Car battery shelf life?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mike_and_Tina, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Mike_and_Tina

    Mike_and_Tina Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Southern Louisiana
    I bought a new car battery a few weeks back and now I won't be using it
    for some time. I had heard not to let them sit on the ground or on concrete
    because it will slowly drain the charge. So it is sitting on my wooden work
    bench. My question is : How long will the battery remain good in this
    condition? Will it slowly die if not used?

  2. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    I found the following information by typing "Car battery storage" into Yahoo:

    Tip: If you are going to have a battery in storage for months at a time in a car, disconnect it from the car, it will reduce the discharge. Or, periodically charge the battery, maybe once every 2 to 4 weeks. If you have it in storage disconnected from the car, a charge every month or two will help keep the self discharge from draining the battery. You may also look for regulated trickle chargers that are designed for this type of application. Thanks to a former auto company engineer for this tip

  3. The marina I worked at would store batteries from boats both deep cycle and cranking over winter with no trickle charge in an unheated room. Come spring we would charge and reinstall. If you let it sit several months the charge will "drain" but if it is a new or good battery and full of electrolyte it will recharge no problem. You can leave a battery on trickle charge (2 amps) this way it will remain ready to go but otherwise just let it sit.
  5. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Carthage, Texas
    You are correct about the battery slowly discharging if you set it on concrete or on the ground. It will also slowly discharge if you place it on glass, wood, steel, plastic or suspend it in space with some sort of gravity field.

    Fact is, it will slowly discharge, no matter what you do, if you don't keep some sort of charging apparatus connected.

    I lived off grid in my house for 12 years, and my battery bank was precious to me. Take care of them, and they'd take care of you. Abuse them, and they will die a little, never regaining that amount of capacity. I travelled to AK for 5 or 6 months most of those years, and for safety, would disconnect the battery bank via a master manual disconnect breaker. I'd overcharge them for several days before hightailing it to AK, and when I returned the voltage would be in the low 12's. Fully charged is 12.7vdc.

    Now they will discharge "faster" if they're in contact with the ground and have continuous moisture, but still should last quite a while.
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    Whatever you do, the battery will slowly discharge. Every month or 2, you should slowly recharge it back to a full charge. You can find a simple trickle charger for not many dollars, or a good 2/10/30 amp charger for a few bucks more.

    Do not let it freeze while it is low on charge - it will wreck itself.

    Batteries last 2-7 years on average, depending how much deep cycling and vibration it gets. The clock is ticking now that you own it. :)

  7. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 30, 2002
    North Alabama
    I stored batteries two ways. Charged batteries were stored on rubber in a ventilated area with a $12 J.C. Whitney solar trickle charger on them. Un charged batteries were flushed and dried then dry stored with a container of eltrolyte to be added prior to charging and use.