Lock Down Car Battery Tips

Author: Mr Positive  

As we are all locked down and have had a drastic change in our daily routines, it stands to reason that one of the household vehicles, or maybe all of them won't get any use during this lock down. Although this is good for the petrol bill, it may not be so good for the car battery.

It may surprise you to hear that your battery performs best (or lives longer) when it is used. Traditional lead acid batteries that are found in all passenger vehicles, if left idle, will slowly drain. If the battery is old and has already had a good life, this process can be the last nail in the coffin. This is less of an issue with newer batteries.

There are a couple of quick things you can do so that when it is time to use your car again, you don't find a flat battery and a car that won't run. Just when its finally time to get back to normal day to day!

As side note, there are other manufacturer recommended general battery maintenance tips like cleaning terminal corrosion and checking batter fluids. However, these fall outside of the scope of this article. In this article we have focused around issues with change of day to day routines of your vehicle during NZ level 4/3 lockdowns. The quick-fire tips we have listed here are based on suddenly stagnant vehicles and this is a one-off unique issue. The aim of this article is not to provide an overall comprehensive battery maintenance breakdown.

Quick and Easy No Tool Tip

Start the car and leave it running for a few minutes. Turn the engine over and let it run for 15 minutes every week. Or maybe move it to a new parking location in the drive or street. This is arguably not such a bad choice for the vehicles overall mechanical wellbeing.

Keep the Battery Charged

Keeping your car battery on charge is the best way to maintain the battery at optimum state. This process is already common practice for infrequently used vehicles, such as classic cars. Naturally we would always recommend a quality and reliable battery charger. However, maintaining a vehicle's battery during level 4 lock down can be done with a basic trickle charger or any other multi-stage lead acid charger. As this is just aimed at maintaining or keeping the battery "topped up". In principle, this requires very little power and just a constant voltage. Although a cheap trickle charger can do this one job, a quality battery charger is a much better long-term investment and has many more uses. Including charging larger batteries from flat or using the charger with a variety of vehicles, bikes, power sports etc.

As such, we would always recommend adding a reliable car battery charger to the household useful tool cupboard if possible. Mr Positive carries a wide range of Car Battery Chargers. Including very basic economical plug and play models, units with every bell and whistle imaginable and everything in between. View Our Most Popular Car Chargers Here.

Check Battery Voltage

Some batteries will have a state of charge battery indicator on top of the battery and a key to tell you how to read it. This will give you an overall state of charge of the battery. However, checking the voltage periodically is a solid no nonsense indication of the state of the battery. Here is the general breakdown of what battery voltage will mean:

12.70+ 100%
12.40 75%
12.20 50%
12.00 25%
11.80 0%

We recommend using a reliable Multimeter for this job. Cheap meters could produce a figure with a sweeping variance of 20-25% each time.

Needless to say. Take extreme care not to arc (join) the red positive battery terminal and any part of the vehicle's chassis. The vehicle chassis is grounded and connected to the battery negative. Short circuiting the positive and negative (including any part of the vehicles chassis) will cause a major spark and or burns. Use proper tools for the job with adequate insulation.

Mr Positive also carry a range of Lead Acid Battery Testers. These are available for either home handyman or sophisticated models for fleet management.

If the Battery has Already Failed…

Sometimes no matter how much care is taken, the battery simply needs to be replaced. It won't hold a charge or turn the engine over. All it could take is one last time leaving the lights on or a battery that is in a vehicle that doesn't get use for a few weeks.

Mr Positive carries a very wide range of Automotive Batteries to suit almost any vehicle. All these batteries are still being shipped during lockdown. Directly from our Essential Suppliers Auckland warehouse to your door.

Get in touch with us via the contact page email submission form if you have any questions regarding battery replacement for your vehicle.

Safety Warning

Lead acid batteries contain corrosive liquid and can burn skin if leaked and touched. Always use adequate safety equipment and take extra care when working with, removing or testing lead acid batteries.

Lead acid batteries contain a very high amount of residual energy. Short circuits (joining positive and negative terminal) can cause major sparks and or burns. Under no circumstance, arc (join) the batteries positive terminal with any part of the vehicle chassis. This will short circuit the battery and cause major sparks and or burns.