by Pat Goss
Just about everyone has some sort of seasonal vehicle that sits for long periods of time. You know, boats sit all winter, snowmobiles sit all summer. Well anyway, all of these vehicles have batteries in them and before you put them in storage, have the battery tested using a commercial battery tester. ItÕs got to be good before you can do anything to save it. Now, batteries will self-discharge. ThatÕs a normal thing. So you have to prevent as much of that as is possible.
One way to do it is with something like this. This is a battery quick disconnect. This particular one comes from Mid America Corvette Designs, and you turn the knob on it. Turn it counterclockwise, it disconnects the battery from the electrical system. Turn it clockwise, and it reconnects it. If you have a late model automobile, you can get this adaptor that will keep the computerÕs memory alive. It works very well, and theyÕre designed to fit different styles of batteries.
You also have units like this. Turn the knob, and it connects and disconnects the battery, but as you can see, this is a little on the large side, and you have to cut into the battery cables.
Okay, but above and beyond that, you still have to keep the battery fully charged, and hereÕs where people make a huge mistake. They kill their batteries through overcharging by using a battery charger. No matter how small the battery charger, it can destroy the battery through overcharging. So what do you do?
Well, you use a battery maintainer or a battery manager. This unit, this is a big one from GriotÕs Garage [left]. It works very well. I like it a lot, but the one that really is slick is the Battery Manager Junior [right] from GriotÕs. This one plugs into the wall outlet right here. This is not under the hood of the car. Now, you can use regular alligator clips with this because it has a connector on it. But the real slick part of it is this wire harness, which can be permanently attached to the battery under the hood, and you then extend the connector out into a convenient spot, and whenever you need to hook up the Battery Manager, all you do is plug it together. You donÕt even have to open the hood. Really slick.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.