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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-06-08, 08:58 AM   #1
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Car lite and dead batteries

Anyone else have this problem? Twice I've gone to use my car and the battery was totally dead, not because I left the lights on but because I guess I don't drive enough to recharge it fully. The mechanic said I could get some battery kill switch that would totally cut the power to the battery when I know I won't use it for a while. Ah well, I was just wondering if anyone had some other advice.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:09 AM   #2
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There are some solar battery chargers that plug into your obd2 plug, some also plug into you 12v receiver.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:14 AM   #3
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I think the kill switch is a good idea - hide it out of sight and it's a security measure, too. A friend of mine had that on his soft-top Jeep, a kill switch in the locking glove box.

I used to have this problem with an old car I owned, something was draining the battery slowly so if I didn't drive for ten days it would be dead. But now I own a new car, and drive it about once a week, so the battery is always good.

How often do you use the car? You might solve your problem by just starting the engine a couple times a week. Or, if you can jump-start it, park on top of a big hill.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:14 AM   #4
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Get the solar charging kit. I've seen them at harborfreight for $ 20.

As long as your car is not parked in a garage, you should be ok !!
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Old 03-06-08, 09:44 AM   #5
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I was just wondering if anyone had some other advice.
Sell the car!
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Old 03-06-08, 10:25 AM   #6
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Cars (like bikes) need to be used regularly to function. If you're driving less than 100 miles or so a month, you should seriously consider putting the car up on blocks with full on mothball storage... or get rid of it. If you're not doing proper mothballing, the car will end up with a wide range of problems, some of which can be very expensive to repair. Please do not hurt the shiny mechanical objects!
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Old 03-06-08, 11:10 AM   #7
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I had the same problem when we still had two cars. A couple of times the second car sat for over a month without being used and the died. My solution was to sell it, but you could just as easily get a solar powered charger (they also make cigarette lighter versions) or if you park in a garage, just get a $15 trickle charger. That's what I do with my Vespa in the winter. Allowing your battery to drain like that will shorten the life of your battery (causing environmental harm since you'll have to purchase a new one).

The other major consideration is the gasoline. If you aren't using a full tank every 3 months or so, add some gas stabilizer to the tank. I use seafoam, but there should be a variety of products available at your local auto parts store.
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Old 03-06-08, 11:49 AM   #8
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Cars (like bikes) need to be used regularly to function.
huh? Did you mean to say "unlike bikes"?
I broke a spoke last month on my commuter and decided to borrow DW's bike which was unused since '99 or '00.
Just added some air to the tires and I was good to go. I used it for two weeks of commuting without a single problem (apart from wanting my bike back )
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Old 03-06-08, 01:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
Anyone else have this problem? Twice I've gone to use my car and the battery was totally dead, not because I left the lights on but because I guess I don't drive enough to recharge it fully. The mechanic said I could get some battery kill switch that would totally cut the power to the battery when I know I won't use it for a while. Ah well, I was just wondering if anyone had some other advice.
Why do you even bother to keep the damn car? My advice is to ge rid of it and no more worries.
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Old 03-06-08, 01:28 PM   #10
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Easier than a kill switch and less expensive is to just disconnect the negative terminal of the battery when you park your car. Also works well as a theft deterent. Our car only gets used once a month or less it is parked in our garage most times with the battery disconnected.
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Old 03-07-08, 06:14 AM   #11
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So I talked with a car guy friend of mine and he recommended driving at least a half hour a week to recharge the battery, boil off the water from the oil, and keep the cylinders lubed. Leaving the car just running for a half hour in your driveway is not enough, you actually have to drive it and the higher the RPMs the better. Yea I can't wait to get rid of it and had I discovered biking earlier I never would have bought it in the first place.
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Old 03-07-08, 07:34 AM   #12
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You might just need a new battery.
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Old 03-13-08, 11:15 AM   #13
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As noted above, most newer cars continue to slowly draw down the battery even when parked and off, to keep power to various electronic items. Some cars, like the VW Jetta I had, immobilize their radios when the battery is totally disconnected so you have to enter the security code and then reprogram all your station settings back in- a pain. It also power cycled the door locks (and who knows what else) when I reconnected the battery, so the battery cable would spark unpleasantly every time it was reconnected. I didn't like the idea of a sudden voltage spike like that going through everything, so I quit the practice and used a trickle charger instead. The Jetta is gone now (best way of solving the problem).
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Old 03-13-08, 11:28 AM   #14
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You might just need a new battery.
Yes, could be. Like anything else once put into use it needs to be "excercised"
or it will run down (sulfate). Batteries are no different.

Get a new battery and hook a trickle charger to it to keep it full charged
while sitting.
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