CTEK recommendations for preparing batteries for winter storage

For those who live in areas where winter prevents year-round enjoyment of a classic car or boat, all good things must come to an end. As the time comes to put their toys away for the winter, owners need to start thinking of the steps necessary to prepare for storage.

CTEK, the Sweden-based manufacturer of high-tech battery chargers/maintainers, reminds owners that taking a little extra time now to properly prepare your battery for storage can eliminate many hours of frustration in the spring.

CTEK suggests three easy steps to avoid problems in the spring:

1) Clean the battery, cable clamps and tray

Remove the battery from the battery compartment and use a paste of baking soda and water to clean and neutralize any acid. Accumulations of acid or dirt can enable small amounts of current to flow between the terminals. Use clean water to rinse off the cleaning solution.

Use a wire brush on the terminals and cable clamps until all corrosion, grease and other contaminating material is gone, and the metal is shiny. Apply dielectric grease to the terminals as a means of preventing corrosion in the future.

2) Inspect the battery exterior and check the electrolyte level

Inspect the battery tray and the exterior of the battery case thoroughly. Look for leaks, cracks and corrosion, all of which can compromise performance and even safety. A leaking or corroded battery should be replaced.

If it is a conventional (vented) battery, check that the level of electrolyte is above the minimum and at or below the maximum level line on the side of the battery. If it is an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery, also referred to as Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VLRA) or Maintenance Free, these batteries are sealed and do not need to be checked.

Either return the battery to the battery compartment or find a clean, dry location to store it over the winter where it won’t have a chance of being damaged or knocked over.

3) Attach a smart battery charger/maintainer

To avoid overcharging and possible battery damage, it is important to use a smart battery charger/maintainer, like the CTEK MXS 5.0. This charger actually “talks” to the battery while it is attached, sensing the charge level and adjusting the rate accordingly.

The MXS 5.0 will turn itself off when the battery is at 100 percent charge; avoiding overcharging and gassing that can damage the battery. When the charge falls below 95 percent, the MXS 5.0 automatically resumes charging.

The MXS 5.0 also has a temperature monitor that adjusts the charge rate depending on the ambient temperature – very important to maintain the optimum charge rate, especially important in cold weather.

Taking a few minutes to follow these steps to properly store a classic car or marine battery for the winter will potentially avoid a lot of problems — and expense — when the owner gets ready for next season’s fun and sun.

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