Battery care when not using car as self isolated?

Discussion in 'Car and Van Talk' started by MGW, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Two cars and spare batteries I am alternating which is charged using a smart charger, but the question is what about the Jaguar XE, this has stop start and engine management, will it mess it up if I use a charger? Is it better to simply run the engine from time to time, and if so for how long and how often?
  2. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    You can still go out for a drive even if you're self isolating. The only risk you'll encounter is if you need to fill up and you'll still need to do that if you run the car on the drive. You'll also keep all the moving parts working, saving brakes sticking on, discs corroding and so on. Just go for a short spin.
  3. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Go for drive for 15mins every 2 weeks. Or run engine for 15mins. I'd go late evening when it's quiet on roads if you want. Save going stir crazy. Not seen anything saying you can't however, if your ill stuff the car. Stay in until your felling better before going out as 7-10 days parked up won't effect battery much. Problem is you need to stay in if others in house go ill even if your ok and over it, as could be on your hands or body but can't see any reason a spin around block will hurt. Stay away from from people though. Jmo. Not official
    kitfit1 and masterdiy like this.
  4. masterdiy

    masterdiy Screwfix Select

    When doing this, just make sure you get up to normal engine temp.
    This will stop the oil creaming up & drawing in the damp air.
    kitfit1 and WillyEckerslike like this.
  5. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    At the moment i've still got work until the end of May (or a full lockdown), so have no problem with a stop start Vivaro battery.
    What i do have lots of experience with is motorbikes though and the same good practice with motorbikes will apply with cars as well when they are laid for a period of time.
    My bike gets connected to an Optimate battery conditioner every 2 weeks for a day during the winter lay up. But the best way to deal with it is to actually ride/drive, as has been mentioned. Just leaving the engine running for 15mins actually can do more harm than good. The engine oil will never get up to full running temp, which in turn promotes unwanted extended wear on all the moving engine parts. A long lay up can also promote condensation in the fuel tank, if you are going to lay it up make shure the fuel tank is full. You don't want mould growing in the cooling system either, so always make shure it has plenty of antifreeze in it.
    WillyEckerslike and masterdiy like this.
  6. masterdiy

    masterdiy Screwfix Select

    So, what Bikes do you have?
    As I have left it to late to tax this month, (been to busy) I'll be out on it in April.
    Triumph Tiger Sport.
    Suzuki VStrom.
  7. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    Only one at the moment, a Ducati 1098s. Mine is SORN as well and to be honest it will be staying SORN until this crisis is over the peak.
  8. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Not a chance, I live in mid Wales, more traffic around Snowdon than ever seen before, Gladstone rock snowdonia has again seen the multitude, thought it was crazy to follow Gladstone all that way, it is at least 5 miles from a road for cars, but whole area is heaving with visitors, and nothing is open so all on walks.

    Signs don't help [​IMG] seems all the caravan sites are full.
  9. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I have given up with Jaguar XE my wife is using that car for shopping trips and we hope that is enough, as to other cars it is the smart battery doing the rounds car to car, battery to battery, what has been a surprise is how the batteries behave.

    Two batteries both old one no on any car, it was on the Jaguar but replaced as being faulty, however kept for use on the caravan, the other seems A1 never had a problem starting car, both around same size, 95 Ah the old Jaguar one is AGM (VRLA) the other one is flooded. So the AGM one was charged first, voltage rises to 13.5 volt and stays there, the charger has 5 stages, 3.8A to 12.8 volt, 3A to 14.1 volt, 0.8 amp to 14.4 volt, 0.1 amp to 14.4 volt, zero, at 12.8 volt it will return to 0.8 amp charge rate. So the 0.1 amp will hold the AGM battery at 13.5 volt completely steady.

    So the flooded battery as one would expect went through 4 stages until at 0.1 amp, and then the voltage decayed until it returned to 0.8 amp charge, it started off with around 1.5 hours at 0.8 amp and 2 hours at 0.1 amp, which again is what I expected, however over time the 0.8 amp charge time has reduced, again expected, but also the time before it drops to 12.8 volt has also reduced, yesterday I was seeing 7 spikes and hour as the battery returned to 0.8 amp charge rate, today seeing 9 spikes per hour.

    So this charge26-4-20_5.jpg to this charge24-4-20_3.jpg to this charge27-4-20_1.jpg as time has gone on, I will guess there was some slight sulphating of the plates, which is slowly reducing, as to if it will ever go to staying at 0.1 amp charge rate I don't know, but it does seem when I thought the battery was fully charged it was not. I have seen this before with a battery known to have been left standing for an extended time, I have seen what seems to be a dead battery sit for 10 days taking no charge, then as if a switch was flicked start taking charge and seem to fully recover. But under normal circumstances I would have no reason to put this battery on charge, my brother-in-law lives up a farm track and we would not dream of taking the Jag up it, and we use a caravan and the Kia Sorento is our tow car, and for last year has had regular tips of 106 mile there and back as we have been moving house, so this battery is on the Kia and has never failed to start car, so simply not looked at.

    Going back to the 1970's pre the alternator it was common practice to put the car battery on an equalising charge once every two months, over time some cells would charge more than others, and this would bring them all back into line, when the sealed for life battery came out, this practice stopped, at that time a trickle charger was typically around 4 amp, the transformer was poor quality, and at 11 volt you would get 4 amp, but as the volts rose, so the amps rapidly dropped, so at 14 volt around 1 amp, however far higher than the modern smart charger, and leaving the battery on charge for over 48 hours was not good for the battery and could cause it to dry out. Today the smart charger will actually switch off with a new battery, and they are designed to be left connected 24/7 for months on end to keep batteries in tip top condition.

    And of course in the 70's I could not sit at my laptop and look at the energy meter showing me what the charger had done in the last hour/day/month at a glance, without the energy meter I would not know how the charge pattern had changed over the last week, and I found getting information about lead acid batteries even in the collage library was hard.

    I remember being given a home work, "Explain why the battery voltage drops" seemed easy, as a motor mechanic the answer would simply be "because it is discharging" but I was an auto electrician so the answer needed a little more than that, so with the leclanche cell was well documented explaining how the internal resistance and other factors affected the under load and open circuit voltage, but for the lead acid cell there was very little. So I surmised that what happened to the leclanche cell also happened to the lead acid, and that is what I wrote in my home work answer. I got 9 out of 10, rest of class simple answered because it is discharged and got 0.5 marks each, end of year I got a distinction and lecturer said had it not been for me he would have got the sack, and only one other guy passed.

    Although I stopped being an auto electrician 30 years ago and have been an industrial electrician so not really involved with lead acid batteries, I have still taken an interest in them. So I will continue to monitor the Kia battery, and see what it does.
  10. bazfez

    bazfez New Member

    Take the car for a quick drive every second day or so to keep it alive and well.
  11. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Wales is open again, so the problem no longer exits, once the restrictions were dropped I collected the second battery charger and battery from caravan and recharged all batteries.

    METRO MARK Active Member

  13. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    It is nonsense to say that a car has to be driven, or the engine run, periodically in order to keep it healthy. It's a machine ... not an animal ... so doesn't suffer from muscle atrophy when not used.
    The only component that needs a bit of attention is the battery, and that's only required when the temperatures fall below zero for more than a few days.
    For the last 25 years I have had cars that I leave at my second home in the French Alps, where it can get extremely cold in the winter.
    I leave the battery on a winter trickle charge with a CTEK smart charger, and have never had a problem.
    Because of lockdown in France and then here in the UK, my current car (a diesel Toyota Yaris) was not used at all from Aug 2019 until 3 weeks ago when my son went there. He turned the key and it started immediately. No seized brakes, no difficulties starting, nothing broken or different in any way out of the normal.
  14. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I was worried about the charger affecting the cars computerised charging system, it seems I had nothing to worry about, I was forced to use a small smart charger but it caused no problems. The Sorento and Jazz are never used much, and both I have no problems in using a small battery charger to top up battery, the only one I was worried about was the Jaguar XE however seems worries were unfounded.

    As to addblu going out of date and degrading still not topped up, and since most garages seem to put it outside in sun light not keen on buying any degraded by sun light, so waiting for next service.

    Old cars yes had problems with brakes when left unused for long time, always best if brakes not applied when stored, however really no option, when you switch off, automatic the gear selector goes into park and retracts and the electric hand brake is applied.
  15. clark99

    clark99 New Member

    I was struggling with this over lockdown as well. Restrictions are seeming to toughen again, so thanks for the useful advice everyone, might come in handy again in some weeks or months
  16. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I was trained as an auto electrician in the 70's and we still use lead acid batteries today, but in the 70's I could not have used a smart charger as there simply weren't any, and we were only just starting to use sealed for life batteries, we did have jell and other small batteries but not sure they were absorbed glass mat or valve regulated lead acid.

    Today we don't really know what is written into the cars software, I know my wife's Jaguar XE when battery was faulty did not slow down on cranking speed, it stopped, some thing in software told car the battery voltage is low, don't try cranking, which does seem a bit crazy. Even the old Honda Jazz battery failed on me on Thursday, but it did give me a few months warning.

    So it seems the big change is you can't top up battery so the charger has to ensure it does not over charge so we have 3.8 amp battery charger which takes 2 days to charge battery instead of a 12 amp battery charger that needed to be removed after 2 hours to stop over charging. This is the result when the charger is too big, DSC_3937.jpg this one is out of a mobility scooter left on charge in the garage when the other battery of the pair had a short circuited cell, the charger was not that big for a 35 Ah VRLA battery around 5 amp, but that is far too much for a fully charged battery over an extended time. So chargers like the Lidi 3.8 amp will charge at 3.8 amp, but once the charge rate has dropped it will not return to charge any more then 0.8 amp which will not cause that sort of damage, and the built in volt meter shows when some thing odd is happening.

    Many a caravan user will tell you the Lidi charger is useless as it will not keep the battery topped up as you start to use more power, where the Ctek will, but can't really walk away from the Ctek for weeks on end, to be fair there is a whole range of Ctek chargers including a 25 amp one designed specially for caravans.

    My old Renault Kango when battery failed so did radio you needs a code for radio, the Honda Jazz simply worked, there is hardly a need for radio codes when it is integral to car, the Jaguar XE needs to be put on a computer to tell the cars computer new battery fitted, the old Honda Jazz simply swapped battery and drove off. I note some places will put a small battery across battery terminals so as not to lose codes, but that does not help with engine management system.

    It may be still a lead acid battery, but the care of the battery has completely changed. In the old days of dynamos we use to do an equalising charge once every couple of months and then top up battery, around a 2 amp charge over night, today we still need the same, but at 0.8 amp for a week and only once every 6 month.

    And that new battery, after 50 mile run over 2 hours, when put on charge back home still absorbed around 8 Ah of charge, it clearly had been in stock for some time.
  17. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    Well it seems the problems with battery charging continue, now allowed over 5 miles, actually took the car to Welshpool a whole 8 miles to use a supermarket, car came up with warning low battery, clearly 16 miles not enough, so put battery on charge. 28-3-21_Jag-All.jpg
    Once down to 0.8 amp it takes ages before it drops to 0.1 amp so stopped recording after it dropped to 0.8 amp, but two hours at in the main 3 amp is only 6 Ah, the battery rated at around 90 Ah, clearly not a flat battery it started the car OK but warning did come up on the display, never had that before, it does however mean other cars also need charging. But seems odd for it to warn if only 6 Ah needed to top it up?

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