garages in Utah’s climate. I’ve unloaded 3 of the original 9 cars that he had in 2018 when he passed away. The rest will eventually go to his children or grandchildren, but no one’s ready to take them yet, so I have a few more years of maintenance.
None of the cars are really high end collectors, but they are all in excellent original condition with very low miles. All are 1940’s through 1970s vehicles, including several 1970s Mercedes Convertibles.
As mentioned, the newer technology of battery maintainers has provided a great savings in time an money.
Thanks for answering my questions. That is all really smart.
I am glad you take them out for a bit, that really keeps all the systems lubricated and does prevent gas aging.
Both are absolutely critical, and not just for automobiles. I have both 2 cycle and a 4 cycle snow blowers, which require some care to avoid gas aging. In the spring, I always run the 2 cycle completely out of gas. (To avoid too much waste, I only ever partially fill it during the winter.) So far this has always avoided having the annual fuel system troubles that so many people have.
For the 4 cycle, I do as with the automobiles - always keep the fuel system full of gas and with a good fuel additive. And I run the thing occasionally for only a two or three minutes during the off season. Before I started this, I had to have the carburetor cleaned every fall, since, no problems.