With the weather in North America turning colder and the onset of fall temperatures, it is a great time to talk about off-season vehicle storage and battery maintenance. This is an area that creates many difficulties for vehicle owners, but these difficulties are easily addressed.
There are many products available that are designed to enable easy, effective maintenance of the batteries found in seasonal use vehicles and vehicles placed in medium and long term storage. The marketplace is filled with small, handheld and relatively inexpensive ($25-$125) battery maintainers that can be used to keep off-season vehicles charged and ready for service.
So, what’s the right option for you? Ultimately, it comes down to assessing the array of vehicles you plan to maintain, determining how many vehicles you need to maintain simultaneously and deciding whether you plan to remove the batteries from each of the vehicles in storage or maintain those batteries while installed in the vehicles.
How many vehicles to maintain?
First, determine the number and types of vehicles you will need to maintain. This is important on several levels. Are the batteries in the different vehicles of a different construction or all of similar construction? For instance, if you plan to maintain a vintage car, a motorcycle, a jet ski and a boat* (in dry storage), it is very likely you are dealing with multiple battery types.
It is important to note that if you ever plan to charge or maintain your boat batteries while the boat is in the water, you must use a marine-approved battery charger/maintainer. Such chargers are specifically marked and rated as marine-approved products. For the purpose of this discussion, we are referring only to charging/ maintaining batteries in a boat that is in dry storage.
As such, it is important to choose a maintainer that can properly manage those different battery types. AGM and Gel Cell batteries, in particular, require a battery charger that is compatible with their specific charging needs. Generally, this means that the charger will charge the battery using a “smart” charging routine that incorporates a constant amperage rate for the majority of the charging process and will precisely control battery voltage throughout the charging process.
In addition, maintaining multiple vehicles often means more than one optimal connection style. For a passenger vehicle, it is often easiest to make the charging connection using clamps. But, other vehicles, such as a jet skis, have access issues that render clamp connections difficult. In these situations, it is much better to use an alternative output option, such as ring terminals that mount to the battery itself. If you are planning to maintain multiple vehicle types with a mixture of optimal connection styles, it is important to choose a battery maintainer that can handle all of your needed connection types.
Next, consider the number of batteries/vehicles you would like to maintain simultaneously. Tied with this consideration is whether you plan to charge maintain on vehicle or off vehicle? If you plan on maintaining several batteries, your most optimal solution is likely a multi-bank battery charger, with several independent outputs. But, most chargers of this type are designed to charge batteries in close proximity to each other, necessitating removal of the battery from the vehicle in which they are installed. Despite that inconvenience, multi-bank chargers can be the perfect option when several batteries require simultaneous charging/maintenance.
SOLAR Pro-Logix Maintainers
A great example of a battery maintainer that meets the needs of a wide variety of seasonal storage and occasional use vehicle maintenance applications is our SOLAR PL2135 Pro-Logix 6/12V 3.5A Battery Maintainer. SOLAR Pro-Logix battery maintainers are advanced, fully automatic battery maintainers designed to make battery maintenance easy, safe and effective.
SOLAR Pro-Logix battery maintainers provide amazing versatility, thanks to the ability to properly maintain virtually any vehicle in a garage, from cars and trucks to lawn tractors and jet skis. In addition, Pro-Logix battery chargers incorporate a variety of features that make charging easier and safer. These include fully automatic operation, Smart Clamp Technology, reverse polarity protection and the availability of several output options, from clamps, to ring terminal adapters to a 12V adapter.
Charge Smart, Charge Safe with SOLAR