Posted: Mar 14, 2020
Which Battery Cable Do You Disconnect For Storage?
Normally when we write blogs in the Springtime, the subject is how to properly bring a battery back into use after storage during the winter. However, this year is different and the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is forcing a dramatic shift in the every days lives of many Americans. Instead of getting out of the house after a cold winter, many folks are trying to limit their movement, some even mandated to do so by self-quarantine.
Even if someone is only planning on staying put for two weeks or maybe only going out once a week for essentials, it's important to keep their car battery properly-maintained. Most car batteries are not fully-charged unless they measure at least 12.6 volts (our YELLOWTOP batteries are fully-charged at about 13.0 volts). How does one measure battery voltage? With a voltmeter, which can be found at just about any auto parts store, as well as online retailers, like Jeg's & Summit. They can often be had for less than $10 and are very easy to use- the red lead goes on the positive (red or a + sign) terminal and the black lead goes on the negative (black or - sign) terminal and the display will indicate voltage. There are also many YouTube videos that explain how to do measure voltage.
If that sounds too complicated for your level of mechanical ability, it's safe and conservative to assume your car battery is not fully-charged, because the fact of the matter is, most car batteries are not fully-charged. We make a practice of topping off the charge on our car batteries once a month, even if we use them every day, because the electrical demands of modern vehicles and/or the driving habits of their owners may make it very difficult or impossible for the vehicle's charging system to keep the battery fully-charged. OPTIMA battery chargers and maintainers were specifically designed to be very user-friendly and are some of the easiest to use in the entire industry.
If you can just connect the positive (red) alligator clamp to the positive terminal and the negative (black) alligator clamp from the charger to a metal ground on the car or the negative battery post and plug the OPTIMA charger in to an outlet, it will eventually turn on automatically and do the rest. Even if you get that wrong, OPTIMA chargers will make a sound indicating the charger is not connected properly and the digital screen will indicate the same. OPTIMA Charger clamps also feature no-spark technology, so even if you accidentally touch the alligator clamps together when the charger is plugged in, they won't spark like they do with many standard battery chargers.
You don't need to buy our more expensive ($199.99) Digital 1200 Charger & Maintainer, if you are storing your car battery and have plenty of time to charge it. The Digital 1200 can charge batteries faster and offers more features, like a lighted positive clamp and a USB charger, but if you have plenty of time to charge a battery, the less expensive Digital 400 will work just fine. As much as we'd like to sell you a charger or maintainer, if you simply cannot afford to buy one or don't have access to electricity where your car is parked, but really need to make sure your car battery doesn't die while it sits, the next best option is to completely disconnect your negative battery cable from the battery. However, when you do reconnect your battery, it would be a good idea to drive your car somewhere, where you can fully-charge the battery, so you don't put unnecessary stress on your vehicle's charging system.
If you have any questions about your battery or charging it, you can always reach us on our 800 number during normal business hours- 1-888-8-OPTIMA. We also keep an eye on our Twitter account on the weekends.