Many of us find ourselves driving less these days, whether that be because we're working from home, ordering groceries online, or visiting with friends and family virtually. With our vehicles sitting idle for longer periods of time, it's easy to overlook the importance of regular battery maintenance.
While we strive to protect ourselves and our community by staying home and driving less, we may inadvertently cause our car battery to lose its charge and not be able to start when we need it! Discover these key steps to prevent a car battery drain.
Out of sight, out of mind, out of juice
If left too long without being started, a car battery’s charge will slowly drain until it’s completely out of power. Even when a car is turned off, power-hungry gadgets, like the clock and radio, continue to draw power from the battery. Over time, these drains may deplete the battery’s ability to start your car.
Can’t I just start the car and let it idle so it re-charges?
While this may be a good idea with older vehicles, modern charging systems only give enough juice to keep the battery topped off enough to sufficiently run all the accessories on the vehicle. For this reason, starting and idling your engine will likely not bring your battery to its fully charged state.
Play it safe with the 20-24 rule. Run your car for 20 minutes every 24 hours to avoid a dead battery.
Consider a battery tender
Another option for keeping your battery charged when your car is not being used for an extended period is to purchase a trickle charger, or Battery Tender. This device has two clamps that attach to a battery’s terminals like jumper cables. It then plugs into a standard 120- volt outlet and delivers small amounts of electricity to keep the battery charged during long periods of inactivity.
Investing in a battery tender will help keep your battery charged and is especially necessary for anyone who leaves their vehicle inactive for two weeks (e.g. vacation) or longer (e.g. snowbirds).
Be sure to take steps to ensure your car is in good working condition, and ready when you need it. A CAA Mobile Battery Technician can come to your driveway and give you a free battery inspection. Should you need a new one, we can install it on the spot, while you avoid having to leave the safety of your home. Call 1-800-263-3616 or request service online to schedule a battery test.