Choosing the correct battery maintenance tools, brought to you by Battery Tender

Choosing the correct battery maintenance tools, brought to you by Battery Tender

With the knowledge that battery maintenance is important whenever a car is sitting for any period of time, the next step is to determine exactly which tools you’ll need to make sure the battery is in top condition when you need it to be.

According to Battery Tender® Vice President of Engineering Peter Shread, to select the right Battery Tender battery charger and maintainer, you have to consider several factors. The first is nominal battery voltage; in most all engine-start applications, this is 12 volts. The second factor is battery chemistry. This can be the familiar lead-acid of most consumer automotive batteries, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), lithium-ion, or lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). The final consideration is the battery manufacturer’s maximum recommended charge current. For a lead-acid battery, this is usually 25 percent of the capacity; a 40Ah lead-acid battery should be charged at no more than 10 amps, but it’s smart to check with the manufacturer to determine the maximum charge current.

A more-than-enough solution for the majority of batteries would be the Battery Tender 10 AMP, 5 AMP, and 2 AMP selectable current and selectable chemistry WiFi-connected battery charger. It will not only charge lead-acid, AGM, and LiFePO4 batteries with selectable charging rates, it also allows one to monitor the battery from a smartphone.

While very versatile, the more casual user may look for a cheaper option. For more basic needs, there are other Battery Tender battery chargers to choose from.

“A 12 volt, 1.25 amp Battery Tender battery charger costs less and still delivers a quality charge,” says Shread. “This cost-effective charger can be purchased at Lowe’s. One of our staff is using this charger to maintain a dual battery system in his Suburban with a total of 80Ah capacity.”

While that model will tell you when the battery is charging or fully charged, it won’t give you complete information about the battery’s health. For that, a battery load tester may be in order. Shread says that an ideal load tester should be an analog unit that will apply a known load to the battery and measure the voltage of the battery. It needs a scale from 0 to 16V, markings on the dial that indicate a good, weak, or bad battery as a function of the battery’s cold-cranking amps rating, and markings that indicate a good or bad charging system for when the vehicle is running. Battery Tender naturally has just such a tester. For the most accurate load test, it’s best to disconnect the battery from the vehicle.

Batteries aren’t terribly complicated, and your maintenance process needn’t be either. Charge and maintain your battery when the vehicle is sitting idle for longer than a few days, and your battery will be ready to go into action when you need those amps at the ready.

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