How To Keep Car Battery Charged When Not In Use

car battery

With lockdowns happening around the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus, many people’s cars haven’t been driven much, or at all. Your car has probably been standing idly in the driveway. Which might be a cause for concern regarding your car battery. This is why we have made the ultimate guide on how to keep car battery charged when not in use. 

Simply put, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your battery doesn’t die. It is generally suggested to start your engine once a week. Keeping it running for 10-15 minutes to keep the battery charged. 

It’s important to move your car out of the garage and into the open when doing this and to not leave your car unattended while the engine’s running. However, this may not be the best option for your battery in the long run. Alternatively, you can go for drives that are at least 20 minutes to help keep it charged.

To find out more, keep reading for additional tips and tricks to keep your car battery charged when not in use. Let’s get started. 

How Do Car Batteries Work?

car battery

One simple fact of life is that when your car isn’t being used, its battery will go flat. 

Car batteries have a natural self-discharge system in place. Modern cars also use power from the battery to keep the car’s technology going. 

This includes the car’s alarm system, climate control, and radio. As well as any other computer systems your car may have on board. 

As a result, cars with lots of technological features have a higher risk of a drained battery when the car isn’t in use. 

But why do car batteries die when not in use for a while?

This is because the alternator, the car’s internal generator, can’t do its job properly. 

When your car is off, the alternator can’t recharge the battery. This causes the technological systems in your car to drain your battery. It’s known as a parasitic drain. 

Signs That Your Battery Is Failing

car battery

Car batteries generally last between 3-5 years. So be certain to inspect and watch out for warning signs of your car battery failing once it gets to the 3-year mark. 

If your car is slow to start, get your battery tested as soon as possible. Your car lights may also become dim as the battery weakens. 

Other electronics such as the radio and cell phone charger may also stop working. This is a sure sign that the car battery is failing. 

Additionally, a clicking sound when you turn the key indicates that your battery is either almost or completely dead. 

Corrosion of the battery terminals also leads to voltage problems and trouble starting your car.

Take a look at your car battery. If you see a white, ashy substance on the metals of the battery it may be corrosion. 

Ultimately, your battery may just be old, and through wear and tear, begin to give up. 

Why Is It Important To Keep Your Battery Charged?

car battery

Is it all that important to keep your car battery charged? The answer is yes. 

Firstly, the battery is what keeps your car running. Without it, your car won’t function.

Further, it stores a lot of electricity and if it’s unable to contain all that power it can cause serious damage to the charging system or starter of your car. Not forgetting the costs it would take to get your car fixed up again. 

When your car battery is weak, it puts added pressure on the alternator and starter of your car. These parts will soon begin to crack under the extra pressure and malfunction.

As a result, your car will be less efficient and need pricey repairs.  

Avoiding a weakened and drained battery is the key to your car’s efficiency. 

Tips For Charging Your Car Battery When Not In Use

car battery

As stated earlier, keeping the car running in an open space for 10-15 minutes is one way of keeping the battery charged. Another is to take 20-minute drives. 

However, driving small distances can drain the battery quicker because the alternator needs time to recharge the battery to full capacity. So if possible, taking long drives is good for your car battery in the long run.

A simple step is to turn off some extra car features like the radio and navigation systems as they tend to drain power from the battery. 

A battery tender is another option. A battery tender puts out small amounts of power to repower a low battery or one that has drained recently. Once the battery is full, it stops sending electricity to the car battery. So there’s no worry about overcharging your battery with this tool.

Another tip is to disconnect your battery from your car. This will prevent parasitic drain. However, this isn’t always recommended unless you know what you’re doing. It will also cut the power to your central locking and car alarm. 

Lastly, keep the battery clean. Remove dirt and grease on your car battery with a dry rag or towel. The dirt and grease will trap heat around the battery. Any corrosion on the battery will also affect its functioning. 

What Should I Do When My Car Battery Goes Flat?

men starting battery

If your car battery ends up draining completely for whatever reason, there are a few things that can help. 

The first option is to charge the battery with a car battery charger. You want to research which battery is suitable for your car. Once you find the right one, you can connect it. 

You can read all about this in our article How To Use A Car Battery Charger: Everything You Need To Know

The second step you can take if you don’t have a car charger on hand is to jump-start your car. However, you’ll need another car for this one! 

For further information on jump-starting your car, check out our article on How To Use Jump Leads On A Car The Right Way

If these two methods don’t work, there is likely another problem. Have your car checked out to determine the problem. 

How FairSquare Can Help You

FairSquare provides the most competitive deals on car financing. We are completely transparent and independent, which means trustworthy car finance deals for you. 

Also, FairSquare offers a soft search, zero-impact credit check that does not affect your credit score. 

By using FairSquare, you can be sure that your vehicle has been comprehensively quality checked before making your purchase. So you won’t have to worry about buying a car with a damaged or weakened battery.

The Verdict

car engine

To summarise, here are the main things you need to consider when keeping your car battery charged when not in use:

  • If you’re nearing your third year, keep an eye on your car battery 
  • To keep your battery in the best shape, try to take longer trips to keep it charged
  • If your car is not in use, disconnect your battery
  • Purchase a car battery or battery tender

FairSquare offers the best car finance deals for you, so you can splurge on a car battery or a battery tender in case you’ll need it. 

Furthermore, we quality check all cars before delivery so you can rest assured that your car battery is in good shape.

For further advice on car maintenance, check out our blog! We have articles such as How To Use A Multimeter On A Car: The Complete Guide and What To Use To Wash A Car: Everything You Need To Know to help keep your car spick and span!

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