There are several steps that, if adhered to, will keep your jump starter in good operating condition and support a long service life. Keeping these steps in mind could extend the life of your jump starter as much as 2-3 times longer than if they are not followed.
- Keep your jump starter charged and avoid letting the unit sit in a highly discharged state for any length of time. Remember, jump starter batteries have no memory issues and cannot be harmed by frequent charges, even when only slightly discharged. The best practice is to charge a jump starter after each use. Even in those cases where this type of charge frequency is unrealistic, nightly charging should be done if the unit is used frequently. In those cases where the jump starter is not regularly used, charge it every 3 months to ensure that the battery is not sitting in a discharge state for extended periods.
- Respect the duty cycle of your jump starter. Every jump starter is subject to a duty cycle in which the vehicle can be cranked only so long before a period of rest (for the jump starter) is needed – see your operator’s manual for the specific details of your jump starter. For almost all Clore Automotive jump starters, the recommended duty cycle is 6 seconds of cranking followed by 3 minutes of rest. This will avoid excessive heat build-up within the jump starter battery, which can damage its internal construction and reduce its useful life.
- Whenever possible, store your jump starter in a moderate temperature environment, between 50˚F and 70˚F (10˚-20˚C). Like vehicle batteries, exposure to extreme temperatures is detrimental to jump starter batteries, both in the short term and long term. For instance, a jump starter stored at 20˚F will have less jump starting power for a needed jump start than one stored at 60˚F. In the long term, extended exposure to high storage temperatures (> 90˚F) will reduce the service life of a jump starter battery.
- When you have completed a successful jump start, it is important to disconnect the jump starter from the now running vehicle as quickly as possible, always remembering to follow all safety procedures and the proper disconnection sequence. Typical vehicle alternator output is much higher than the recommended recharge rate for a jump starter battery. Charging a battery (any battery) at a rate greater than the recommended charge rate is detrimental to its long term health. Many technicians leave the jump starter connected after a successful start, thinking that it is a fast and easy way to get the unit recharged, but this practice should be avoided.
- Until now, our focus has been on the battery, which is the heart of a jump starter and the most critical component impacting its durability and service life. That said, other factors should be kept in mind. Remember that many batteries the jump starter comes into contact with are in poor condition, which can result in battery acid on or around the posts. After jumping a vehicle with a battery in such a condition, wipe down your clamps (particularly the positive, which is the only clamp that should contact the battery) with a clean cloth to remove any residual battery acid. For clamps that have a high level of acid contact, a mixture of baking soda and water can be used with a wire brush.
Following these simple steps can greatly extend the life of your jump starter and also help to ensure that your jump starter is ready for service each time you need it.