The driving season is coming to an end and you’re getting ready to put your classic vehicle to bed for the winter season. However, storing a car battery for an extended time isn’t the same as putting your cordless drill back in the toolbox, expecting it to perform without any problems the next time you need it.
Most car collectors find themselves with either a conventional lead acid battery or an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery. Conventional lead acid batteries have been powering vehicles for decades, but tend to provide low starting power after remaining idle for several weeks. Newer AGM batteries provide a more powerful solution with a longer State of Charge (SOC) over conventional lead acid batteries.
Before you say goodnight to your classic for the winter months, make sure you have the proper battery and battery maintenance procedures in place to help get you rolling in the spring.
The charging game
When you’re trying to maintain a classic vehicle – let alone a collection of them –the last thing you want to be doing is purchasing a new battery unnecessarily. There’s already enough money being spent to keep the engine purring and your pride at a high level.
Conventional lead acid batteries are commonly used in vehicles, offering acceptable power and good performance at a reasonable cost. Typically, a conventional lead acid battery would need to be charged after sitting idle for an extended period of time. One way to provide immediate starting power with a conventional lead acid battery would be to constantly leave a charger connected to the battery while it sits idle. This is a less than ideal scenario.
AGM batteries, such as the ODYSSEY® battery, offer a more powerful solution, providing a longer SOC than conventional lead acid batteries when idle. AGM batteries perform well over time in both hot and cold temperatures and have a lower self-discharge rate when compared to lead acid batteries. Ultimately, this leads to less time connected to a charger and more time starting with no issues.
It’s what’s inside that matters
Conventional lead acid batteries are composed of individual cells. For example, 12-volt batteries are made of six two-volt cells connected together. Each cell has positive and negative plates divided by “separators,” and is submerged in a solution of sulfuric acid and water called electrolyte. Over time, lead acid batteries can self-discharge if they are not used. The rate of discharge is dependent on the electronics incorporated in the vehicle as well as the environment/temperature.
AGM batteries are similar to conventional lead acid batteries, except the electrolyte is absorbed into fiberglass mats between the battery plates. This means AGM batteries are sealed and spill-proof, and can be mounted in any position, except upside down. Additionally, the sealed, AGM design never requires watering, making it virtually maintenance-free.
ODYSSEY® batteries are a more advanced version of AGM technology. ODYSSEY® batteries consist of Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, creating a battery construction that has more plates, leading to more power and longer life. Additionally, ODYSSEY® batteries can be stored for 24 months at room temperature without charging and won’t result in any damage to the plates. If not connected to a charger/maintainer, an ODYSSEY® battery only loses about two percent SOC per month; in seven months of storage, an ODYSSEY® battery will only be down 14 percent SOC. It is always a good idea to connect a battery maintainer over the winter, in any case, to keep your ODYSSEY® battery in top condition for the spring!
Choosing a worry-free winter
If you want to give yourself a worry-free winter when it comes to your classic, choose an AGM battery like the ODYSSEY® battery. Simply by disconnecting the battery terminals or connecting your battery to a maintainer during storage, you can avoid the need for any charging at the start of the season, and you’ll be able to wake it right up and be ready to roll. You can go into spring enjoying your ride, not scrambling to get your battery up to full charge.