It’s almost November and our friends and neighbors are slowly coming back home in drips and drabs. The big thing is that, as they come home, they are finding hurricane damage, new stop lights, and round abouts.
As far our friends that are coming home many are finding flats, dead batteries, or no start conditions. Sometimes this is because the vehicle had not been “put to bed” properly, and sometimes it’s just bad luck.
This is a routine that should be used when coming home to a vehicle that has been in storage. Hopefully you filled the tank with quality fuel before you left and over filled the tire pressures by at least five pounds so that they don’t develop flat spots. The smart money rests on installing a good quality “Battery Buddy” to keep the battery fully charged and not over charged which is crucial in battery longevity. By saying a “good quality” battery buddy, I mean a device that will actually monitor the state of health and state of charge of your battery. As it monitors these numbers it will either turn on and charge the battery at a very small and controlled rate to bring the battery back to its optimal charge and then turn off. Today’s cars have all the bells and whistles, and multiple control modules that are a considerable parasitic drain on the battery. These modules are designed to go to sleep after a period of inactivity but sometimes outside conditions can wake them up.
If you do not prep your vehicles before you leave it will almost always cost you money when you return.
When you first come home eyeball your tires to make sure that they are not low before you start. There is no quicker way to destroy a decent tire than by driving it low. A small 12 volt compressor is usually in the neighborhood or invest in one as they are not very expensive and great to keep around for all of your inflatable needs. Once you have checked your tires, turn on the ignition switch or just push the button once if you have a push button start vehicle. If you are fortunate enough to have some kind of gauge system in you dash make sure that you have at least 12.6 volts in the battery before starting the car. If you don’t, or the vehicle cranks slowly, it’s time to turn it off and have the battery checked and or charged. DO NOT start it and let it run! They call it an alternator and not a battery charger. It is not made to charge a low or dead battery and all you are doing is wasting fuel and putting extra pressure on the alternator shortening its life. Alternators are not cheap anymore and neither is the labor involved in changing them. If the battery is low, beg, borrow, or steal a charger and charge it slowly on the lowest amp rating on the charger otherwise have someone who is knowledgeable help you remove it, and have it charged and then reinstall it. Remember the negative cable must always be removed first and installed last.
Finally, for all of you die hards out there, if you must jump it, use a jump box or if you use a neighbors car make sure that his is off when you put on the cables again the negative side last or you might find yourself doing harm to their vehicle.
REMEMBER PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 000001